Liebherr’s new MDC3 smart camera for Sandvik roadheaders

Liebherr’s MDC3 digital smart camera has been chosen by Sandvik for use on its tunnelling and underground mining machines.
bauma 2022 / October 24, 2022
Liebherr’s MDC3 smart camera is said to be an ideal fit for Sandvik roadheaders
Liebherr’s MDC3 smart camera is said to be an ideal fit for Sandvik roadheaders

Sandvik’s Mechanical Cutting Division located in Zeltweg, Austria, is among global market leaders in roadheaders and its powerful machines are often used for cavity construction on tunnel projects.  

The cutting process in underground mining produces strong vibrations and huge quantities of dust. According to Uwe Restner, product manager for roadheaders and digitalisation at Sandvik: “The enormous forces at play in underground mining pose great challenges on the components in our machines. We, therefore, subject the components to intensive tests before we use them in our machines, and Liebherr’s MDC3 convinced us in particular due to its high quality and robustness.”

Sandvik has extensively tested the suitability of the MDC3 digital smart camera for underground mining. It has been put through demanding vibration tests and performed convincingly well under heavy shock loads without any failure or impairment.

Sandvik says that it wants its machines to be compatible with tele-remote operation in the future. This requires a high-resolution camera and, above all, reliable 360° viewing, even under heavy vibrations.  

Due to the blind angle, failure of the camera would require immediate interruption of the tele-remote operation for safety reasons, and thus result in downtimes.

“The most decisive factors in the choice of the camera, besides its robustness, were its reliability and latency. The MDC3 has proven to reliably deliver images to our displays, with minimal delays,” added Restner. “This will be key to future tele-remote operations.”

In Bern, Switzerland, Marti Tunnel is using a Sandvik MT520 roadheader to dig new caverns for a railway station project. The machine has an operating weight of 115tonnes and a power output of 537kW. The MT520 is equipped with a unique telescopic arm, which enables cavity construction to a height of 7.1 metres and a width of 10.3 metres.

Six Liebherr cameras are installed on the MT520 for comfortable 360° viewing in the operator's cab: two in the front with a view of the telescopic boom, two on the sides and two more for rear-view monitoring. With its integrated high-performance imager, the MDC3 shows all the necessary information right on the display, even in very dark environments with an illuminance of 1 millilux.

One innovative solution devised by Sandvik illustrates the harsh environment during cutting: Dirt deposits from water and dust normally crystallise to form an opaque layer on the camera that clouds viewing. Sandvik’s underground specialist has therefore installed an air nozzle in front of the Liebherr camera to prevent the layer from building up.

Despite the challenging operating conditions, Sandvik says its high-quality machines are designed to stay operational for 20 years.

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