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First all-electric manually driven potroom vehicle step closer with Hencon

Engineers from Hencon and development partner Motrac Industries travelled to Hydro Aluminium Sunndal in Norway to conduct a test for the electrification of Hencon’s manually driven potroom vehicles. The aim was to test whether the components used could withstand the strong magnetic fields in the potrooms of aluminium smelters. Great news: the test was completely successful! This gives us the confidence to continue the development of electrified potroom vehicles.

To develop electric vehicles that operate in a potroom environment with a strong magnetic field, it is important that all new components are carefully tested. This is because not every random machine can operate in a magnetic field. In particular, the sensors required for an electric driveline get disrupted by it. Read more about this in this article. Only after extensive testing, components can be selected and applied.

Innovative in electrification

Electrification has been one of the main innovation directions within Hencon in recent years. In the near future, this will allow us to meet the desire of more and more clients to run only electrically powered vehicles in their aluminium plants. One such customer is Hydro Aluminium Sunndal in Norway; as a forerunner in the industry, they immediately saw the advantages of an electrically driven potroom vehicle. To find the right magnetism-resistant components, Hencon contacted development partner Motrac Industries. Engineers from both companies worked together and found  a possible solution. That solution has now been extensively tested on site in Sunndal – in the relevant magnetic field where the first manually driven, electric potroom vehicles will be deployed next year.

Complete test setup

The photos show the Hencon Bath Tapping Vehicle (BTV), which was converted into a test machine for this trial, especially suited to these harsh conditions. Normally, this vehicle is used for tapping and discharging bath (material required for aluminium production, ed.). In this set up, at the place where the bath ladle is normally picked up, the test rig was mounted. The test stand contains all components important for an electric drive: electric motor, controller, DC/DC converter and a battery including BMS (Battery Management System).

Moving forward with confidence

In cooperation with the customer, the engineers ran a predefined test programme. With a laptop linked to the test setup, we were able to read all the data in real time. And the test was completely successful! It was the last test in a successful series; this gives us great confidence to continue the development of our electric-powered potroom vehicles. This way, we can continue to serve our clients with the best sustainable innovations, while doing our bit for the global challenge of reducing CO2 emissions.

Serving progress.

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