Tag Archives: Austin Engineering

Austin partners with Belarus-based equipment dealer to further Eastern Europe sales growth

Austin Engineering Ltd has appointed Engineering Company Mining Technology LLC as its partner for the Eastern Europe region, covering Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The appointment is part of Austin’s strategy to form partnerships in new jurisdictions, enabling the mining equipment solutions provider to widen its networks into new and existing global markets, resulting in further potential sales opportunities and benefits from a local partner’s customer relationships and local knowledge.

Austin says it is keen to grow the business in regions that it has traditionally not widely serviced, including Brazil and Eastern Europe.

Belarus-based Engineering Company Mining Technology LLC has developed a wealth of professional contacts within the regions it operates, with large original equipment manufacturers, mining companies and contractors, according to Austin. It has already sourced several important tender opportunities for Austin to enable users in these regions to benefit from light-weight mining attachments to enhance productivity.

The appointment follows the establishment of Austin-ETT Africa in South Africa in 2020.

On this relationship, specifically, Austin said it recently shipped 17 Austin Ultima truck bodies and two Austin High Performance buckets to Egypt through the Austin-ETT Africa, with more orders expected from active tenders across the African continent.

Austin Managing Director, Peter Forsyth, said: “We are aggressively pursuing global growth initiatives. We have a fantastic suite of products and services and we operate successfully in our traditional markets. However, we see an opportunity to grow our business and provide improved solutions to miners in new territories like Eastern Europe. In Engineering Company Mining Technology LLC, we believe we have found the right strategic partner in this region and we’re excited for our relationship to further strengthen through shared success.”

Austin Engineering lauds APAC performance as it heads for FY21 guidance hit

Austin Engineering Ltd is on track to hit its earning guidance after securing new orders for more than 100 products, including truck bodies, water tanks and buckets totalling more than A$35 million ($26 million) in revenue over the past few weeks.

This order flow supports previously announced earning guidance of an underlying net profit after tax in excess of A$9 million for its 2021 financial year (to June 30, 2021), which remains in place, Austin said.
Recent confirmed notable purchase orders received include:

  • Seventy-eight truck bodies for a large global miner in the Pilbara region of Western Australia for delivery throughout the balance of the current and next Australia financial years;
  • Twelve truck bodies for a large global mining contractor for delivery into Queensland, Australia – manufactured in Austin’s Indonesian facility;
  • Eight truck bodies for a large global gold miner in Western Australia; and
  • Three stairway access water tanks for a large global miner in Queensland, Australia – manufactured in Austin’s Indonesian facility.

Austin’s order book and committed work is now in excess of 70% of expected revenues, in line with this time in 2019, it said.

The Asia-Pacific region is outperforming expectations with key workshops in Perth and Indonesia well positioned to remain close to capacity for the balance of the financial year and beyond, the company added.

The economic environment in North and South America is less supportive than contemplated at the start of the financial year, Austin said.

“The continued backdrop of the US election and ongoing COVID-19 position in the USA appears to have impacted customer confidence in deploying capital in the short term,” it added. “Austin expects an improvement to this position, post January 2021, with annual budgets of US customers replenished on a calendar year basis, along with a completed Presidential transition. Ahead of this, Austin is currently quoting on a large volume of work in North America with decisions expected early in the third quarter (March quarter) of this financial year.”

Business conditions in South America have been similarly impacted by COVID-19, which has delayed several tender decisions for long-term supply contracts for both new equipment and repair and maintenance in Chile, Austin said. “Austin is well positioned for a number of opportunities but has seen short term softness due to the deferment of decisions,” it added.

Austin Managing Director, Peter Forsyth, said: “The Asia-Pacific region is performing exceptionally well at the moment with a strong line of sight to keeping our two large facilities in Perth and Indonesia close to capacity, and I am very happy with the level of orders and further opportunities in this region. Offsetting this strength, the Americas are currently facing challenging operating environments, and this is a product of the broader economies in those regions. I am heartened by the scale of opportunities in the US, Canada and Chile and we remain confident that the tide will begin to turn early in the New Year in these regions.”

In other innovation-focused developments, Austin said it was recently asked to provide a solution for a Canadian customer that had two key requirements when sourcing truck bodies for their operation: first, to achieve the maximum payload possible; and second, to ensure that the truck bodies would not require any maintenance before replacement.

Austin designed an ultra-light weight body that offered a substantial payload increase on previous designs with sufficient structural integrity to remain maintenance free for a shortened design life of less than two years, it said. This solution will enable the customer to achieve a lower cost per tonne and provides Austin with a more regular replacement cycle of equipment in this mine.

Austin truck bodies, buckets on their way to Egypt, Ukraine, Argentina and Dominican Republic

Austin Engineering’s growth initiative to expand the company’s presence into new markets appears to be working, with the company having recently won contracts to deliver products to Africa (Egypt), Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and South and Central America (Argentina and the Dominican Republic).

This is the first time in the company’s history that product has been supplied to these countries, it said.

The total value of orders, consisting of truck bodies and buckets, received is in excess of A$6 million ($4.3 million) and is anticipated to provide a springboard for further sales into these markets, the company said. The majority of the orders received by value have been provided from subsidiary companies of large global miners, it noted.

The order received in Egypt was made possible by the Austin ETT joint venture partnership entered into earlier this year. Prior to this partnership, Austin would not have been in the running for this opportunity, further cementing the value in collaborating with the right strategic partners in territories that Austin does not currently have a physical presence, the company said.

In line with this strategy, Austin Engineering has also recently signed a contract with a representative in South America to work with potential clients in Brazil and is in the process of finalising a representative to support Austin in Eastern Europe.

“Both of these markets have a large field population of mining trucks and shovels and could be important markets for Austin in the medium term,” the company said.

Austin Engineering Managing Director, Peter Forsyth, said: “These new territories are important to Austin’s growth aspirations, as there are a number of mining regions around the world that are still largely operating with standard OEM products for truck bodies and excavator buckets. Adoption of Austin’s innovative replacement products in these regions would enhance production metrics significantly.

“Partnerships are proving key to our success in entering these new regions and allow us to leverage our experience with our partners’ commercial contacts to achieve great outcomes for Austin, our clients and our partners.”

ADE and Austin Engineering-designed water trucks delivered to Glencore mine

Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) and Austin Engineering have come together to improve dust control and enhance safety at the Glencore-owned McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory of Australia.

ADE’s revolutionary water spray application technology and Austin’s innovative Stairway Access Tank (SAT) are now embedded in two uniquely designed CAT 789 water trucks, which have a 159,000 litre capacity, on site at the operation.

The zinc-lead-silver mine had contracted EPSA to supply and maintain mobile equipment on site and required two new water trucks to be added to its operations, ADE said. Being mindful of improving dust control and ensuring better safety for its workers, it decided to have the trucks specifically designed for the application at hand.

The exclusive design has produced what is now known as the safest water tank in the mining industry, according to ADE. It is an engineering collaboration of which ADE General Manager, Clive Gray, says has set a new bar for water truck technology.

“Controlling airborne dust on mine sites is incredibly important,” he explained. “It minimises the risks to workers, but knowing just how much water to spray has its own challenges and can also become a hazard, leading to unplanned vehicle movement and, even worse, closing a haul road for many hours.

“We have been manufacturing safety equipment for the mining industry for many years but being able to work together with Austin Engineering has allowed us to deliver an exceptional solution for the McArthur River mine. We feel confident that they will see positive outcomes in terms of improved safety and better dust control very quickly, making this a great investment.”

The water truck-based ADE Spray System is a spray control system that consistently sprays a controlled rate of water onto the ground, regardless of speed, to effectively control airborne dust, according to ADE.

Road friction measurements can be used to determine the maximum safe water coverage rate which, in turn, reduces waste and decreases the risk of an unplanned movement. During operations, the system data logs all spray activities which can be used to generate reports and assess operations.

Gray says it is the ability to both measure and monitor that makes the ADE Spray System such a game changer.

“One of the biggest issues for mine sites is knowing how much water to spray on the road,” he said. “Too much or too little have equal repercussions, with safety issues being the greatest concern.

“Mining operators can quickly and easily monitor and track all aspects of their water truck operations using our on-board data logging system, which effectively cuts costs and improves environmental factors in regards to monitoring water usage.

“By eliminating over and under watering, costs, fuel and water usage are naturally reduced, but it is the safety of the mining workers that is at the forefront of our designs.

“By developing and implementing innovative technologies into mines around Australia we limit the risks involved to mining workers, and that is something we are very proud of.”

Austin’s truck-mounted SAT system, meanwhile, includes several features to improve efficiency, operator safety and truck stability, Austin says. The most obvious external feature of the Austin water tank is a stairway from the top of the tank structure down to a large (137 cm x 259 cm) access port for easy entry and exit for personnel and maintenance equipment to the tank interior. The fill port is located behind the water dam to ensure any overflow flows away from the cab and deck to the rear of the truck, Austin says. This helps significantly improve operator safety and comfort inside the tank.

The custom designed CAT 789-based trucks began their journey in Wyoming, USA, where they were initially designed, before then being manufactured in Batam, Indonesia. The trucks were then assembled in Australia by Austin Engineering before ADE engineers installed its latest safety technology, ADE said.

The trucks were then delivered to the mine site where ADE engineers arrived to ensure all components were running as planned before the trucks started their first day of action.

WA gold mine looks for payload boost in Austin Ultima truck body trial

One of Western Australia’s key gold mines is trialling Austin Engineering’s new Ultima truck bodies on several of the operation’s 240 t haul trucks as it looks to optimise and maximise its haulage fleet payloads.

The trial has the potential to be converted into a fleet-wide body upgrade, according to Austin, continuing a program that started in 2014 when the engineering company fitted its JEC bodies and increased payload by more than 20 t/load at the operation.

The new Ultima body (pictured on a truck) will take the payload up to 240 t/load and further maximise the haul fleet’s availability and productivity, Austin said.

Going back to the previous payload increase program, 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, according to Austin.

Initially 11 bodies were ordered and ultimately the mine’s load-haul fleet was retrofitted.

The customised bodies lifted payload capacity to 230 t/load – an increase of around 20 t/load over the OEM bodies – an outcome of the weight differential between the OEM tray and 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,” Austin said.

Now, with the trial progressing, the long-serving JEC units are in line to be replaced by the Ultima bodies which, due to further advances in the payload capacity vs body weight equation, will lift payload to 240 t/load and still meet all OEM dump truck specifications, according to Austin.

“The Ultima haul truck body has the potential to be a significant gamechanger in haul fleet operation due to its advanced steel and design technologies,” Austin said. “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, according to Austin. 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, Austin said.

The miner’s expectation of the Ultima body is for 240 t/load and, according to the manufacturer, when matched with the appropriate loading tool – such as the 32 m³ 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, it said.

The miner is also using Austin bodies in other operations around the world. Specialised hauler bodies have been customised to add significant value and reduce operational costs in underground mining operations, it said.

Austin Engineering on the importance of payload matching

Austin Engineering’s David Pichanick thinks miners need to keep payload matching front and centre of their minds when looking to add to, refresh or replace their truck and shovel haulage fleet.

Why payload matching and what’s involved in matching an excavator to a truck?

According to Pichanick, Global Manager Market Development & Innovation at Brisbane-based Austin Engineering, the answers are efficiency, productivity and profit, and understanding factors such as site conditions, load and haul equipment and production targets.

Anecdotal research has revealed payload matching around achieving lowest cost per tonne is not well understood within the mining industry, according to Austin. Irrespective of the loading tool (excavator, shovel or wheel loader), the accepted goal is to get the payload consistent over time to maximise productivity and production.

Buying the right equipment package – loading tool and dump bodies – is vital and history has shown that the bigger the capital expenditure up front, the better the return on that investment, particularly around reliability and availability, Austin says.

“The loading tool comes first, followed by the dump trucks,” the company said. “And, ironically, depending on the equipment package, that could be the start of issues of reduced load and haul productivity.”

Pichanick says the most efficient bucket, excavator and truck combination currently in Australia is a Liebherr R9800 three-pass loading Komatsu 930E-5 dump trucks, fitted with Austin ‘Ultima’ bodies. Released last year, the new Ultima dump truck body has, Austin says, a unique ‘V’ profile floor that is designed to actively channel the load to the centre of the tray.

What makes this combination so efficient and consistent?

Every excavator and truck manufacturer will provide researched and validated tables and graphs that show the best truck and excavator combination, of their brand, to maximise payloads, Austin says. The problem arises when customers don’t buy the same brand of trucks as the excavator, or vice versa.

For reasons of price, contracts, preference and proven performance history, many miners will purchase an excavator from OEM ‘A’ and trucks from OEM ‘B’. And because the bodies on the trucks are not matched – as set by the manufacturer – to the loading tool, the concept of payload matching enters a grey area, productivity drops and costs around load and haul increase markedly, the company says.

This mismatching becomes apparent on site as truck OEMs look at variations in the 10/10/20 rule to maximise payloads and the direct effect the specific gravity (SG) of the product has on loads. And, although unique, these two elements have a close correlation when loads and capacities are being decided, according to Austin.

“The 10/10/20 rule has long been recognised as a reliable reference for truck payloads and recognises that variations occur in SG, fill factors and loading equipment,” the company said. “However, in an attempt to optimise payload capacity, truck OEMs are negotiating flexibility around the rule depending on reliable SG readings. Today, SG readings are coming from the digital technology available in the latest loading tools; technology that measures payload per pass and lets loading tool operators see if the SG is changing. This is a much safer system than waiting till the load is on the truck.”

Austin Engineering has a vested interest in any discussions around payload matching. The company designs and manufactures custom-designed excavator buckets and truck bodies for the mining industry but, as an independent OEM, can be objective about its recommendations around payload optimisation, it says. Austin conforms to all OEM specifications, globally.

The company has invested heavily in advanced software to match loading tools to truck bodies and, argues Pichanick, devotes a lot of time and effort to the science of payload matching and, by extension, maximising productivity and profit for the end user.

Which brings the discussion back to the Liebherr R9800 and Komatsu 930E-5 dump trucks – possibly the most efficient excavator and truck combination in Australia now.

“We were asked to provide the truck bodies,” Pichanick said. “The customer didn’t want the excavator/truck combination suggested by either supplier but purchased the equipment package they believe will maximise the return – in terms of performance, availability and reliability – over the longer term. Our bodies were custom built to fit the trucks and complement the capabilities of the excavator. The load and haul tonnages they are generating confirm the buying decision.”

From Pichanick’s point of view, this is the true proof of successful payload matching.

Austin Engineering expands into South Africa with ETT partnership

Australia-based Austin Engineering says it has signed a partnership agreement with South Africa’s ETT to market and support their combined mining-oriented product ranges throughout Africa.

The agreement, which follows around 12 months of talks, will bring together two of the southern hemisphere’s largest mining equipment design and manufacturing entities, Austin said.

Austin has more than 50 years of global experience in engineering and manufacturing equipment for the mining industry with operations in Australia, Asia, North and South America, and now South Africa. ETT, meanwhile, is a privately-owned South Africa-based company with products already distributed in more than 20 countries around the world.

Austin Engineering Managing Director, Peter Forsyth (pictured on the left), said: “We are looking forward to growing this partnership. It gives both companies a solid and reliable platform from which to offer customers throughout the continent proven world-class products backed up by world-class service.”

ETT Managing Director, Andre McDuling (pictured on the right), added: “ETT’s manufacturing and innovative record, as well as our strong presence and product supply into Africa, is one of the key reasons why this partnership was formed. We are confident that the industry is ready for a partnership like this that will provide the widest range of mining attachments and support products in the world.”

The combined product range of the new partnership will include customised dump truck bodies, water trucks, diesel lube trucks, gooseneck-equipped recovery vehicles, tyre handlers, low bed off-road trailers and excavator buckets.

Austin Engineering receives steel award plaudits for two-piece excavator bucket

Austin Engineering has placed second overall at the 2019 Swedish Steel Awards, at the same time as its two-piece excavator bucket was awarded the Peoples’ Choice Award at the event.

First awarded in 1999, the Swedish Steel Prize is an international award for companies, institutions and individuals in the steel industry. The prize, owned by SSAB, has for 20 years been recognising and rewarding those that have developed a method or product that fully utilises the potential of high-strength, wear resistant and other premium steels.

An independent professional jury assesses the entries by considering their applicability, profitability, environmental benefits, performance, innovation and creativity.

The jury said: “Austin Engineering has taken a significant leap in innovation for the design and maintenance of excavator buckets. With a modular approach, they have developed an innovative concept that combines low weight with optimal use of the complete product before scrapping. The solution utilises the characteristics of high strength and wear resistant steel and has extremely low barriers for implementation.”

Designed and manufactured in Australia by Austin Engineering, the two-piece bucket features a reusable upper section and a consumable lower segment designed for quick and safe bucket change-outs during scheduled maintenance intervals.

The reusable upper section has been designed to maintain overall structural integrity of the assembly for a predetermined service life through multiple change-outs of the lower, consumable, section.

According to the company, typical baseline service life for the upper section service will be in the vicinity of 30,000 hours; around four to five years based on industry expectations of conventional one-piece buckets of similar size and capacities.

Along with Austin Engineering, the finalists in this year’s award included Kampang from Brazil for its feeder modules for axial grain harvesters used in soybean farming, Roofit Solar from Estonia for its metal solar roofs that produce electricity and the US-based Shape Corp (overall winner) for its robust manufacturing process for 3D shaped tubes.

Steel award entries must be a method or product that fully uses the characteristics of premium steel within SSAB’s product range, but does not necessarily need to be steel produced by SSAB, according to the organisers.

Austin Engineering commissions Australia’s ‘biggest water tank’

Austin Engineering says it has commissioned the first of its high-performance truck-mounted water tanks which, the manufacturer claims, is the biggest water truck in Australia.

The result of a significant re-design process, the new Stairway Access Tank (SAT) includes several features to improve efficiency, operator safety and truck stability, Austin said.

Custom-built to suit most haul trucks, the new SAT starts at 14,000 litre capacity and includes all spray equipment along with the company’s “Water Wise” system.

The first tank off the production line has a 198,000 litre capacity fitted to a CAT 793C haul truck and is claimed to be the biggest water truck in Australia.

The most obvious external feature of the Austin water tank is a stairway from the top of the tank structure down to a large (137 cm x 259 cm) access port for easy entry and exit for personnel and maintenance equipment to the tank interior. The fill port is located behind the water dam to ensure any overflow flows away from the cab and deck to the rear of the truck, Austin says.

Inside the tank, the design of the new Austin SAT directly tackles the safety concerns surrounding the confined workspace in mine site water tanks, addressed by a recently-completed 10-year study by the US-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Part of the NIOSH study looked at operator access to the tank and ease of movement once inside, according to Austin.

“Traditional access inside the tank has been through a series of semi-circular portholes in the baffle system which, although adequate, slowed access and movement, especially in the case of an emergency,” the company said. “The diameter of the portholes – generally 600 mm wide x 740 mm high – also restricted operator manoeuvrability and the physical size of any equipment that could be used inside the tanks.”

The new SAT from Austin features a series of oversize rectangular access ports – 630 mm wide x 1,550 mm high – throughout a unique baffle system to replace the traditional portholes and significantly improve operator safety and comfort inside the tank, it said.

The engineered corrugated baffle system, which interlocks the baffles for increased structural integrity, controls both transverse and longitudinal water surging and reduces the overturning forces by 19% to improve truck stability, according to Austin. Maximum overturning force is delayed by about one second – providing an increase in the time to react to any side force, it explained.

The design of the corrugated baffle system also allows for a lighter-weight tank, which translates to additional payload and lower operating costs. Additionally, the alignment of the oversize access ports, combined with the horizontal baffle system, gives unobstructed movement within the tank, Austin claims.

To improve the worksite environment inside the tank during maintenance periods an air exchange system has also been developed for the tank.

Austin Westech on 50 years of mining truck body innovation and records

Westech has been designing and manufacturing customised truck bodies for more than 50 years and Austin Engineering Managing Director, Peter Forsyth, has recently reflected on building specialty OEM equipment for the mining industry worldwide.

“One would have to wonder if the guys at Westech knew what they were getting into when they expanded into building off-road mining truck bodies in 1969,” he said. “What were their plans and what were the goals because today, some 50 years on, Westech bodies are still leading the world in design, construction and performance.”

Speaking at a recent function to mark the company’s half-century milestone, Forsyth said since the first bodies rolled off the production line in 1969 the business had established and maintained a strong reputation for innovation and performance.

In June 2011, at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in the US a body designed and manufactured by Westech for a Liebherr T282C Ultra Class haul truck set a record at 405.78 t, or a volume of 470.35 cu.m. The Guinness World Book of Records officially recognised the record on July 19, 2011.

“Then came the patented design of the Flow Control Body® with its revolutionary floor design to control the flow of material during dumping as well as improve the overall stability of the truck,” Forsyth said. “The Flow Control Body remains one of the industry’s most significant design and safety features for mining truck bodies.”

The company has shipped around 12,000 bodies since 1969. It provides bodies for all the major OEM truck builders, including Caterpillar, Komatsu, Liebherr, Hitachi plus underground mining equipment OEMs including Sandvik and Atlas Copco.

In 2007, Westech was acquired by Brisbane-based Austin Engineering in a move that, the company says, gave Westech additional manufacturing capabilities (through the buyer’s plants in Australia and South America) and also helped both companies to increase their overall market reach. (Westech also had a licensee agreement with Austin Engineering prior to the acquisition.)

“The acquisition was a good fit with us and complemented our own growing range of engineered mining industry equipment,” said Forsyth. “It also expanded our technical and design capabilities and gave us direct access to the extensive experience bank Westech had built up since delivering its first body in 1969.”

Today, Austin Engineering says it is the world’s largest non-OEM designer and manufacturer of mining dump truck bodies. The company also designs and manufacturers excavator and wheel loader buckets, water tanks, tyre handlers and other specialised mining machinery attachments for the global mining sector.

Today, at International Mining Events’ inaugural Truck & Shovel 2019 conference, in Singapore, Austin Engineering’s Global Manager Market Development & Innovation, David Pichanick, will present ‘Truck dump bodies: Thinking outside the box’