Matthew Pritchard explains the challenges, benefits and options available when working with wear resistant steels for transporting abrasive media
Press formed wear resistant steel trailer bodies offer the perfect solution to mine and quarry operators – or for any haulage application requiring wear protection. Wear resistant steel plate provides reliable protection against the most abrasive of loads due to its high quality, low level of impurities, increased impact resistance and weight savings.
For transport applications that incorporate impacts and abrasion, such as quarrying and mining, wear protection and robust performance are vital to ensuring reliability and consequently, profitability. Quality of manufacture is as equally important as the selection of material, as any fragility in the tipping body will be exasperated by abrasive material during loading and unloading, leading to potentially hazardous failure during operation.
Wear resistant steel plate itself displays a number of properties that make it an ideal selection. The high yield strength of the steel ensures it is resistant to impacts and is even strong enough to offer load bearing capabilities. As a result, thinner plate can be utilised and the trailer body itself can offer structural support, allowing drastic weight savings to be realised.
Truck bodies that are manufactured from lower grades of steel are very susceptible to damage during loading and unloading. For example, large boulders can cause dents in the body, reducing service life for end users. During manufacture, generally the rule applies that an increased number of welds translates into a negative effect on overall trailer strength. Therefore truck bodies that are manufactured from multiple welded sections can display lower performance and increased risk of failure.
The extremely low level of impurities and lean alloy content of wear resistant steel offers a solution. The increased steel quality and surface finish enabled by these properties makes these steels ideal for bending processes, with its close thickness tolerances perfect for achieving tight radii. The features of wear resistant steel ensure that the material retains all its properties even after processing, which further allows it to be totally recycled at the end of its service life while retaining its original characteristics.
With exceptional tolerance to bending, wear resistant steel also allows fabricators to slash welding work to an absolute minimum. Welding these grades of steel effectively requires multiple passes to ensure the weld reaches the strength standards of the plate itself, reducing the likelihood of failure. This however can be a time consuming process, especially if multiple welds are required. However by cold forming the steel via a press braking process, the majority of the tipping body can be fabricated without welds, increasing the structural strength properties of the trailer itself and offering reduced lead times for specifiers. Furthermore, depending on cold forming capacity and facilities, larger tipping bodies can be achieved with minimal fabrication, as plate can be pressed to the entire length of the trailer.
More traditional grades of steel have lower bending tolerances, which serves to restrict options for the shape of trailer. U-shaped bodies are generally considered the best medium in terms of strength, weight saving and capacity. However this design may not be achievable with lower grades of steel, limiting the options available to end users. The versatility of wear resistant steel however makes it suitable for tipping trailers of any size.
With a thinner plate offering the required strength and utility to maximise loads and enable improved design, efficiency of media transport is greatly increased. One of the primary concerns for operators is fuel economy – so wear resistant steel provides the multi-faceted solution to how to move more material safely without increasing fuel costs.
Barnshaws extensive in-house press braking capabilities offer a wide range of wear resistant steel products with short lead times. Utilising the latest CAD and 3D modelling software, Barnshaws can provide totally accurate interpretations of client requirements. All design and manufacture processes adhere to the highest quality levels via ISO9001 and CE certified procedure including full documentation and total process traceability.
Steels up to 80mm thick and 12 metres long can be formed, made possible due to an overall on-site press braking capability of up to 1,000 tons. These sizes can be extended for more bespoke applications depending on customer brief. Furthermore, special profiles and CNC machined elements can be incorporated in-house to allow increased adaptability without noticeably increasing lead times. With all work carried out in-house, Barnshaws can offer the exact wear resistant solution all from one dependable source.
Matthew Pritchard is Group Project Manager at Barnshaws Section Benders.