Haul pass ... spotting primary trends

Paul Boughton

Highlights from the past few months of the load & haul sector showcase the progress being made in machines, monitoring and more. By Louise Smyth

When it comes to load, haul dump (LHD) machines, the primary trend – as we see throughout the entire mining industry  – is in enabling cost-effective operations. In its latest effort to respond to this trend, Sandvik has launched an electric LHD for narrow-vein mining.

Sandvik LH204E is a 4.5-ton electric loader designed for narrow-vein underground mining applications. This electric version follows a recently introduced diesel-powered LH204. It has been designed to be a cost-effective solution that offers high productivity and low cost per moved ton.

The company describes the LH204E as “a highly manoeuvrable machine that operates in confined narrow vein mining applications, and can handle higher payloads than similar sized units in the market. The 4.5-metric-ton capacity electric LHD offers a highly productive solution with zero underground emissions.”

When asked how mines can benefit from using electric LHDs rather than their diesel-powered counterparts, Sandvik’s Jarkko Koskinen has a comprehensive answer to hand. “ Generally speaking, mines benefit in a number of ways,” he begins. “Firstly, via reduced ventilation costs (no harmful diesel exhaust emissions to ventilate). Next is through the cost of energy: globally many locations enjoy lesser costs of energy in electricity versus diesel fuel. There is also no need for logistics (diesel transport to mine and within mine), which further saves money. On a technical level, EHS mean no harmful diesel exhaust emissions, and less local heat emitted from an electric LHD versus a diesel one.”

Commenting on the merits of this specific machine, Qin Zhong, Sandvik’s L&H product support manager for China, says, “The improved powertrain and powerful, responsive electric motor enables better penetration rates and efficient loading of the 2m3 bucket.”

The vehicle control and management (VCM) system monitors all loader parameters, including tramming speeds, operating temperatures and pressures, to expedite troubleshooting and minimise unscheduled downtime.

An operator’s compartment in the rear frame and an optional fully enclosed cabin, which Sandvik says is unique for this size class, enhance operator safety and comfort, which means improved performance and productivity.

Steering the right course

The latest announcement from another industry giant, Cat, relates to its new series of loaders (skid steer, multi-terrain and compact track). These feature standard advanced display, enhanced operating capacities, reduced emissions and a sealed engine compartment.

The new Cat 272D2 Skid Steer Loader, 297D2 Multi-Terrain Loader, and 299D2 Compact Track Loader - along with their more powerful XHP counterparts - build on the engineering advances in their D Series predecessors. Now standard on all six D2 Series models is the Caterpillar heads-up Advanced Display, and all feature a new engine-compartment sealing system for enhanced airflow debris control. Non-XHP models have increases in rated operating capacity (ROC), and XHP models now maintain their excellent ROC numbers without external counterweights. All models have a vertical-lift loader linkage and use a Cat C3.8 engine meeting U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage IV emissions standards.

Cat is making much of the fact that as well as providing a theft deterrent system, the Advanced Display accommodates up to 50 operator security codes that allow each operator to adjust the machine to suit individual operating preferences. A full-colour, five inch LCD monitor enables on-screen adjustment of implement response, hydrostatic drive response, creep control speed, ride control activation speed, language preference and gauge layout selection. Electronic instrumentation includes fuel level, DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) level, hydraulic and engine coolant temperatures, and tachometer. An available rearview camera, standard on the XHP models, displays high-resolution images on the monitor to comfortably increase the operator’s field of vision for increasing job-site awareness.

With increases in Rated Operating Capacity of up to 8%, Cat says that the D2 Series models provide excellent lifting performance for heavy loads and/or handling larger hydro-mechanical work tools. The 272D2, 297D2 and 299D2 models deliver ROC ratings of 3,400, 4,700, and 4,600 pounds, respectively, at 50% of tipping capacity. Ratings for the 272D2 XHP, 297D2 XHP, and 299D2 XHP are 3,650, 4800, and 4,725 pounds, respectively, at the 50% rating. For applications that require additional lifting capacity, all six models can be equipped with optional bolt-on external counterweights.

Dump trucks head to coal mine

In hauling business news, Terex Trucks has recently announced that its existing customer, Rudnik Uglja Gracanica, has purchased two additional TA300 articulated dump trucks for hauling coal at the company’s Gracanica mine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing the total of Terex Trucks in the fleet to nine.

The 28 tonne capacity TA300s will work two shifts per day hauling coal from the pit to the storage yard. The coal is then transported to a power plant by on-highway trucks or rail. Situated 9km northwest of Bugojno, the Gracanica mine measures 2,000m by 800m.

“These new Terex Trucks are a welcome addition to our truck fleet, joining seven TA30s already working on the mine,” said Eldin Mustajbegovic, head of mechanical maintenance, at Rudnik Uglja Gracanica. “The trucks are fuel-efficient and have proven to be extremely productive, so we’re looking forward to putting the new TA300s to work."

The TA300 is equipped with independent front suspension to enable excellent traction control, making it ideal for the rocky Bosnian and Herzegovina coal mine. The articulated dump truck has a maximum payload of 28 tonnes and 370hp engine power. The TA300s are being supplied by Terex Trucks dealer Lager.

Rigid revolution

In August, Hitachi Construction Machinery – Americas announced the launch of two rigid-frame haul truck models designed for use in large-scale mining operations. These are the EH3500AC-3 (nominal payload with standard equipment of 200 tons, target gross machine operating weight of 709,888 lb.), and the EH4000AC-3 (nominal payload with standard equipment of 243.6 tons, target gross machine operating weight of 846,575 lb.).

The two rigid-frame haul truck models are equipped with an advanced AC-drive system that was developed with Hitachi Group technologies employed in conventional models. Improvements include various sensors that provide information on drive conditions. The result is the Hitachi Drive Control System that reduces tyre slippage on acceleration and tyre lock-up during braking, and prevents chassis oscillation in a front-rear direction and tire skid while steering.

In addition, to satisfy the request of customers worldwide, Hitachi is giving customers outside of North America a choice between engines from two different companies. This option is also available for the EH5000AC-3 rigid haul truck, which was launched in February 2013.

The release of these two rigid-frame haul truck models completes the lineup for the EH AC-3 series of haulers equipped with an AC-drive system. Along with the company’s ultra-large hydraulic excavators, for which Hitachi boasts a high market share, Hitachi plans to supply these rigid haul truck models to contribute to the improvement of productivity at mines around the world.

Motion activated

Finally, in news on the monitoring side of load & haul operations, Motion Metrics recently announced a partnership with Komatsu Brazil. Through this arrangement Komatsu Brazil will offer Motion Metrics systems for all Komatsu equipment in addition to all shovel, excavator and loader models to support mines throughout Brazil. 

“With this partnership, we are excited to see our customers in Brazil benefit from the advanced monitoring solutions created by Motion Metrics,” says Gustavo Fonseca, Komatsu Brazil Commercial Manager.