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Operational efficiency

Choosing the right electric rope shovel for your mine

8 min read / May 2, 2022 / Rhonda Knotts

P&H 4100XPC electric rope shovel at night

Which electric rope shovel is right for your operation?

Choosing the right shovel is a lot like choosing the right car. It’s a big commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Therefore, before you step foot into an automobile showroom you will likely do hours of research comparing countless details to determine which vehicle is best suited to your needs. And, if you’re like most people, the sticker price, as well as the long-term cost of ownership will also be key factors.

If you routinely take your kids and their assorted gear from point A to Z and all stops in-between, your top must-haves will likely include ample seating capacity and lots of cargo room as found in a CUV. Or, if your primary objective is reliable transportation for your Monday-Friday commute and weekly trips to the grocery store, a budget-conscious, eco-friendly sedan might be your optimal daily driver. Then again, if you’re just looking for something fun to take out on the weekends, a sporty roadster might be your match.

Whether you’re adding a vehicle to your garage or a shovel to your fleet, in the end, it comes down to figuring out what you need — and what you don’t — to get the job done. To help narrow down the options for choosing an electric rope shovel, and simplify the decision-making process, within this post we will explore:

  • The benefits electric rope shovels offer
  • Komatsu’s P&H electric rope shovel lineup
  • How the right choice can make a big difference in your operation

Why consider an electric rope shovel?

Also referred to as a mining rope shovel or an electric mining shovel, an electric rope shovel is designed specifically to dig and load material in surface mines using electric motors, wire ropes and other specialized components. From their ultra-rugged lower works to their spacious machinery decks and classic, twin-leg-style handle-and-dipper configuration, P&H electric rope shovels have earned a place as a preferred loading tool for high-production, high-efficiency mine operations.

Below is a small subset of the benefits our electric rope shovels can provide:


Built for durability, reliability and performance, P&H electric rope shovels promote outstanding productivity, even in heavy- and severe-duty applications. Highlights include:

  • Capable of larger dipper payloads (up to 122 mt) as compared to hydraulic excavators
  • Higher production rates realized through electrical architecture (standout reliability and electric motor performance)
  • One of the largest electric mining rope shovels on the market: the 4800XPC


With 100% electric operation, the degree of sustainability reached is driven by the shovel’s power source. In the case of solar or wind farm connectivity, the shovel’s carbon footprint can be as low as zero. And with no diesel engine onboard, the shovels still rank as the most eco-conscious option in their class even when plugged into a traditional coal-powered electrical grid. Highlights include:

  • Adaptable in the event that power sources change over time
  • High efficiencies with AC motors and power converters
  • Low electricity (kilowatt-hour) usage per ton moved


When compared with other surface mining loading tools, P&H electric rope shovels are a cost-effective choice for long-life mines. Highlights include:

  • Lower cost-per-ton vs. comparable in-class models
  • Economical energy and operating costs
  • Long machine design life of up to 20+ years

The electric rope shovel lineup

Just as certain makes and models of passenger vehicles will better meet the needs of specific consumers, the same is true for shovels and surface mines.

When evaluating one shovel over another, a great deal of emphasis is placed on two factors: nominal payload and nominal dipper capacity. These metrics equate to the weight (mass) of material in a full bucket and the amount (volume) of material in a full bucket, respectively. A third factor, the size of the trucks in a site’s haulage fleet, is also an important part of the equation. When properly correlated, these factors can help sites determine how quickly and efficiently a shovel operator can fill a truck bed and complete a loading cycle.

Here we’ll take a look at the P&H electric rope shovel lineup and examine, at a high level, how and why each model might be a fit for operations with differing truck fleet configurations and productivity goals. Recommended truck pairings for each shovel model along with the [number of passes] required for the shovel to fill the truck bed to optimal capacity are provided below.


Despite being the smallest in the range, the 1900XPC is capable of standout hoisting power when encountering extremely heavy digging. The result is smooth, rapid passage of the dipper through the bank for increased fill factor without stalling. With a nominal payload of 18 mt (20 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 10.7 m3 (14 yd3), the 1900XPC is well suited for mines with trucks at the lower end of the payload scale.

109 mt (120 st) [6]  136 mt (150 st) [8]  154 mt (170 st) [9]  181 mt (200 st) [10] 

Table 1. Recommended 1900XPC truck pairings and loading passes


The 2300XPC is designed to promote the high-production loading of haul trucks in an array of sizes. This proven series of shovels can be found digging in coal, copper, iron ore and gold mines around the world. With a nominal payload of 45.4 mt (50 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 20.2-27.8 m3 (26.7-36.7 yd3), the 2300XPC is a standout choice for tough operating environments, such as those found in iron ore mines.

109 mt (120 st) [2]  136 mt (150 st) [3]  154 mt (170 st) [3] 
181 mt (200 st) [4] 218 mt (240 st) [5] 300 mt (330 st) [7]

Table 2. Recommended 2300XPC truck pairings and loading passes


The 2800XPC, one of the industry’s best-selling shovel models in its class, provides standout durability and versatility for mines with high production loading needs. An all-around workhorse, this shovel can accommodate trucks from the smallest to the largest, and everything in-between. With a nominal payload of 59 mt (65 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 29.2-36.6 m3 (38.1-47.9 yd3), the 2800XPC shovel will work best in a wide range of mines including those with demanding conditions.  

109 mt (120 st) [2] 136 mt (150 st) [2] 154 mt (170 st) [3] 181 mt (200 st) [3]
218 mt (240 st) [4] 300 mt (330 st) [5] 360 mt (400 st) [6]  

Table 3. Recommended 2800XPC truck pairings and loading passes


Introduced in 1990, the 4100-series shovels promote reliability and standout productivity. With a nominal payload of 81.6 mt (90 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 47.4-52.5 m3 (62.0-68.6 yd3), the 4100C is well-matched with mines that have high production loading requirements for trucks in the mid- to ultra-class range. 

181 mt (200 st) [2] 218 mt (240 st) [3] 300 mt (330 st) [4] 360 mt (400 st) [5]

Table 4. Recommended 4100C truck pairings and loading passes

4100C Boss electric rope shovel


4100XPC AC-90

This shovel offers all the benefits of the 4100C (described above) along with extremely high dig forces, given the dipper size, to help this machine achieve premium production capability within its class. With a nominal payload of 81.6 mt (90 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 47.4-52.5 m3 (62.0-68.6 yd3), this shovel will best accommodate mines that are currently operating 218 mt (240 st) trucks, but which also plan to upgrade the haulage fleet to the ultra-class (360 mt) level.

181 mt (200 st) [2] 218 mt (240 st) [3] 300 mt (330 st) [4] 360 mt (400 st) [5]

Table 5. Recommended 4100XPC AC-90 truck pairings and loading passes

4100C BOSS

With its 3505 mm (138 in) wide crawler shoes, the 4100C BOSS is specifically designed for operations that require low ground bearing pressure and high digging forces. With a nominal payload of 90.7 mt (100 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 48.4 m3 (63 yd3), the 4100C BOSS is most effective when paired with trucks that have high-capacity payloads. 

218 mt (240 st) [2] 300 mt (330 st) [4] 360 mt (400 st) [4]

Table 6. Recommended 4100C BOSS truck pairings and loading passes


The ultra-class 4100XPC is built for high-production mines around the world. With a nominal payload of 108.9 mt (120 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 58.3-67.6 m3 (74.4-88.4 yd3), this shovel is an ideal match for mines running trucks with high-capacity payloads. The 4100XPC is also capable of in-pit crushing and conveying support. 

218 mt (240 st) [2] 300 mt (330 st) [4] 360 mt (400 st) [4]

Table 7. Recommended 4100XPC truck pairings and loading passes


The 4800XPC — the newest and largest addition to the electric rope shovel lineup — features Adaptive Control technology, which can increase shovel digging power without sacrificing equipment life. With a nominal payload of 122.5 mt (135 st) and a nominal dipper capacity of 72.5-77.6 m3 (92.7-99.1 yd3), the 4800XPC is specifically designed for three-pass loading of 363 mt (400 st) ultra-class haul trucks. 

360 mt (400 st) [3]

Table 8. Recommended 4800XPC truck pairing and loading passes

4800XPC electric rope shovel 

How do you know you made the right choice?

You took your family on a week-long camping trip and had cargo room to spare. You made the round trip to the office for more than two weeks without a single stop at the gas station. The wind ruffled your hair as you cruised country backroads with the top down…

Or —

Your payload targets are routinely on the mark. Your load cycle times are consistently faster. Your environmental results are in the green…

When you’re faced with making the decisions that matter most, don’t go it alone. Learn how Komatsu can help: komatsu.com/products/electric-rope-shovels/.