The next generation – Liebherr’s R 9600
An interview with Liebherr Mining's Michel Runser, Head of Product Management Excavator; Otmar Wehrle, Sales Director; and George Barturen, Senior Product Manager Excavator
In March 2021, Liebherr made one of its most significant mining equipment launches in recent years with the introduction of the R 9600 hydraulic mining excavator. The machine is a major development for a number of reasons – not least it is the next generation of the very important 600 t excavator size class, particularly in Australia and Indonesia; and replaces the very successful R 996B. Its importance is exemplified by the two launch customers, BHP and Thiess, among the largest mining companies and mining contractors in the world, respectively.
Customer input has played an important and pivotal role in the development of this new machine. Engineering, sales and marketing teams have collected feedback and insights from mine site equipment operators, maintenance personnel and procurement groups as well as executive management to have a clear understanding of the challenges they meet every day. It has a brand-new cabin designed by operators for operators with new levels of visibility, reduced vibration and noise, the latest touch screen displays, advanced aircon and HEPA filtration system amongst other features. The robust undercarriage, with a fatigue resistant steel structure, is enhanced with a new hydraulic track tensioning system. The R 9600 attachment makes use of smart component design such as the patented “EVO” backhoe bucket, hydraulic cylinders, shift levers, bucket links and attachment pins. The result is an increased overall production rate without compromising component lifetime. Proprietary management systems for the engine and hydraulic system controls substantially reduce fuel consumption without compromising the overall productivity of the machine. Plus, all major parts have been designed and positioned to allow easy access and quicker maintenance.
But the machine is also helping take mining excavators into the future through its use of Liebherr Assistance Systems. These advanced on-board applications are designed to support the operators in becoming more efficient through analytics and actionable insights from live data. The Truck Loading Assistant helps the operator attain optimal productivity and efficiency. With 99% measurement accuracy, the system measures the instantaneous bucket payload and provides real-time information to the operator. The first Liebherr hydraulic excavator (HEX) Automation Product introduced to the mining industry is the Bucket Filling Assistant, an adaptive or semi-autonomous digging product available as an option.
This interview delves into the R 9600 development, market introduction and initial customer feedback with three of the top Liebherr executives involved with the project.