New truck bed profile benefits mining industry

Paul Boughton
A new truck bed profile in high strength abrasion-resistant steel has created a truck body for mine transports with a substantially longer service life than previously. Improved rigidity, more even weight distribution, and higher wear resistance make the bed last longer. The choice of steel has also reduced the vehicle weight. The truck body is the creation of South African company Van Reenen Steel Ltd, which has been nominated for the Swedish Steel Prize for its solution.

Van Reenen Steel designs and builds equipment for loading and transports used in large open-pit mines worldwide. The company's truck body uses steel plate with high wear resistance and strength.

“These vehicles are loaded with materials that cause extremely high wear and tear,” says John van Reenen, founder and CEO of Van Reenen Steel. “Moreover, each vehicle has to handle tremendous loads. With high strength steels, the bed lasts substantially longer.”

The choice of steel and the new, proprietary truck bed profile have enabled the company to reduce the weight of the truck bodies by eight tons, while cutting fuel consumption by ten percent.  In purely monetary terms, the new truck bed is expected to save almost SEK 40,000 in operating expense per month and vehicle. Some mines in China have over 200 trucks and can achieve huge savings.

“The steel we chose can really handle the wear and tear,” says John. “We measure the wear on a regular basis and the assessment is that the new truck beds will last for at least 30,000 hours before requiring renovation.”

Truck bodies typically require an initial review after 10,000 hours and then a thorough renovation after 12,000 to 16,000 hours. One of the new truck bodies has now been in operation for more than 18,000 hours without any maintenance repairs.

“In the long run our truck bodies could quite possibly have the same service life as the truck chassis, which is about 12 years,” says John.

The new design with a ridge down the middle of the bed also facilitates tipping. The rock slides off in a steady stream, instead of releasing all at once. Tipping is faster and the bed is emptied at a relatively low angle. Van Reenen’s new design is based on material choices, but uses a mix of high-strength steels with different hardnesses and durability. The truck bed floor and sides are built of abrasion-resistant steel. The side bars, under body, and protective screen are made of advanced high strength construction steel.

Van Reenen’s truck bodies are built with 30 and 40 mm Hardox 400 in the bottom. The rounded corners have 16 mm Hardox 450 in the front and 30 mm Hardox 500 in the rear. The side plates are made of 12 mm Hardox 450. All structural parts are made of Weldox 700 (10/12/166 mm). The cab cover is made of 8 and 12 mm Weldox 700.    
SSAB is a leading producer of high strength steels. SSAB offers products, developed in close cooperation with customers in order to create a stronger, lighter, and more sustainable world.


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