Special Transport Solutions for Tunnelling and Mining

“It‘s dark in front of the pick” – this old German miners’ proverb applies to all types of underground work. Whether it‘s ore mining, fossil fuel extraction or transport and infrastructure tunnelling – the miner knows: you only have certainty when the next blast has fallen or the next metre has been drilled. All the more reason for tunnellers and miners to have equipment that they can rely on in all areas, equipment that works the moment it‘s needed and creative minds who find solutions to situations that have never been encountered before.

SMT Scharf’s suspended monorail systems (pictured: the DZK 3500) can be mounted directly at the roof of a tunnel or cavern, using anchor drilling technology, and also within the backup gantry of the tunnel boring machine
Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf

SMT Scharf’s suspended monorail systems (pictured: the DZK 3500) can be mounted directly at the roof of a tunnel or cavern, using anchor drilling technology, and also within the backup gantry of the tunnel boring machine
Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf
SMT Scharf GmbH has been a reliable partner to many international mining companies on all continents since the 1950s. The German company develops and builds solutions for special transport tasks in six international locations, whether it is a 50t support shield for a Chinese longwall, supply lines for the world‘s deepest mine in South Africa or passenger transport on a 25-degree incline in Australia, underground electric vehicles in the climatic extremes of the Andes, battery LHDs (Load Haul Dumps) for copper mining in Africa or America and battery trucks operating near the Arctic Circle.

SMT Scharf also offers suspended monorail systems for passenger transport that are suitable for tunnel construction projects
Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf
SMT Scharf also offers suspended monorail systems for passenger transport that are suitable for tunnel construction projects
Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf
Hidden Champion

In Germany, the listed company is one of the so-called “Hidden Champions”. The mining of coal in the great depths of the Ruhr region and the associated difficult driving conditions, i.e. the condition of the footwall, led SMT Scharf to shift the transport task to the hanging wall. SMT Scharf did not invent the monorail, but perfected this means of transport. The structural change in the German mining industry led the company to expand its activities worldwide at an early stage and also to expand into areas that are related to the classic monorail application. Besides hard rock mining, tunnel construction is therefore an obvious business field.


Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf
Credit/Quelle: Martin Leclaire/SMT Scharf
Suspended Monorail for Tunnelling Logistics

Within the group of companies, the Tunnel business unit since the mid-2010s has been offering customised special machines for tunnel builders in Europe and beyond on the basis of drive components that have been tried and tested in coal mining. The components, machines or systems supplied are predominantly used in the field of tunnel construction, where they become part of the critical logistics chain during excavation.

The standardised and modular rail system used offers flexibility in the guidance and suspension of loads and drives. The system can be mounted directly in the tunnel or a cavern at the roof using proven anchor drilling technology, or also within the structure of the tunnel boring machine (backup gantry). Depending on the situation, all-electric, electro-hydraulic or diesel-hydraulic drives are used, which move along the rail via frictional or form-locking power transmission. This creates another level in the limited space, which can be used for the transport logistics of materials or people.

The machines are controlled via industrial radio remote control or complex machine controls with HMI (Human Machine Interface), e.g. in the driver‘s cab of the train.

With a selected team of specialists, SMT Scharf also masters very complex tasks in its customers‘ project business and repeatedly takes on new challenges, even outside its traditional mining environment, as demonstrated, for example, by applications in nuclear facilities or waste disposal sites.

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