General of sand pits
BelAZ introduces first automated dump truck, using intelligent software, navigation and broadband links, to follow set route and estimate conditions
Times of ‘difficulty’ often inspire us to seek out alternate solutions. BelAZ may have been obliged to cut its production volumes by a third in the first three months of 2015, but it has no plans to surrender. Despite its partners suffering economic difficulties and world mineral prices falling, the plant hopes for better times.
Director General Piotr Parkhomchik explains his optimism, saying, “The globe’s mining industry is in crisis: Australia (a leader) has reduced its extraction volumes by 70 percent, while Russia (a main importer of our goods) has reduced its purchases by nearly 12 percent. Last year, our neighbours bought many of our mining dump trucks: Kuzbassrazrezugol bought 80 heavy dump trucks, while the Siberian Coal Energy Company purchased 30 units. They need time to adapt to new economic conditions.”
In June, Novokuznetsk is hosting a trade fair at which Belarus hopes to conclude contracts with leading Russian companies. Meanwhile, by the end of the year, co-operation with the Sverdlovsk Region should yield results; our partners are working on a new generation engine, which will replace the powerful American and German engines currently found under the huge bonnets. There are also hopes for the Indian market, which intends to double its coal mining production within the coming five years. Naturally, they need to purchase machinery and Belarus is ready to supply it.
A recent meeting at Zhodino, gathering visitors from 23 countries, saw the presentation of the world’s second largest mine dump truck: able to carry 450 tonnes. The Kemerovo Region has one such vehicle (in four months, it has transported 2.5 million tonnes of ore) and is now awaiting delivery of its second. The new, automated dump truck is the result of six years’ planning, combining intelligent software, with navigation and broadband links: allowing it to follow a route independently, to estimate conditions and to seek out help from a remote traffic controller if necessary. Also on show was the prototype of the world’s biggest loader. Various companies are showing keen interest, leading BelAZ to continue creating its range. Its unique system even allows each wheel to be operated separately, while its ‘shovel’ can grasp more rocks than its rivals.
Benjamin Escobar, the purchasing director of a Mexican mining company, which owns open-cast mines in the USA and Argentina, hopes to close a deal in the near future. Meanwhile, the director of a mining company in Peru, Mario Rabines Salmon, is convinced that Belarusian machinery outranks others. He emphasises, “The plant should concentrate on promoting its brand in Latin America, so that others see it too.” The idea isn’t new: BelAZ certainly has plans to expand its presence in this region.
By Maria Dronova