Doosan in action

10/10/2013

Doosan DA30 WIG : Extreme conditions, maximum performance

Waterloo, Belgium. Working in a mine is no breeze. Extreme conditions and long hours spent below ground put even the toughest of us to the test. And what about the machinery? For over a year now, a Doosan DA30 WIG has been hauling salt, about a mile underground in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine in west Poland owned by KGHM Polska Miedź. We decided to check out how the Doosan articulated dump truck has been performing in this tough environment.

 

The Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine began operations in 1996.  Prior to that, it had begun life as the Polkowice mine which first opened in 1967, and later the Sieroszowice mine which started up in 1980.  A few hundred metres underground, copper, silver and salt are extracted over an area totalling 176 km². Work conditions like this call for robust and reliable machines which can both manage difficult tasks and cope with a tough environment that hinders their performance.  That’s why machinery has been carefully chosen to ensure maximum performance and safety.

 

The best of the best

Both mine face machinery and auxiliary equipment must satisfy the highest standards, and the Doosan DA30 articulated dump truck is no exception, ranking high among top underground performers.  In the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine it transports raw materials.  To check out exactly what the Doosan DA30 WIG does, we need to go about a mile underground.  Unlike the complicated and time-consuming process to get access to the mine (authorisations, applications etc), the ride down takes just a couple of minutes.  After being fitted with breathing apparatus and a lamp, we are ready to go down.  A three-level elevator called a cage with a capacity of more than 100 people descends at a breakneck speed of 12 metres per second, which means the ride down takes about two minutes, during which time pressure builds up in your ears.  Although an everyday sight for a miner, on arrival the mine makes quite an impression on those of us unaccustomed to a mine.  Large areas of parked machinery, slightly narrower tunnels, first-class organisation and flawless logistics.  In short, this is our first impression as we enter the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine. A Doosan Moxy articulated dump truck, an ‘older brother’ of the Doosan DA30 WIG, awaits servicing in the service area.  Altogether, there are six dump trucks of the same make.  To see them at work, we need to travel a few miles along underground tunnels in a small nimble vehicle specially designed for travelling inside the mine.  The operator drives for several miles, without the aid of a single road sign.  After a few minutes, we reach a tunnel which looks like a snowy landscape: everything is white and visibility drops to just a few feet.

 

A well-trained task force

Walking up to the mine face, we see one of the most powerful mining machines in the world: a Sandvik AM-85P roadheader, only the second one of its kind in Europe; the first operates in the Ruhr Valley in western Germany.  Powered by a record voltage of six thousand volts, it extracts approximately two hundred tonne of raw materials during every three-and-a-half-hour shift, and must be inspected and serviced every other day.  However, for a really smooth workflow, not only must the raw material be extracted but it must be transported as well.  This is where the Doosan DA30 articulated dump truck comes into its own.  The operator of the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine roadheader has been working here for over a year.  He can operate up to three roadheaders, depending on demand.  The machine weighs over 23 tonne (when fully loaded, its weight exceeds 50 tonne), and like all other mine equipment, was dismantled and taken down the mine via a special mine shaft, and then reassembled. The machine was sold by Wigropol, a local company in Polkowice, operating as a Doosan sub-dealer specialised in mining equipment, a highly specialist market requiring expert knowledge to be successful. “We understand the challenges our machines face, and know which ones will overcome them best, which is why we can offer products which perfectly match our customers’ needs,” explains Ryszard Martyniak, Wigropol’s Director.

 

It doesn’t get harder than this

When asked to describe some of the most extreme conditions that the Doosan ADT has had to work in, Marek Gruchala, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Manager at the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine, answered with a smile: “Here, every situation is extreme. The fact that the machine operates underground in an environment subject to extremely high temperatures and dust levels, puts it to the test every day.  A special guard and barrier housing was designed to protect the lights and windshields when passing through rubber dams.  A special platform for the roadheader operator’s assistant was installed to supervise and control salt loading.  The machine is also equipped with an ANSUL extinguisher system and DOTRA Communications system.  In the case of really steep dips, the interaxle differential lock can be activated on all the wheels.  The machine works fifteen hours a day, sometimes travelling three miles each way.  We therefore appreciate the low exhaust emissions of the Scania diesel engine which fully complies with Stage IIIB standards.  The level of emissions produced in tunnels can be significant.  Recent test results have shown that particulate levels are well below 100 ppm in the vicinity of the exhaust, compared to standard requirement levels of 300 ppm, an impressive result.”

 

Success is measured in tonnage

Salt is delivered from the roadheader to the crater, then to the crusher, and onto a double-deck vibrating screen.  The process continues until the grain size is less than 5 mm.  The salt is then conveyed to fine vibrating screens.  When all the quality requirements have been met, the salt is transported by belt conveyor to a deposit which took just twelve months to build.  Finally, the salt is transported by road throughout Poland and Central Europe.  Last year, 336,000 tonne of salt was extracted.  Currently, the mine is aiming to intensify salt production, which will involve the purchase of additional machinery.  “Currently, we operate eight dump trucks, but eventually we would like to increase that number to ten.  Will it be another Doosan?  We already have a number of Doosan machines.  The final decision will be made by the Central Procurement Office, but Doosan is doing really well and I strongly recommend the brand.  What sets it apart is a combination of durability and excellent price. We have already tried and tested these machines,” says Marek Gruchala summing up. As you can see, even though we are a mile below ground, the standard has been set.  The Doosan DA30 WIG proves that it does not simply meet requirements, but does it so effectively that the number of machines purchased by KGHM grows year after year. Who knows, maybe the white and gray landscape of the mine face will soon turn orange?

 
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