Komatsu has recently delivered the first Variable Speed Drive (VSD) Joy OptiDrive Armoured Face Conveyor (AFC) in Australia to Moranbah North Mine.

Until this delivery, all Australian AFCs have used fixed-speed electric motors. The VSDs allow the speed of the AFC chain to vary, improving productivity by smoothing out AFC output, while benefiting from reduced wear and power consumption.
And unlike other VSD systems, Joy’s OptiDrive motor has the controller integral to the motor, making a more compact VSD package. The Joy OptiDrive system also provides enhanced maintenance and diagnostics including improved chain breakage protection.
Komatsu and Anglo’s Moranbah North worked closely under the Komatsu/Anglo American partnership to address the many challenges of introducing this technology to the Australian market.
After extensive analysis, Moranbah North chose Joy OptiDrive as the best VSD solution for its AFC. In conjunction with the existing partnership, major sub-contractor Ampcontrol was charged with developing a new electrical supply system that complied with the extensive regulations associated with Australian underground mining.
This ultimately lead to close cooperation between Komatsu, Ampcontrol, Moranbah North and the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.
Supported by Komatsu personnel from UK and Australia, along with service engineers and technical experts from Germany, a Joy OptiDrive system was successfully integrated and tested into a longwall system overhauled and upgraded at Parkhurst, also for Moranbah North mine.
The overhauled longwall system for Moranbah North included the coal clearance system, shearer and a number of face-end and run-of-face roof supports.
The additional inclusion of three Joy OptiDrive VSDs into the AFC system demanded structural changes to frames, equipment layout and cable management on the equipment.
Other significant inclusions were fitting a set of new, increased-height down drives to the shearer, which will allow increased coal flow, as well as the assembly and delivery of a complete new AFC pan line manufactured at our plant in China.
The OptiDrive system was delivered to Moranbah North Mine site and started commissioning underground in July 2018.