‘Father’ of LHDs inducted into International Mining Technology Hall of Fame

Eddie Wagner is the 2015 inductee in the underground production category of the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame. The panel of judges from around the world voted Hermann Paus into second place and Dale Elphinstone third. Better luck to those gentlemen next year.

Eddie sand his brother Elmer had begun to experiment with four-wheel-drive wheel loaders in the late 1940s. In 1949 Elmer invented the four-wheel drive articulated vehicle. In 1958, Hidden Splendor Mining in Moab, Utah, asked Wagner to build a front-end loader for underground mining.  At that time, rail loaders were widely used but Hidden Splendor management was looking for a more manoeuvrable vehicle that could successfully travel the narrow and twisting drifts in underground mines.

After hearing about Hidden Splendor’s new trackless loader, Phillips Petroleum approached Edie, then vice president of Wagner Tractor, to build a similar vehicle for its mine in New Mexico.  Working nights and weekends, he completed and shipped the first articulated, rubber-tyred, front-end loader mining scoop, the MS-1, in the summer of 1958.  In October that year, Wagner, his wife Mary and their son Richard founded Wagner Mining Scoop Co.

Success and other innovations quickly followed the MS-1: the MT-10, the first rear dump truck capable of hauling a 10-t capacity-only 8 feet wide, 22 feet long and 60 inches high; a Teletram® (the MTT-425), the first underground 4-wheel drive horizontal discharge telescopic dump mine truck; and the ST-5 Scooptram®, the first LHD a full reversing, 4-speed power transmission and side seating operator position. SAHR® (Spring Applied Hydraulic Released) fail-safe brakes were another Wagner innovation.

Wagner continued the tradition of excellence set by Eddie Wagner and soon became a world leader in mining vehicle development, serving the load and haul needs of mines around the world. In 1970, the first public offering of stock was made and the company’s name was changed to Wagner Mining Equipment.

In 1971, PACCAR, a corporation comprising several divisions of transport vehicle manufacturing operations, gained controlling interest of Wagner, acquiring complete control by 1973. In 1989, Wagner Mining Equipment was purchased by Atlas Copco. In 1990, its name was changed to Wagner Mining and Construction Equipment, reflecting its additional development and manufacture of equipment for the above-ground construction equipment market.

In March 1995, Wagner Mining and Construction Equipment became Atlas Copco Wagner. Today the Wagner name has gone, but the Scooptram brand rides on!

Don’t forget to put your nominations in (to john@im-mining.com) for the 2016 inductions. There are 12 categories:

  1. Exploration
  2. Underground development
  3. Underground Production
  4. Surface mining
  5. Comminution
  6. Concentration
  7. Mining software
  8. Safety
  9. Bulk handling
  10. Metallurgy
  11. Environmental management and stewardship
  12. Outstanding innovator

 

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