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MINExpo 2012: mining truck news review

World Coal,

Mining trucks formed some of the most impressive and popular displays at MINExpo 2012 with all of the major mining truck manufacturers launching new models at the show.

Caterpillar invests in Unit Rig line of trucks

Caterpillar continued its investment in the Unit Rigline of trucks with the announcement of two new trucks that integrate Caterpillar engine and AC drive technology with the Unit Rig MT Series trucks. Originally founded in 1935, the Unit Rig product line was acquired with Bucyrus International last year and the brand has since been resurrected to distinguish between the former Bucyrus machines and Caterpillar’s existing truck line.

The MT 5300D AC fits between the 793F and 795F AC in Caterpillar’s range of large mining trucks. It has a capacity of 320 short t (290 t) and includes a Cat® C175-16 engine, Cat 360T AC electric drive and vehicle information management systems with MT Series chassis, hydraulics, electrical system and suspension. The MT4400D AC combines a Cat 3516C HD engine and the Cat 240T AC electric drive systems with the existing Unit Rig MT4400. With a capacity of 240 short t (218 t), the new truck provides an AC electric drive solution to meet the needs of miners that do not require Tier 2 emissions.

The integration of Caterpillar components in the new Unit Rig trucks follows the company’s aim to standardise components and products across its mining product range, following the acquisition of Bucyrus – a process the company refers to as “Caterpillarisation”. This also extends to the adoption of the Caterpillar Production System at former Bucyrus production sites, aiming to bring the same standard of work wherever the factory is located in the world.

Both an MT5300D AC and MT4400D AC are currently operating at the company’s proving grounds in Arizona, with several of the latter destined for operation at a mine in Mexico in the near future. According to the company, the MT4400D AC will be commercially available in select regions in Q2 2013, while the MT5300D AC will be available “in the near future”.

Caterpillar launches new 777G off-highway truck

Caterpillar also introduced its new Cat 777G off-highway truck, replacing the 777F in the 100 short t (91 t) size class. The 777G comes with the company’s Tier 4 Final solution, two years earlier than required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The solution combines the Cat NOx Reduction System with diesel oxidation catalysts and requires the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel and low ash engine oil. For operations not regulated by the EPA, the 777G is available with Tier 2 or EU Stage II equivalent technology. The 777G also includes the next generation of transmission control strategies from Caterpillar: Advanced Productivity Electronic Control Strategy (APECS).

Hitachi introduces its largest rigid frame hauler

Hitachi introduced the EH5000AC-3 at the show, the company’s largest rigid frame hauler and the first of its mining trucks to feature the company’s new Advanced Hitachi AC drive system. At the core of this system is the advanced propulsion technology, which the company claims delivers a “new level of efficiency […] enhancing machine operations”. The new technology also adds pitch and skid control to the slip and slide control that are available on existing Hitachi trucks.

The EH5000AC-3 also includes a Cummins QSKTTA60-CE diesel engine that generates 2850 hp. (2125 kW) at 1900 rpm and meets EPA Tier 2 emission requirements, an all-hydraulic actuated braking system and new Hitachi system monitor that provides display information and diagnostics of all onboard systems and controls. 

Hitachi also unveiled a new camera monitoring system. Developed with Carion Co. Ltd, SkyAngle takes synthesised images from several wide-angle cameras mounted on the truck and displays them in the cab, providing a “birds-eye view” of the surrounding machinery. “The safety benefits of the SkyAngle system are tremendous,” said Ryan Blades, division manager at Hitachi Mining. “It allows operators to quickly grasp what is occurring around the machinery, such as position of other equipment, service vehicles or people.” In addition to the proximity of machinery, the operator can switch to a “zoom display” or “wide display” mode, enabling more comprehensive monitoring of a wide area.

Komatsu America Corp. announces 730E (AC)

Komatsu America Corp. announced the new 730E (AC) mining truck at the show, adding an AC drive option to the existing 730E DC drive truck. Designed to cope with increasingly remote minesites, the 730E (AC) features a bolt-together design that makes field assembly and disassembly less complicated, reducing the need for skilled technicians in the site erection process. This means the new truck can be quickly deployed to difficult projects, and then moved to the next job as necessary.

The truck is also designed for easy maintenance with a removable powertrain module and fewer hoses, bearings, pumps and wear components than other trucks, making it easier to train service technicians and complete regular maintenance tasks. It is equipped with KOMTRAX Plus®, which wirelessly sends machine operating information to a secure website. Without additional IT infrastructure, data such as operating hours, component trends, idle time, fuel consumptions and production information can be accessed online for analysis and remote diagnosis of machine issues.

The AC drive 730E (AC) is slated for limited release in 2013, followed by full production in 2014.

Liebherr’s two new trucks

Liebherr brought two new trucks to Las Vegas: the T 264 and the T 284. The T 264 marks Liebherr’s return to the 240 t class and is sized to match the R 996 B and R 9800 hydraulic excavators, as well as electric shovels and wheel loaders. The new ultra-class T 284 is the successor to the T 282 C.

Both trucks include Liebherr’s Litronic Plus AC drive system. According to the company, this system determines the optimal way to extract power from the diesel engine making more power available to accelerate the truck and climb uphill. The T 264 combines this drive system with an engine output rated up to 2700 hp. (2013 kW) and a traction control system with four wheel speed sensing that automatically adjusts the torque to rear wheels to maximise traction when cornering, accelerating from a standstill or travelling down wet or icy roads. The T 282 C supports engine options up to 4023 hp. (3000 kW) with application-specific recommendations available from Liebherr that allow the customer to choose the best option for their mine.

BELAZ to develop 450 t truck

BELAZ, the Belorussian truck maker, presented its BELAZ-75603 truck at its stand. With a capacity of 400 short t, the truck includes a 2610 hp. (3500 kW) Cummins QSK78-C diesel engine, which meets Tier 2 emissions regulations, and a Siemens MMT400 AC drive system. The BELAZ-75603 is also equipped with a number of safety features, including an active video detection system comprising cameras, radars and thermal imager. A Lincoln Centromatic automatic central lubrication system, tyre pressure monitoring system and quick refill system for fuel and engine and hydraulic oils assist with maintenance.

At the company’s press conference at the show, BELAZ general director, Petr Parkhomchyk, also announced a number of development programmes aimed at increasing its global presence and beginning with the appointment of Belaz Trucks Americas and APEG as distributors of BELAZ products in North and South America and Australia respectively. A US$ 644 million investment would increase production capacity, including the addition of a 20,000 m2 production facility for its ultra-class trucks in 2013.

In terms of product development, BELAZ has begun testing a control system for its trucks that would allow them to be directed from a central command centre. New trucks in the 170 – 190 t and 260 – 290 t classes will be released in 2014, filling the gaps in the company’s mining truck portfolio. Parkhomchyk also officially confirmed that BELAZ was aiming to develop a 450 t capacity truck that would be a step up from the existing ultra-class truck range. The truck is expected to have a 4600 hp. engine matched to a Siemens drive system.

Written by Jonathan Rowland.

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