A program is underway to further optimise and maximise haul fleet payloads at one of Western Australia’s key gold mines. New Ultima truck bodies by Austin Engineering are being trialled on a number of the mine’s 240t haulers with the potential for a fleet-wide body upgrade to continue the program started in 2014 when Austin fitted their JEC bodies and increased payload by more than 20 tonne per load.
The new Ultima body will take the payload up to 240 tonnes per load and further maximise the haul fleet’s availability and productivity.
The JEC bodies were fitted to the haul fleet after the mine identified a series of production-oriented challenges – including weight of the OEM bodies, the high cost of maintaining the bodies (and subsequent non-availability of the haul truck) and non-achievement of target payloads – impacting on performance and productivity of the load-haul fleet.
Initially eleven bodies were ordered and ultimately the mine’s load-haul fleet was retro-fitted.
The customised bodies lifted payload capacity to 230 tonne per load – an increase of around 20 tonne per load over the OEM bodies – an outcome of the weight differential between the OEM tray the JEC body. Along with increased payload the body change-out improved haul fleet availability and performance – the result of less frequent unscheduled body repairs, an outcome of the replaceable floor in the JEC body which eliminated the need for heavy, maintenance-intensive wear line plates.
Now, depending on the outcome of the trial, the long-serving JEC units are in line to be replaced by the unique Ultima bodies which, due to further advances in the payload capacity v body weight equation, will lift payload to 240t per load and still meet all OEM dump truck specifications.
The Ultima haul truck body has the potential to be a significant game-changer in haul fleet operation due to it’s advanced steel and design technologies.
A lighter-weight module design, it features improved structural integrity for superior impact and wear resistance, extended fatigue life and lower maintenance costs – all targeted to maximised payload, improved cycle efficiency and significantly reduced total cost of ownership.
A ‘V’ profile floor, designed to actively channel the load to the centre of the tray, improves machine stability and safety. The floor design also reduces dump cycle times (empty is achieved at 3/4 tipping).
Although the new tray is lighter and stronger than current OEM bodies – which translates to a 10-15% weight saving without sacrificing payload – its design reduces overall tray wear which significantly increases availability and improves productivity of the mine’s load-haul cycle.
The miner’s expectation of the Ultima body is for 240 tonnes per load and, according to the manufacturer, when matched with the appropriate loading tool – such as the 32m3 bucket on the mine’s shovel excavator – this load figure will be consistently and efficiently achieved.
Just as it did for the JEC units, Austin will maintain a condition monitoring program for the new bodies and advise the mine on any maintenance issues.
The miner is also using Austin bodies in their other operations around the world. Specialised hauler bodies have been customised to add significant value and reduce operational costs in underground mining operations.
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