supplied and installed a range of vehicle scales for a Swedish mining company operating in extreme conditions.
Founded in 1890, the Swedish mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB) mines iron ore in Kiruna, 145km north of the Arctic Circle. Kiruna is subjected to an extreme range of temperatures throughout the year. The mining company turned to Mettler Toledo for suitable weighing equipment that could withstand the harsh Arctic environment.
LKAB’s massive iron ore mining operation in Kiruna digs high-purity magnetic iron ore from mines in the two mountains of Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara. The iron ore is processed into pellets and automatically loaded onto 68 rail wagons, each weighing 121 tons. They are then sent on a 173km journey through the tundra and Arctic landscape to the port of Narvik on Norway's Atlantic coast, from where they are distributed to customers throughout the world.
Three Mettler Toledo dynamic rail scales weigh the valuable cargo in Kiruna before it is shipped overseas. The first scale weighs the empty wagons, the second weighs the wagons as they are filled, and the third weighs the wagons again at an unloading station.
Jeff Holcomb, European Market Manager for Mettler Toledo vehicle scales explains that the first scale weighs the empty wagons while the train is moving and transmits results to the filling station. Holcomb negotiated the sales conditions with LKAB and worked with Lars Olsson (Sales) and Harry Koski (Service) of the Mettler Toledo market organisation in Sweden to coordinate the delivery and installation of the scales.
The in-motion weighing system uses the difference between the weight of each empty wagon and the permissible total weight to determine the quantity of iron ore to be loaded into the wagons. The second scale then establishes the actual weight of each filled wagon. It is critical to ensure that the wagons are accurately filled to the permissible total weight. Overfilling can cause pellets to fall off the wagons or place too much strain on the track system. If the wagons are not sufficiently filled, they are not being used to their full capacity.
Mettler Toledo rail scales are able to deliver accurate weight readings in spite of the extreme conditions in the Arctic, thanks to the POWERCELL load cells, which are designed to compensate for a total of seven different extreme weather conditions, such as severe cold and heat.
LKAB decided to purchase rail scales from Mettler Toledo after evaluating various solutions in the market. The three rail scales have demonstrated their reliability while meeting the stringent demands of both the mining company and the local climate.