Allison Makes Headway Underground

More than 125 years ago, industrial-scale mining of pure magnetite ore bodies started in the Malmberget mine, a process that was made possible thanks to the new ore train track to Luleå, and changed the industrial presumptions in the entire northern Lapland area. Now, state-owned Swedish mining company LKAB is about to make some changes of its own, including retiring and replacing an entire generation of mining vehicles as part of a multi-year project to renew its fleet.

Since the mid-70’s, LKAB has operated about 50 mining vehicles equipped with Allison fully-automatic transmissions. LKAB mobile maintenance technician, Hans Degerman, explained why the durability of the gearboxes is so important in mining applications. “Our trucks carry heavy loads over short distances with many starts and stops, and that wears hard, on both trucks and transmissions. The average speed is 25 km/h, and they run 80,000 km every year,” he said.

Half of the 20 ore bodies in the Malmberget mine are currently worked by LKAB, which mines by sub-level caving.  Main haulage level operations were extended to a depth of 1,250 m beginning in 2012.

Three Scania trucks are the most recent additions to LKAB’s fleet. Two are Scania G480 8x4, both equipped with Allison 4000 Series fully-automatic transmissions and each with 90 t of loading capacity. Another truck, also equipped with an Allison fully automatic, owned and operated by Erik Landström Åkeri, features an underground sweeping machine. Operating 10 hours a day, every day, in a demanding environment requires reliability and durability, something that Ulf Landström at Erik Landström Åkeri believes Allison transmissions meet very well.

“We need to drive very slowly. Dust from iron ore is twice as heavy as ordinary road dust, and the sweeping machine has to carry heavy loads up steep galleries with many starts and stops. Gentle and shock-free starts, thanks to Allison’s torque converter and continuous power transfer, combined with not having to bother about gear shifting, means drivers can focus on their job during long working periods,” Mr. Landström explained.

Norrlandsbil, the Scania dealer who delivered these vehicles to LKAB, is running an ongoing development project called “the optimal mining truck,” along with several bodybuilders and mining truck contractors. Norrlandsbil requires that a vehicle be equipped with an Allison fully-automatic transmission in order to qualify for the project.

About LKAB
LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB) was founded in 1890 and is one of Sweden’s oldest industrial companies.  LKAB is a high-tech international minerals group, world leading producer of processed iron ore products for steelmaking, and a growing supplier of mineral products for other industrial sectors.  LKAB mines mostly magnetite ore in some of the world’s richest iron ore deposits north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland.

Source: Allison Transmission

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