Body change-outs lift haul fleet productivity

The retro-fit of custom-built Austin JEC bodies to a fleet of haul trucks has significantly lifted truck capacity and substantially reduced maintenance costs at one Hunter Valley open cut coal mine.  Designed and manufactured by Austin Engineering, the new trays have lifted average payload per truck by almost 7% – which translates to an extra 2½ truck loads per hour.

The haul trucks, commissioned in 2008, were working well within the manufacturer’s operational parameters however the bodies were wearing at an abnormal rate and requiring ongoing repair.  All the original bodies were affected by the wear rate and the wear pattern was uniform across the fleet.

A floor replacement program – to replace the floor every 15K hours – had been introduced by the mine as part of the planned maintenance program for the trucks however the weight of the body was leading to metal fatigue and cracking, requiring additional maintenance and repair.

According to a report, mechanically the trucks performed above specification but the bodies were no longer economic to repair.  The site maintenance team was concerned about the productivity losses stemming from the trucks’ unscheduled maintenance and repair requirements.

In light of these losses a search was initiated for a suitable body that would deliver a better wear result and meet unique site-based requirements and KPIs, including a target of 360bcm / hour and a significant reduction in the truck fleet’s repair and maintenance costs.

The Austin JEC body was the choice.

A lighter weight modular design but site-proven to carry payloads above equivalent OEM bodies, the new truck bodies feature a replaceable floor wear area which eliminates the need for heavy, maintenance-intensive wear liner plates, a skeleton frame that lasts for life of the truck and improved volumetric capacity with increased payload potential.  Additionally, the body shape improves dumping efficiency, which has improved cycle times.

Feedback from the mine is that the results have exceeded expectations.

The KPI bcm target is being achieved and exceeded.  After almost nine months operation, the new bodies are showing no signs of wear and no structural cracking and expectations are now for the floor to be replaced after 3-4 years operation – well past the 30-month replacement timetable for the original floor.

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