Railway technology without the rails

In railway applications, all components are not only subject to strict requirements with regard to shock and vibration resistance, but are also expected to withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature. This makes railway components ideally suited for use in excavation and transportation equipment for open-cast mining. Experience gained under extreme operating conditions is in turn applied to our development of converters for railway technology.

Mining trucks

The diesel-electric traction system is widely used in mining trucks, which is why these vehicles have long been equipped with Siemens three-phase traction systems based on railway technology. Over 500 mining trucks equipped with Siemens three-phase traction technology are currently in service, with diesel motor outputs of up to 4,000 hp with a payload as high as 360 tons and an overall weight of up to 600 tons. Some of these vehicles operate at elevations 3,000 meters above sea level.

Bucket wheel excavators from Rheinbraun (now RWE Power)

An astonishing use of railway technology is on display in the Rhenish brown coal district. Ninety-five meters tall, 200 meters long, and weighing around 15,000 tons, bucket wheel excavators are imposing examples of engineering genius. In 1992, excavator no 292 went into service. Its bucket wheel drive (rated data 3 x 1,680 kW) was equipped with traction converters from Siemens. In 1995, excavator no 293 using the same technology entered operation.

Dragline excavators

Although not quite as imposing as the large bucket wheel excavators, draglines are still veritable giants. With boom lengths of up to 130 meters and weighing 7,000 tons, they can reach impressive dimensions. The dragline bucket has a capacity of up to 116 m³ and a payload as large as 345 tons. Their function is to remove mining waste. They, too, have been using components from railway technology for a number of years – specifically, our converters and control units – to further boost their reliability. Six of these large machines are currently in operation worldwide.

Shovel excavators

Shovel excavators are also equipped with state-of-the-art three-phase traction technology with railway components, and are also used in open-cast mining. A shovel’s capacity can reach 61 m³ or 120 tons. Typically, shovel excavators weigh about 1,750 tons. Siemens has equipped around 140 shovel excavators with railway system components worldwide.