On The Cover

Epiroc expands SB Breaker Tunnel range

The Epiroc Solid Body hydraulic breaker tunnel family has been growing of late, with two new additions having been introduced in 2020 – in the form of the lightweight SB 202 T and the bulkier SB 552 T – which has not only seen the range double in size, but also expand its versatility and scope of suitable carriers.

The SB tunnel version tracks its origins back to 2017, with Swedish manufacturer Epiroc having at the time expanded its established Solid Body breaker concept into the area of underground applications, launching the new range with two models, the SB 302 T and SB 452 T, which it describes as having become an “underground hit”.

The recent additions of the SB 202 T and SB 552 T has seen the collective capabilities of the SB tunnel line-up grow, extending the scope of suitable carriers from the previous range of 4.5-13 t up to 2.5-15 t.

At the lighter end of the scale, the SB 202 T weighs in at 200kg, and is suitable for a carrier weight class of 2.5-6 t, while the SB 552 T tips the scales at 560kg, for use in conjunction with a carrier weight class of 9-15 t.

This makes the two new additions the lightest and heaviest models, respectively, in Epiroc’s SB tunnel family, with the previously released SB 302 T weighing in at 315kg (suitable for a carrier weight class of 4.5-9 t), and the SB 452 T weighing in at 450kg (for a carrier weight class of 6.5-13 t).

Epiroc advises that the Solid Body concept eliminates common parts to enable high durability, encompassing a slim, compact and lightweight design, and states that its SB tunnel version is configured to undertake scaling, and wall and roof profiling, along with other tough underground jobs.
Noting that “the DNA of the Solid Body concept is obvious” in the tunnel models, Epiroc states that a number of features have been carried over from the original SB breaker line, including the line’s energy recovery system and pressure relief valve.

In addition to this, the tunnel models feature the primary weight, design and durability benefits of the Solid Body concept, with application specific-modifications including an exchangeable wear plate and front shield dust cover.

The SB tunnel range features:

  • Energy recovery – automatically utilises the piston recoil energy in reducing vibration levels, with the simultaneous increase of performance.
  • Maintenance-free high-pressure accumulator – featuring a patented diaphragm support, delivering consistent performance and high reliability.
  • Press-fit bushing – locked by an additional pin, limiting bushing bore wear.
  • Integrated nozzles – for water spraying, with Epiroc stating that as the water catches the dust, the line of sight for the operator stays clear, with the dust kept on the ground.
  • Integrated pressure-relief valve – protecting against overloads.
  • Exchangeable restrictors – adjusting performance to the job requirements, whether it’s traditional scaling or heavier rock breaking.
  • Exchangeable wear plate – increasing the Solid Body lifetime.
  • Front shield and dust cover – minimising dust intake.

Glenn Illingworth, Epiroc Australia Tools & Attachments Business Development Manager, highlighted the importance of the application-specific modifications that feature in the SB tunnel range. He noted that these features are designed to aid operations in tough conditions, addressing the unique challenges operators encounter when working in these environments, and pointed to the practical purposes they serve in undertaking intensive tunnelling operations. “In tunnelling the breakers do not always have the correct down pressure applied due to the positions they work in, or if being run remotely on robotic machines the operator does not have the feel that an operator would have sitting in the cab,” Glenn explained. “This results in excessive blank firing, and a lot of the energy being transmitted back through the breaker. This is one of the most destructive elements that can damage breakers – this is why we have added a wear plate to the front working surface, and made heavy duty tool retainers.”

Glenn additionally advised that with water spray a must for tunnelling, this is a feature which comes as standard on all SB tunnel versions. “However, water also creates corrosion, and this is why we have changed our standard piston to stainless steel,” he said. “Another issue, even with the water spray, is dust and debris entering the breaker when used on walls and roofs – so to try and minimise this we have added a collar to our working tools and additional wipers in the wear bushing. “We also recommend adding air pressure to the breaker to keep the contamination out, and to assist in this we have a dedicated port where an airline can be attached.”

Glenn told EEM that Epiroc’s wider SB breaker range has been a market leader both locally and around the world since its launch a decade ago. As it stands, he noted that the SB tunnel models are a comparatively recent addition to the wider range, with the SB 202 T and SB 552 T models having arrived in the local market towards the end of last year. “Currently we have nine SB tunnel versions working in Australia, all supplied last year, as these units were only released recently, so much so two of the models were only released in September last year,” he explained.

Glenn additionally observed that Epiroc expects demand for the range to grow as operations get underway at more projects slated for commencement in the coming years. “We are anticipating more orders to come, with a number of tunnel projects still in the planning or approval stages around the country,” he commented. “With this new range specifically for both tunnelling and scaling applications they have taken what is a design far ahead of anything else and made it even better for what is the toughest environment for any hydraulic breaker to be asked to perform in.”

It’s been a busy period of late for Epiroc, with the manufacturer having also recently brought its HATCON (Hydraulic Attachment Tools Connectivity) remote monitoring solution, designed to deliver insight into the operations of a range of attachment tools and to assist with making more informed decisions, to market. Available factory-mounted or as a retrofit kit for premium range breakers and drum cutters, the HATCON device is an optional extra with the SB tunnel range, with Epiroc advising it “enables next-level fleet management by monitoring operating hours, location and service intervals of your tools”. “The data from HATCON provides a new level of control,” Epiroc states of the device. “Making sure the utilisation is evenly distributed, optimising transport and increasing uptime with pre-planned service stops has never been easier. With connected tools, efficiency and ultimately profitability will increase.”

HACTCON works in conjunction with Epiroc’s cloud-based My Epiroc platform, with users able to log in via computer, tablet or smartphone (with My Epiroc developed for use either in the office or out in the field), accessing their data and receiving notifications when it’s time for a service. Epiroc describes My Epiroc as “a platform developed to be a workflow optimisation partner, helping users keep track of productivity with relevant alerts and status updates”, with it designed to assist by highlighting the things that require immediate attention. “Whenever support is needed, My Epiroc users are just a click or a swipe away from remote guided support, finding contacts, or to a transparent overview of all previously reported inquiries,” Epiroc advises. “It is easy to manage tasks and actions related to the fleet in an efficient way and get the input needed in order to prepare for reporting. “Data is securely stored in an encrypted cloud environment, which customers can also utilise to upload their own relevant content to create a safe digital fleet library over time.”

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