A newcomer to the mining industry is the SFL 60 XLP – a specially developed prototype for an extremely low-profile underground loader. It has been developed by Schopf Maschinenbau GmbH of Ostfildern near Stuttgart – manufacturer of specialised loading machines for underground use for more than 60 years.
Despite an overall machine height of only 1.38 m, the test unit bucket holds 6 tons of minerals. The special design was conceived for use in mines where precious ores such as gold, platinum and chrome are often found in seams only a few decimeters thick. Achieving the desired mechanical handling capacities requires machines which are by their nature large, and thus high. The Schopf SFL60 XLP resolves this contradiction with its speciallydesigned articulating / oscillating steering link, which connects the front and rear ends of the loader, and which also makes possible the unit’s extremely low overall height.
The loader’s operating height has been brought down to between 1.5 and 1.6 m. In order to protect the inner workings of the unit from damage from gallery walls, the design ensures they are safely enclosed behind thick, armoured panelling. This is particularly important for the operator, who cannot see the front, rear or right side of the machine. Closed-circuit television and an in-cab monitor provide the all-round visibility essential for the operator. Despite its unusual arrangement and apparent confinement, the ergonomically appointed driver’s position is, nevertheless, quite comfortable.
Tests have confirmed the wellestablished articulating / oscillating steering link technology to be the right choice for the machine. High installed breakout force and feed rate, together with an optimised blade shape, resulted in extremely good bucket filling rates and high mechanical handling capacities being achieved, even under difficult load conditions. The loader displays excellent stability during loading and travelling, which derives from the vehicle’s wellthought- out design and inherent balance.
The new-generation, special loader is already on the market, and first orders have already been booked.