On The Cover

Erkat Backs Rockfeel Innovation ER 650 Deployed To Support Research

Epiroc company Erkat has thrown its support behind German-based research aimed at making mining, tunnelling and demolition operations more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly, adapting an ER 650 transverse drum cutter for the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg’s RockFeel project.

RockFeel is designed to detect changes in rock strength, material differences, chisel blockage and wear during operation, with Erkat adapting the ER 650 for the project’s recently commissioned cutting test bench.

Erkat advised that the technology will, according to RockFeel, improve deposit yield, with waste material reduced by at least 10 per cent, while mining safety would be enhanced by the timely detection of caving risk, and an extended pick life would result in fewer pick change interruptions.

In addition to this, environmental benefits include significantly less water and energy consumption, fewer chemicals and no more explosive gases, with RockFeel streamlining the process chain and paving the way for cheaper and greener lean mining.

The project’s opening day demonstration saw a tracked excavator and the ER 650 equipped with various sensors, allowing forthe wireless transmission of data, with Erkat instructing the project team in the optimal handling of the cutter.

“Reliable real-time analysis of the rock would bring a whole range of advantages for our customers,” Erkat Managing Director Martina Schierholz said.

“We save time, improve yield, increase safety and contribute to our environmental protection efforts. We couldn’t ignore these many good arguments. We are following the progress of the RockFeel project with great interest and hope that this innovation will be a milestone for our customers.”

ER transverse drum cutters can be put to use across rock or concrete wall and surface profiling, trenching, soft rock and frozen soil excavation and demolition applications, with the product line featuring:
• Extremely robust spur gears – for optimum energy transmission and reliability
• QuickSnap retaining system – for quick and easy pick changing (ER 600-3000)
• Large variety of cutting heads – for various applications
• Robust housing design – with HARDOX wear protection for higher uptime
• Underwater use – capable up to 30 m without additional installation or modification
• Mechanical 360° rotatable bracket – with central fixing bolt for easy positioning of the drum cutter (ER 50-3000)
• Adoptable high-torque gear motor – for higher productivity and motor lifetime
• High load-resistant output shaft bearing system – with lubrication-free slide ring seal system
• Pick sleeves – are replaceable (ER 1500-5500)

Epiroc’s HATCON (Hydraulic Attachment Tools Connectivity) remote monitoring solution is available with the ER transverse drum cutter range (ER 100-5500), 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. “Making sure the utilisation is evenly distributed, optimising transport and increasing uptime with preplanned service stops has never been easier.”

HATCON works in conjunction with Epiroc’s cloud-based My Epiroc platform, with users able to log in via computer or smart device either in the office or the field, accessing their data and receiving notifications when it’s time for a service.

Epiroc states that My Epiroc is “a platform developed to be a workflow optimisation partner, helping users keep track of productivity with relevant alerts and status updates”, with it 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.”

HATCON, available factory mounted or as a retrofit kit for premium range breakers and drum cutters, assists with:
• Fleet utilisation – make sure the utilisation of your fleet is evenly distributed, monitoring the position and operating hours of each tool
• Efficient servicing – connected tools mean when it’s time for a service, parts are already prepared to minimise downtime
• Keep track of tools – access the GPS position of every tool using your phone and My Epiroc
• Strengthen anti-theft – in addition to alerts about wear part status and service, the GPS function strengthens your anti-theft system

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