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Demining innovations supported with ABB motors and drive

20 July 2018

ABB provides motors and drive for revolutionary machine that will automate the demining process, making it faster and safer.

ABB has supplied motors and a variable speed drive (VSD) for a revolutionary anti-personnel landmine clearance rig. The machine, which is the outcome of five years of R&D by MMD (Mining Machinery Developments), was donated to The HALO Trust charity at Hillhead 2018, the UK’s leading quarrying and construction industry event.

The rig is destined for deployment in Zimbabwe, which remains one of the world’s most highly mine-impacted countries. Small plastic mines, which are extremely difficult to detect and densely packed, run for hundreds of kilometres, close to houses, schools and clinics, cutting off access to agricultural land and separating communities from their primary water sources. Every month, around 500 mines are removed manually, a slow and dangerous process. MMD’s demining rig will automate the process, thereby making it faster and safer. 

Excavated soil is fed into the main body of the rig by a conveyor and passed through two Sizers (crushers), ensuring that any landmines contained in the soil are crushed or detonated. Each Sizer is driven by an ABB 37kW four-pole, flange-mounted motor. Built for very demanding applications, these motors can withstand up to 5g of force, making them – and the operation – effectively ‘shock proof’ and ensuring uninterrupted performance even in the event of a detonation. 

An ABB VSD regulates the speed of the conveyor which feeds the soil into the rig. This prevents the Sizers from becoming overloaded, which could potentially cause the rig to break down. The ABB drive monitors the current drawn by the conveyor’s combined motor and gearbox and adjusts the conveyor speed accordingly. The harder the motor works, the lower the feed rate of the conveyor and vice versa. This enables the machine to process a variety of different soil types – from hard and abrasive to wet and sticky - in one continuous stream, maximising throughput.

Speaking at Hillhead, James Cowan, CEO of The HALO Trust, said: "We are very grateful to MMD for this generous donation. Once this machine is set to work, it will increase the area of contaminated land we clear each day in heavily mined countries such as Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. In the places where we work, cleared land simply means more food for farming families and safer routes to school for children. MMD’s Sizer technology will make a real difference to tens of thousands of people.” 

David Blissett, Area Sales Manager LV motors, ABB, said: “ABB is delighted to support the work of The HALO Trust and to be involved with such a worthwhile project. We congratulate MMD on its hard work and determination over the last five years to develop this very special machine that will change the lives of many thousands of people around the world for the better.” 

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