Trident S.A has launched a program to introduce Lithium batteries into the global underground locomotive market.

The tech team at Trident SA in Johannesburg, manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturer of the Goodman range of mining and tunneling have identified the possibilities and advantages of using of using Lithium based batteries as an alternative to traditional Lead Acid batteries.

Trident manufactures around 240 mining and tunneling Locomotives a year and 90% of them are battery powered units, the remainder are trolley line or “combination” (battery and trolley – the battery is deployed in mining areas where no trolley line exists) locomotives.

When supplying battery locomotives typically the customer would purchase two lead acid battery packs one for use on the locomotive on its current shift and another on charge in the “charging bay” for the next shift. The battery on charge will be on charge for the duration of the current shift as it takes that long (+-8hrs) to fully charge a lead acid battery pack.

With the ever increasing levels of technology around Lithium Batteries Trident SA realised the following advantages.

  • The new Lithium battery packs can be fit to existing fleets of locomotives at Customers with no modifications required on the Locomotive or current control equipment.
  • No “charging bay” is required as Trident has now integrated the charger into the Battery Pack, this means the battery is merely plugged into an available/convenient supply. Having no “charging bay” reduces mining set up costs as these bays do not need to be created. No congestion at the start of the shift or production time wasted with logistical issues regarding changing batteries. Less handling(removal) of the batteries result in a lower risk of injuries.
  • With the integral charger on the locomotive and with the speed of Lithium re-charging the locomotive can be charged during the shift change. Two hours instead of 8.
  • One battery pack is required per locomotive instead of the usual two.
  • Lithium battery modules are “smart” and maintenance free and have a “BMS” (Battery Management System) which monitors the array of modules detecting faults and failures and instituting on-board routines to ensure the batteries are protected and performing optimally. No maintenance means less personnel required, WIFI status reporting to above ground offices.
  • The expected life span of a Lithium Battery pack is 10 years and not 4-5 years as in Lead Acid units
  • As the physical size of the Lithium pack is narrower daily maintenance and inspections of the locomotive braking system and other subsystems can be done via access doors each side of the pack without removing the pack as in lead acid units. This is estimated to reduce handling by 85%
  • The “flat” voltage discharge curve of the battery results in a stable power supply to the electric motors and other electronic equipment.


Trident SA has incorporated features in the battery pack to deal with shock loads normally associated with mining locomotives so these units will stand up to the requirements of a rigorous industry. The use of Lithium also helps the industry we service grow.

The Lithium packs will be available for all models of Goodman Locomotives 3,4,5,6,8,10,13 and 15 ton Locomotives and also on 20 ton “combination units.