Getting the material out of the quarry, mine, tunnel or construction site has seen major developments in hauling equipment in recent years. Whether underground, in the middle of a city or a huge open cast mine, a vast array of solutions are now hard at work across the globe, with many of them being developed by U.S.-based corporations. These range from trucks on railroad tracks to wheel based haulers for roads, or, as the examples show in this article, even some specialist systems that are proving to be ideal for construction companies, whatever their application.
Some of the most interesting developments in haul trucks have been developed with an underground focus. That does not preclude their use above ground, but the sheer logistics of many underground projects has meant that it is often easier, more cost effective and efficient to install semi-permanent infrastructures for transporting and excavating materials, workers and equipment. As the companies and examples below show, the solutions provided have proved to have a beneficial effect on the projects they have been involved in.
Mining Equipment specializes in supplying rail-mounted equipment for underground operations, with a product range that includes diesel, battery and trolley locomotives. In addition to locomotives, the Colorado-headquartered company also has a large inventory of rolling stock such as muck cars, flat cars and mantrips, as well as offering a bespoke development service to meet specific customer requirements. The company has recently launched a complete line of diesel locomotives, with most of these featuring a hydrodynamic three-speed transmission with lock-up torque converter and engine exhaust brake, as well as integrated wet disk brakes. These items combined together provide wear-free braking.
The 25t locomotives have been purpose developed for underground or surface mining, tunneling or general construction projects. The unit may be customized to suit and be built with various engines and drive components, all of which effect speed, power and tractive effort. Haulage capacity is contingent on locomotive weight, horsepower and adhesion factors such as track conditions.
An example of Mining Equipment’s work has recently been in Atlanta, GA, where Atkinson Construction has been involved in constructing a tunnel for a water storage project. Commissioned by the city of Atlanta, Mining Equipment has supplied all the rolling stock, locomotives, rollover dump and California switches, with muck removal being undertaken with muck cars and a rollover system. The relatively small diameter of the tunnel in the project, coupled with the grade and the use of muck haulage, made sizing and balancing all aspects of the equipment a particular challenge.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology
Sandvik is not well known as a manufacturer of haul equipment, but has an extensive line of underground trucks. These offer high capacity in a compact form, and are highly maneuverable with a small turning radius and operate at high speed. Features include FEA-optimized frames and dump boxes, powerful diesel engines, advanced drive train technology, four-wheel drive and ergonomic controls.
The latest development is the new i-Series trucks which feature Sandvik’s intelligent control system that acts as the software backbone for the intelligent equipment, allowing the building of multiple smart solutions, such as Integrated Weighing System (IWS) and AutoMine™ Trucking, to improve performance. Of the new range, the TH663i truck features a wide range of intelligence integrated technology, such as intelligent control system, integrated jacking system, onboard weighing system, OptiMineTM data collection and automation readiness as standard. All Sandvik underground mining trucks are designed to operate fully loaded and at high speeds on long spiral haulage ways with up to 20 percent gradients.
The latest developments in hauling equipment have not been limited to underground equipment. On the contrary; recently most of the major manufacturers have launched some exciting developments that are designed to work on virtually any construction application encountered.
Volvo CE has recently launched its biggest articulated hauler, the A60H. The 60t class articulated hauler combines continuous production with reliability thanks to its robust design and easy service access. It has been designed for heavy hauling in severe off road operations, including quarries, opencast mines and large earth moving operations, with the A60H’s long service life, quality, reliability and durability making hauling easier and more efficient.
With the A60H, valuable data is on hand to improve onsite efficiency and save costs. With intelligent systems such as MATRIS™, CareTrack™ and an on board weighing system, users can optimize production and minimize operational costs. Volvo has used the latest technology to monitor machine operation and status, advising on the best ways to increase profitability. The on board weighing system guarantees the optimal load every cycle which maximizes production, boosts fuel efficiency and reduces machine wear in all site conditions and operations.
Another recent development from Volvo is its G-Series haulers, which have been designed to provide continuous production and reliability. With payloads ranging from 25t to 45t, the new G-Series comprises of the A25G, A30G, A35G and A40G, as well as the 45t class A45G and A45G FS. Powered by the Volvo Tier 4 Final / Stage IV engines, which range from 234 kW (318 hp) on the A25G to 347 kW (445 hp) on the A45G, the G-Series delivers excellent fuel efficiency without compromising on power or performance, providing significant improvements in fuel economy compared to the models they replace.
Three new Cat® articulated trucks—730, 730 EJ (Ejector) and 735—have been extensively redesigned and are aimed at enhancing the field proven features and performance of its C-Series predecessors (730C2, 730C2 EJ and 735C). They include new operator stations with innovative new controls, transmission protection features, a new hoist assist system, an advanced traction control system, a new stability assist system and a fuel saving ECO operating mode.
In addition, the design of the 730 and 730 EJ is enhanced with automatic retarder control and a hill start feature. The 735 retains these features from its C-Series predecessor and further incorporates significant design refinements that include a new Cat® C13 ACERT™ engine, Cat CX31 transmission (also on the 730 and 730 EJ) and structural and dimensional modifications that reduce empty weight by 22 percent, while retaining the productivity of the outgoing 735C. These features combine for an up to 18 percent gain in fuel efficiency.
The new 735 replaces the Cat C15 ACERT™ engine, rated at 441 net horsepower, with the Cat C13 ACERT™, rated at 428 net horsepower. The new 730 and 730 EJ continue to use the Cat C13 ACERT™ engine, rated at 367 net horsepower. The C13 engine used in all the new trucks is available in configurations to meet emissions standards of both highly regulated and lesser-regulated countries. The 730 EJ is designed to eject loads while traveling, providing positive dumping of the entire load, and also to work in areas with overhead restrictions and soft underfoot conditions with improved machine stability.
Offering a 45.2t-rated payload capacity, the new Cat 745 articulated truck features a new cab design, which has been completely re-engineered from the inside out using global operator feedback to advance comfort and ease of operation. The new external “spinal” ROPS structure boasts bonded rear quarter glass that eliminates the structural pillar to give the operator a dramatic improvement in visibility from the cab. Upon cab entry, the new “wake up” feature initiates machine displays as soon as the door is opened, while the lighter and stronger cab door offers shut assist for improved sealing against dust infiltration. The quieter cab design lowers inside sound levels by 5dB (A) at the operator’s ear.
In direct response to customer feedback, the lower portion of the front fenders is now made of a durable and flexible rubber sheet material. This change will help decrease maintenance and repair costs on sites where mud packing around the fenders could damage the lower section. Cat® Connect payload technology for the new 745 truck allows customers to optimize operations and improve jobsite efficiency, while the measurement system gives operators the ability to measure and deliver accurate payload.
The latest generation of Bell ADTs has been engineered to provide the very best in power and drivetrain technology and efficient, innovative design. Bell’s current offering comprises of two ranges: the proven D-series (currently in its Mark VII version) and the brand new E-series, said to be the next evolution in Bell design.
The most recent example of how Bell Equipment identifies customer needs and translates them into competitive solutions is the ADT specialist’s new range of articulated 4×4 trucks. Following the successful introduction of the 60-ton Bell B60E two years ago, 2018 has seen the launch of the B30E 4×4. Sharing the proven base of the company’s conventional three-axle 30t range, the new two-axle truck offers important advantages for operations that do not require extreme 6×6 off road capability.
“The Bell B30E 4×4 is an alternative for smaller quarries or other operations within the aggregates sectors. Without the typical tire scuff that a three axle ADT experiences when operating on harder surfaces, the articulated two axle concept guarantees substantial savings in tire wear,” explains Tristan du Pisanie, ADT product marketing manager. “Not only does the tire scuff compromise tire life, it also damages the road surface. Therefore, the two axle truck reduces site maintenance requirements.”
Thanks to the 4×4 drivetrain, the Bell B30E can safely operate in more challenging conditions than conventional rigid quarry trucks, tippers or tractor trailer combinations. “Our 4×4 customers do not have to stop operations due to rain,” says du Pisanie, “and many of these B60 or B30 owners have been able to extend their normal operating season or even use their 4×4 ADT for stripping of overburden.”
The positive customer feedback on both the B60E and the B30E 4×4 has led Bell Equipment to present the B45E 4×4 as an addition to its 4×4 ADT range. The two-axle version of the B45E with twin tires on the rear axle delivers all advantages of the 4×4 concept for payloads over 40t. “It is envisaged that this will become an alternative to 4×2 rigid trucks in medium to large quarries or mining operations,” du Pisanie said.
Doosan Infracore North America, LLC has introduced a series of enhancements to its DA30-5 ADT. The new version of the DA30-5 includes numerous updates to the truck’s performance, operator comfort and controllability of the machine, ease of maintenance and fuel efficiency. A significant development is the 30t class DA30-5 ADT, with new front suspension, which has been updated to a hydro gas, self-leveling system to provide superior performance and greater shock absorption. Combined, these suspension system features allow for better driving comfort, especially when the truck is being driven while empty on a construction jobsite or mining operation.
The cab interior of the DA30-5 has been redesigned to provide better ergonomics and more operator comfort, taking into consideration input from current owners and operators. There are more than a dozen new features inside the completely new layout of the DA30-5 cab to enhance the driving experience. These include a new dashboard with a modified shape and a soft touch automotive material, making it easier to clean, and a high-quality finish and appearance. Updates to the truck’s vehicle control unit (VCU) include more robust hardware, better processors, more input channels for customized functions or further technology developments and high quality automotive style connectors.
The truck’s new monitor in the cab has bigger indicators for easier reading. User-friendly graphics and icons can be controlled by buttons on the display panel and the panel now has capability to display multiple cameras views for increased visibility around the ADT. Operators can toggle through the menu to access additional information such as machine status, service and settings.
Additional new features of the DA30-5 cab include new air vents for the floor to improve airflow and circulation, a USB charger, a new bracket on the right hand side for a CB radio, electrically adjustable mirrors and a new brake pedal. A bigger space between pedals, more convenient compartment storage and a 12V/24V power socket have also been added.
Powered by a 370 net horsepower diesel engine, the updated DA30-5 meets Tier 4 emission regulations through the use of both SCR and EGR technologies, with an electronic brake system, one of four brake systems on the trucks. Additionally, Doosan Tier 4-compliant ADTs do not need a DPF to meet the emission regulations in North America.
Komatsu’s dump trucks have been designed to transport heavy loads quickly, easily and cost effectively, being available in a rigid or articulated version. They provide driving safety, even at high speeds, with the transmission system and chassis, axles and suspension being designed to handle grueling daily stresses for maximum reliability. Recently the company has introduced the new HD325-8 and HD405-8 off highway trucks. Equipped with an EPA Tier 4 Final certified engine, these latest additions to the rigid frame truck family feature increased horsepower and a new traction control system (KTCS) to achieve improved productivity. These models have payload capacities of 40.3 U.S. (short)/36.5 metric tons and 44.1 U.S. (short)/40 metric tons, respectively.
The new trucks’ Komatsu SAA6D140E-7 engines have increased to a net 514 horsepower (383 kW). Fuel consumption is down for the HD325-8 by as much as 9 percent, and by as much as 6 percent for the HD405-8, compared to predecessors. Also, access is better, with sloped stairs and handrails in front to replace the previous ladder configuration. Other new standard features for both truck models include a quiet 78 dB(A) cab, a seven-inch LCD color monitor, a dedicated rearview monitor, a fast fill fuel system and a premium heated and ventilated operator’s seat with air suspension.
“The updated truck models retained their industry leading steering performance and retarding capacity for maximum production,” said Rob McMahon, product marketing manager for Komatsu America. “The addition of Komatsu’s latest fuel saving technologies and the all-new cab lower the cost to maximize production and significantly enhance operator comfort at the same time.”
A loyal Komatsu customer in the U.S. is Southland Construction, a “horizontal and vertical contractor” providing various services in Apopka, FL. A recent project saw Southland undertake a two year, $80 million contract for the Central Florida Expressway Authority, which will see Southland move 2.7 million yards of dirt and complete construction of eight bridges, including the largest and most complex the company has ever built.
Southland took measures to help improve its dirt moving operation for the contract. The first step was renting a fleet of 14 Komatsu HM400 articulated trucks from Linder Industrial Machinery Company. “We needed those trucks for this project because it’s so big, and the trucks have been awesome,” explained vice president/general manager Joe Raucci. “They can really move with a full load on them. We actually had to tell our operators to lighten their loads for maximum fuel efficiency. Our sweet spot is 44,000 pounds and the trucks can just fly.”
Specialist hauling systems
Although not strictly haulage trucks and equipment, there have been a series of developments from specialist manufacturers of equipment. These are concerned with getting excavated material from the job site in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
Conquip Engineering Group
Another development designed to make haulage easier and more efficient is the BulkX System developed by Britain’s Conquip Engineering Group. This is a revolutionary construction excavation system, with its development coming about when several contractors working on the award winning London, England, infrastructure project, Crossrail, approached the company. They required a system that would enable them to excavate quickly and efficiently from the various shaft locations all over inner city London. The situation was complicated, as the metropolis of London has been occupied for over two millennia, and over that time has acquired a huge network of subterranean structures, some up to 80m deep.
The complexity of existing tunnels meant that stations and shafts had to be excavated in specific locations. The shaft openings for the tunnels were awkwardly placed, which caused friction between the construction site and the inhabitants and businesses in the surrounding area. Contractors and their partner companies constantly faced opposition from local businesses and residents about traffic and noise pollution. By working with the contractors, Conquip began to understand the multi-faceted challenges they faced. Through an analysis of the site methodology and processes, a system was developed which meant that contractors could excavate and transfer tunnel waste directly into waste management vehicles.
This BulkX system has proved to be not only more efficient than traditional methods, but it has also reduced the level of noise and dust pollution. This is due to the fact that fewer machines were required on site and excavation waste didn’t have to be stockpiled. As a result, excavation at Crossrail became more flexible and had less of an impact on the local community and environment.
Where there is a need, there is a way
As the developments and cases outlined show, material haulage is now about much more than trucks. Equipment used can be wheeled, fixed, articulated or in the case of the last two manufacturers, highly specialized. In effect, manufacturers are listening to their customers to produce solutions to match requirements based on the highly diverse nature of customer operations.