Epiroc's Scooptram ST18 SG loader is powered by a high-capacity battery which provides longer run times between charges.

This Week in Power & Motion: Electric-Powered Mining Loader Provides Longer Run Times

March 31, 2023
Epiroc's Scooptram ST18 SG loader features a high battery capacity for longer run times between charges, engineering students are preparing for the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics motion control, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

Regal Rexnord Completes Altra Industrial Motion Acquisition

Regal Rexnord Corp. has completed its acquisition of Altra Industrial Motion which was originally signed in October 2022. Bringing the two companies together will enable new opportunities in power transmission and automation technologies for customers and the markets served by both. 

With the closing of the acquisition, Regal Rexnord plans to establish a new segment structure for reporting purposes to support the company's strategic focus and changes in leadership. The company will now be comprised of four operating segments: 

  • Industrial Powertrain Solutions (IPS) - this will include the current Motion Control Solutions segment, excluding conveying and aerospace, and Altra's Power Transmission Technologies business. 
  • Power Efficiency Solutions (PES) - will consist of the current Climate Solutions and Commercial Systems businesses.
  • Automation & Motion Control (AMC) - will be comprised of the current MCS aerospace and conveying business units, Altra's Automation & Specialty (A&S) segment, and the Regal Rexnord Thomson business that is currently part of the Industrial Systems segment.
  • Industrial Systems - will consist of its current operations, excluding the Thomson business.

Engineering Students Prepare for NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

The National Fluid Power Association's (NFPA) 2023 Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is preparing for its final competitions. Once again this year there will be two competitions held, enabling more students and universities to participate, as well as industry supporters.  

Norgren will host the first competition April 12-14 in Littleton, CO, and Danfoss Power Solutions the second event April 26-28 in Ames, IA. Both companies have stated their excitement at hosting the events to see what students create, help foster the next generation of engineers and connect with potential future employees. 

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is an undergraduate program which challenges students to redesign a bicycle using hydraulics as the source of power transmission. Students follow strict deadlines for the designing, building, testing and demonstrating of their creations to help provide them with a real-world engineering experience. Through the program the students learn more about fluid power and network with other peers as well as industry professionals who help provide guidance throughout the program. 

For the 2023 Vehicle Challenge, a race focusing on regenerative braking capabilities has been added to the sprint, efficiency and endurance races already part of the final competition. 

Epiroc Electric Underground Mining Equipment Offers Longer Duty Cycles

Mining equipment manufacturer Epiroc has developed several electric-powered machines for use in underground mining where it is especially important to reduce emissions for the health of workers, as well as operational costs. Its Scooptram ST18 SG underground loader now provides a high level of battery capacity, enabling longer work time between charges or battery swaps. 

This helps to keep mines more productive, which is vital for such an important and cost-focused industry. 

READ MORE: Mining applications put hydraulics to the test

According to Epiroc, the Scooptram ST18 SG features up to 50% higher installed battery capacity compared to machines from other OEMs. The company utilizes energy-dense battery technology which helps to not only provide the power needed for longer duty cycles but also active and passive safety capabilities. 

With the growing push toward electrification in larger machines, ensuring long battery life will be critical for OEMs and their component suppliers. 

DOE Launches Battery Workforce Challenge

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has partnered with Stellantis, a developer of vehicle technologies including those for electrification and automation, to launch the Battery Workforce Challenge. Through this program, the DOE and Stellantis aim to help build the next generation of engineers, technicians, and workers which will be necessary for the growing battery and electric vehicle (EV) industry. 

The Battery Workforce Challenge will be comprised of several components: 

  • a 3-year collegiate engineering competition;
  • vocational training;
  • youth education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and
  • career and technical education. 

For the engineering competition, 11 teams of college and vocational students will be invited to participate in an advanced battery design and development program which kicks off in the fall. Students will be tasked with designing, building, testing  and integrating an advanced EV battery into a future Stellantis vehicle. Per the DOE, teams will follow real-world industry milestones focused on battery design, simulation, controls development, testing, and vehicle integration and demonstration. Participants will also learn valuable project management, communications, teamwork, and problem-solving skills that will provide unparalleled educational experience and ready them for future careers throughout the battery industry. Applications are now being accepted. 

Workforce and education initiatives will be part of the overall challenge as well to aid students of all ages. 

Festo Didactic Creates Digital Learning Portal

Festo Didactic has developed a digital learning portal known as the Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX). Through this new learning portal the company is looking to provide more insight on the new technologies and changing job requirements of today's industrial operations. 

"More so than ever, one’s technical education won’t end with graduation,” said Ted Rozier, Festo Didactic, Director of Engineering, in the company's press release announcing the learning portal's launch. “Everyone will need to continually upgrade their qualifications. That will not only demand an understanding of new technologies, but also how to work interactively, even collaboratively, with them as they redefine job and skill requirements. For employers, assisting employees in acquiring that knowledge and experience will be a competitive advantage, even a necessity. Providing the most effective education tools and programs also will give employers an advantage in recruiting and retention.”

When creating the portal, Festo Didactic took into account the varied ways people learn and the need for more individualized instruction. Therefore, the portal contains various modules which can be assembled as best fits a company's needs; there are also varied formats to help engage learners of all types. 

Many learning sessions are short, self-contained pieces of content to accommodate today's learning style. Use of modern technology, such as smartphones and virtual reality (VR) glasses help to engage trainees while providing a more immersive experience as well. 

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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