Many mines and quarries in Australia are located in remote parts of the country, potentially hundreds of kilometres away from an urban centre. The environments in which these motors operate are extremely hot (reaching 40 to 55 degrees), dusty, and often corrosive.

In order to keep the mine operating at its peak capacity, reliability in extreme operating conditions is paramount as the cost of downtime can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars just for a few hours.

When selecting an electric motor for a mine, Steve Hittmann, National Product Manager of Mechanical Drives at CBC Australia, says to keep reliability and efficiency front of mind.

“There are multiple design considerations that afford an electric motor the robustness of longevity – even in harsh environments with highly arduous duties,” he explains. “These include the type of insulation, temperature rise, bearing and lubricant selection, ingress protection, and general mechanical construction.”

As for efficiency, Steve compares it to the cost of ownership of a car.

“If you buy an extravagant, high performance car that guzzles fuel at 15 litres per 100 kilometres, you’re going to be spending more on fuel over its lifespan than if you had bought a similar model that was much more efficient.”

He explains that if a mine site decides to buy a motor purely on price, it may lead to a higher cost of ownership over its lifespan and possibly some unwanted failures of equipment causing breakdowns leading to unscheduled shutdowns.

Hittmann cited the example of a sand mine in New South Wales that required five medium-to-high capacity electric mine-spec motors. These motors need to be running 24/7 to keep critical machinery in operation.

The company was initially quoted for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) compliant motors that came at a total power consumption cost of around $845,000 over 12 months. However, CBC provided an alternative, the TECO MaxE3, high efficiency motors.

The TECO MaxE3, high efficiency motors are designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with AS1359/AS60034 standards. They use high grade, low loss insulated and cold-rolled magnetic silicon-steel laminations for maximum efficiency and low core losses. Additionally, the windings are impregnated with a solvent-less resin and are random wound with spike resistant Class H copper wire.

Hittmann says that while the TECO high efficiency motors were more expensive in the short term, the mine will make its return on investment in less than 12 months, with a potential lifetime saving of $665,000.

“On top of the energy saved due to the high efficiencies, the mine is then able to use this energy for other critical operations of the mine and other equipment onsite,” he says.

“It is also great for companies looking to improve their sustainability and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from their operations, a topic that is at the front of many people’s mind at the moment.”

CBC Australia is the national distributor for TECO in Australia. The two companies have a close relationship and work together to ensure a large amount of stock is available around the country.

In addition to this, CBC also prides itself on its extensive technical and engineering support. The company offers troubleshooting and servicing to ensure that any TECO motor sold has the full support of local experts. They also play an advisory role with customers, recommending solutions that will work best for their needs.

“We know what is required from the equipment in the resources industry, which is why we make sure to let our customers know about how to get the most value out of their purchase.”

This helps to provide a level of reliability that Hittmann says is second to none and critical in the resources sector.

Without a stable power supply, the majority of mines would be unable to operate, especially when critical applications require large amounts of power. The costs for this can vary, but it leads to significantly reduced productivity and profitability.

Hittmann says there’s a lot of pressure on companies in the resources sector to deliver the product they are mining and there can be serious penalties if this is not achieved.

“That’s why CBC provide the industry with high-quality, highly efficient TECO electric motors at a competitive price, reliability guaranteed and exceptional availability.”