Tag Archives: mining trucks

Interact Analysis forecasts slow haul truck electrification uptake in open-pit mining

The electric revolution looks to be well and truly underway in the mining space, with underground mines of all sizes planning, trialling, or ordering various battery-electric machines to help them decarbonise their operations. Yet, the latest report on the off-highway vehicle market from Interact Analysis has indicated the transition above ground will take a little longer than many anticipated.

Homing in specifically on the 85-t-plus global hauler/dump truck market – broadly applicable to the medium-large construction space and the small-large open-pit mining sector – the market research firm laid out estimates for the annual number of new truck deliveries to 2029.

The surprising aspect of this research was the continued dominance of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle deliveries over this time frame.

The team at Interact Analysis expected the adoption rate/market share to go from 100% in 2020 – when 1,330 new vehicles were delivered – to 96.2% in 2029 – when it expected 1,716 units to be delivered.

The growth is slightly extreme in this comparison, but is partially accounted for by a drop off in deliveries in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. For reference, in 2019, 2,065 units were delivered.

Included within the ICE stats are biofuel vehicles, which have been gaining prominence in the mining space as miners realise they can both reduce diesel costs and emissions by incorporating biofuels into their operating mix.

Over the same time frame – 2020-2029 – the analysts see “hybrid” trucks commanding zero percent market share, with no sales.

Fully-electric trucks fare better, moving from zero deliveries in 2020 to two in 2021, five in 2022, six in 2023; to 72 in 2028 and 67 in 2029. The fully-electric adoption rate moves from 0% in 2020 to 3.8% in 2029.

Among these new fully-electric dump trucks is an XCMG EDF531 90 t battery-electric truck that was on show at the Bauma China show late last year (pictured below).

Jan Zhang, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in China, said this dump truck has already been delivered to a customer.

“In fact, quite a few dump fully-electric trucks below 100 t have already been used in China (in Guangdong),” she told IM. “Many of these have payloads of below 60 t, but a few are 90 t, and are in trial runs, and a few have also been exported to New Zealand, using the LiFePO4 battery from CATL.”

There has been much talk about hydrogen haul trucks taking hold in the mining space. This has been catalysed by Anglo American’s plans to test a 291 t fuel cell electric vehicle, a conversion to hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery operation of a diesel-powered Komatsu 930E, at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa. If successful, these tests could lead to a rollout of 40 FCEVs across the global miner’s operations, it says.

Despite this, Interact Analysis’ research has no plus-85 t payload hydrogen trucks included in its forecasts to 2029.

Alastair Hayfield, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in the UK, explains: “Our statistics only look at new builds and not retrofits. My understanding is that the Anglo American vehicles would be retrofit (although there is limited detail at this point).

“Should some be new build, then we would update our forecast accordingly once we have better visibility.”

It’s worth asking the question: what about hydrogen trucks in mining beyond 2029?

Zhang said: “At present, mining trucks are mainly used in medium and large-scale coal and metal mines, and the use scenario is mainly for downhill heavy payload applications. That is to say where mineral resources are situated in a high up location, and it is necessary to load them from the mountain to the conveyor belt or transfer vehicle (the short distance transportation path is generally 2-3 km).”

She said mining truck electrification is mainly driven by two factors, with the first being operational cost advantages.

Jan Zhang, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in China

“For example, a mine truck with a total weight of 90 t will cost $45,000-75,000 in standard fuel annually, whilst the cost of electricity is only a third of the cost of fuel under the same circumstances, which means that $30,000-45,000 can be saved in the annual cost, not to mention other costs which are also higher for ICE mine trucks such as repair and maintenance,” she said.

The second factor is environmental protection and policy promotion.

“In China, the ‘National Green Mine Construction Specification’, issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources, has been implemented since October 2018,” Zhang explained. “This measure will surely help to grow the market share of hydrogen trucks in China, although the overall percentage will remain small.”

The last category included in Interact Analysis’ research was “Others” in the global hauler/dump truck market for 85-t-plus vehicles.

No deliveries for this category were registered in 2020, but the company anticipates one delivery in 2021, followed by three in 2022 and five in 2023. This gets as high as eight deliveries in 2025, but, by the end of the forecast period (2029), this category still commands 0.0% of the total.

So, what trucks fit into this category?

Hayfield explained: “We’re talking about diesel-electrics that will enter service into a trolley line operation – we essentially have to make an estimate on how we think the vehicle will predominantly be used. This is analogous to what we do in our on-highway research where we have to make estimates on how class 8 trucks are used for different applications ie long haul, distribution, vocational applications.”

This is not to say there will be no trolley assist trucks coming into the mining space, but, as far as Interact Analysis is concerned, these will not be new trucks coming out of the factory destined to head onto trolley lines. They will more likely be AC drive trucks that are retrofitted later for trolley assist operation.

When consolidated, these numbers show an underlying trend.

Back in 2019, there were 2,065 truck units delivered to the market in this 85-t-plus category, but, even out to 2029, this level is not reached, according to Interact Analysis.

Alastair Hayfield, Senior Research Director at Interact Analysis, based in the UK

In 2020, total deliveries dropped to 1,330 and, in 2021, Interact Analysis sees this rising to 1,545 units. A continual rise is expected in the years following, but it only reaches 1,783 in 2029.

What about beyond this timeframe?

Hayfield answered: “You have two fundamental pressures: a growing, resource-intensive population and a need to re-use/cut consumption because of environmental and/or legislative pressure. I suspect we will continue to see the growth of new mines throughout the 2030s in developing regions, fuelling demand for new trucks. However, I suspect we will see increasing pressure in Europe and North America on sustainability and the need to re-use materials and, hence, a slowing in the opening of new mines.”

This means demand for new trucks could start to drop during the 2030s in Europe and North America, he deduced.

This is not an exhaustive look at trends in the open-pit mining dump truck market – it is more of a taster – but Interact Analysis plans a detailed, mining specific study later in 2021. Such analysis could include forecasts for the retrofit market, providing the complete picture mining industry onlookers are after.

Bell B60E truck bridges the RDT, ADT divide

Bell Equipment says it is continuing to push new boundaries in the mining industry with its 60 t crossover concept, the B60E 4×4, having an impressive balance between off-road performance, productivity, and fuel economy.

Designed to provide a crossover of both rigid dump trucks (RDTs) and traditional ADTs, the B60E has a single rear axle instead of the more typical double axle while retaining the traditional ADT characteristics of all-wheel drive, and articulation steering with an oscillation joint, Bell says.

According to Bell Equipment Product Manager: ADTs, Nick Kyriacos, this gives the B60E far better capabilities in challenging conditions compared with RDTs.

“The oscillation joint keeps all the wheels in contact with the ground allowing for consistent all-wheel drive performance,” he said. “If an RDT fleet owner is looking for more flexibility or is forced to stop production due to unfavourable conditions, then the B60E is a great solution for them. The truck has operated side-by-side with rigid dump trucks on several sites where it has proven it capabilities. Additionally, customers running a mixed RDT and B60E fleet are able to standardise on one loading tool whilst retaining a high level of flexibility when deploying their equipment.”

In comparison with traditional ADTs, Kyriacos explains that there are customers who do not need the level of off-road ability that their three-axle ADT counterparts provide.

“In these cases, the B60E offers a level of productivity never seen before,” he said. “There is negligible tyre scuffing on the 4X4 ADTs, which is a major wear point for the middle and rear axles of three-axle trucks.

“Some of our leading customers have experienced the B60E achieving more than double the tyre life of their 6×6 counterparts in the same application. The B60E’s tyre life also exceeded that of similar sized rigid dump trucks in the same application by 60% due to a combination of its all-wheel drive configuration, whilst the oscillation tube ensures that all wheels maintain even contact with the ground along the entire haul cycle.”

Kyriacos added that the company has sold a number of B60s to ADT customers in various parts of the world who are running them successfully and noting the increased productivity and tyre life.

Far larger than a conventional ADT bin, the B60E’s flat-bottomed 35 cu.m body resembles a rigid-truck bin in its dimensions and geometry, according to Bell. This makes it fully compatible with existing loading equipment in mines and quarries and assures a 2:1-heap of coarse blasted material, Bell says.

“The shape additionally allows the loading tool to easily place bucket loads evenly within the bin for efficient loading, which is not possible in comparable ADTs in this size class,” it said.

The truck has proven its versatility on customer sites moving rock, ore, and sand over extended haul distances, according to Bell, managing short, steep gradients, tight turning circles and poor underfoot conditions during inclement weather.

“To date, the average fuel consumption of all B60Es ever sold is less than 24 litres per hour,” Kyriacos said. “Carrying a 55,000 kg payload per cycle at that fuel economy, coupled with the extended tyre life, the B60E achieves the Bell design philosophy by continuing to deliver lowest cost per tonne solutions.”

In addition to cost efficiencies related to economies of scale and a highly economical drivetrain, the B60E is loaded with safety features incorporated into the truck as standard, including Hill Assist, Safe Tip, downhill braking control and automatic traction control.

Other standard features include auto-greasing systems, rear-view camera, on-board diagnostics, and Bell [email protected]® telematics with full production data reporting.

Sandvik trialling Stage V engine technology at Boliden’s Tara mine

Sandvik is continuing its sustainability drive, announcing that it is trialling its first Stage V compliant underground truck at the Boliden-owned Tara zinc mine in Ireland.

The company, in December 2019, launched its first Stage V compliant underground LHDs for hard-rock mining applications following extensive testing. Back then, it said its newest intelligent loaders, the Sandvik LH517i and Sandvik LH621i, would receive the Stage V treatment in early 2020.

Now, Sandvik’s flagship truck, the TH663i, equipped with brand new Stage V Volvo Penta engine technology, is undergoing an extensive field trial period at Tara, allowing the company to obtain first-hand customer feedback on its technical and operational performance. Sandvik said this was “an integral part of Sandvik’s way of working and customer-focused mindset”.

The Stage V engine in the 63 t truck is expected to deliver lower emissions, contributing to reduced mine ventilation rates.

“Designed to fit seamlessly together with the truck and to perform specifically in underground use, the engine system includes built-in fire prevention solutions, increased wiring protection with shrink mesh wiring harness and electric hardware that is specifically designed for demanding conditions, with corrosion, heat and water resistance,” it said. “The new Stage V, requiring ultra-low sulphur fuel and low-ash engine oil to operate, will be an optional engine for the TH663i.”

To reduce particle emissions in the lower Stages/Tiers, standard engines on both the TH663i and TH551i trucks can be equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), according to Sandvik. The company explained: “Based on studies conducted, the optional sintered metal DPF reduces particle mass by approximately 99%. From a reliability and maintenance viewpoint, the DPF is well protected but still designed for easy cleaning to reduce downtime and operating costs. The DPF is also available as retrofit kit.”

Pia Sundberg, Product Line Manager for Trucks at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says thorough field tests are valuable to both the OEM and customer: “We want to allow enough time for sufficient testing of new technology, since it is of benefit to both sides.

“Possible hiccups that can often occur when developing something new are identified prior to the product being fully commercialised, which enables us to serve our customers better in the long run.

“Based on the feedback that we receive, we are still able to do some modifications if necessary and thereby make sure that the TH663i meets expectations when it is released to the market with the latest engine technology at a later stage. Of course, there is also some additional new technology on the test truck that we are testing at the same time.”

The TH663i also benefits from the recent improvements in Sandvik’s AutoMine® offering, as AutoMine for Trucks now enables autonomous truck haulage not only underground but also on the surface.

Sandvik said interesting glimpses into the company’s future truck offering have also been seen in Australia, where the Artisan Z50 battery truck from Sandvik carried out an extensive tour in early 2020 and gathered customer feedback for the new upcoming battery generation.

The company has also recently deployed a Z50 into Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine, in Nevada.

Baco mining trucks feeling the benefits of SSAB Hardox steels

The use of SSAB’s Hardox® 500 Tuf wear plate in Argentina-based Industrias Baco’s tipper truck bodies has extended the product lifespan by around 30%, according to the Nordic-based steelmaker.

Industrias Baco, the first company in Argentina to use SSAB’s specialist steel wear plate in tipper truck bodies, was so impressed by these results that 90% of its tipper bodies are now made with Hardox wear plate.

The switch to Hardox steels from traditional steel has been a fundamental part of the company’s increased sales, according to Patricia Meers, Financial Manager at Industrias Baco. “I believe Hardox steel has been a great part of our sales success. SSAB has helped us a great deal with marketing over these past years, and sales of our tippers have increased greatly with the help of Hardox wear plate. Our clients are very satisfied because the Hardox material is much more hard-wearing and versatile.”

Industrias Baco is mainly focused on producing heavy duty tippers for the mining industry.

Sales Coordinator, Nelson Bacolla, said the addition of Hardox 500 Tuf has led to the creation of new truck model with a design that helps improve the unloading process – reducing the unload time and, therefore, increasing productivity and the bottom line.

“It has been very successful,” Bacolla says. “When it comes to the distribution of the load, the truck functions much better with the new bodywork made from the new wear plate. It is the perfect combination.”

Meers witnessed first-hand the positive change that came when the company started to include Hardox material in the tipper bodies about 10 years ago. The company has also been a member of the Hardox In My Body customer program for two years.

“By having the sign on our products, it shows the customer what material we use. Nowadays customers know about Hardox wear plate and are asking for it. They know it means stronger, more lightweight and more hard-wearing tipper trucks that can carry heavier loads,” she said.

Industrias Baco uses Hardox wear plate for three different tipper truck models. They all take advantage of the same conical shape facilitated by the wear plates, accelerating the unloading process. Hardox 500 Tuf wear plate is used in its newest released tipper body model, while Hardox 450 wear plate is used in two tipper body models – one with cutaways on the side and one half-piped version. Hardox wear plate is also used in the sides and floors of the truck bodies.

LiuGong appoints Kris Kulkarni as it strives for ‘world-class’ mining product line

LiuGong Machinery has made Kris Kulkarni Vice President, Global Mining, at LiuGong North America.

Kulkarni began his professional career at Caterpillar, in 1996, in structures, and steadily progressed in engineering roles across diverse mining products including large wheel loaders, mining trucks, surface drills, and hydraulic shovels, LiuGong said.

“LiuGong has an emerging portfolio of mining products, including trucks, large tonnage wheel loaders, excavators and bulldozers,” the company said. “Kris is exceptionally well qualified to help lead the transformation of this mining product line to world-class levels.”

LiuGong Vice President of Strategy & Aftersales and Chairman of LiuGong North America, Kevin Thieneman, said: “Kris’ extensive background and knowledge of the mining industry brings an exciting new dynamic to our company. As LiuGong is committed to expanding not only product its current line-up of mining machines but its overall understanding of these highly specialised customers, Kris will be an invaluable part of that growth.”

Kulkarni said: “I am excited to have the opportunity to join an organisation so focused on customers and employees. LiuGong has a rich 60-year history, and an inspiring vision for its future. I look forward to helping write the next chapter as we broaden the portfolio by designing and manufacturing machines in a larger-size class which offer our customers the lowest total cost of ownership.”

New generation Scania XT trucks go to work at Pilbara mine site

Scania’s first new truck generation XT mining chassis have arrived in Australia and are already in use at a Pilbara mine site in Western Australia.

The two Scania NTG G 450 8×4 twin steer chassis have been fitted with new, higher-capacity 40,000-litre Shermac water cart bodies for the customer.

Scania says the tailor-made Shermac bodies are more than double the capacity of those fitted to traditional road-going trucks used on mine sites and are designed to replace mine-specific road train combinations.

“The new Scania XT trucks offer the customer a more cost-effective solution to the requirement for dust suppression and road building assistance on-site,” Scania says.

Robert Taylor, General Manager, Mining at Scania Australia, said the mining customer has had experience operating a fleet of Scania trucks on-site as service vehicles, flatbeds and technical support vehicles for the past year.

“The trucks were in service 24-hours per day, seven-days per week and have clocked up around 70,000 km on-site in their first 12 months. They have been very reliable in service and the drivers enjoyed the comfortable and quiet Scania cab,” he said.

“When we were discussing the replacement of the customer’s existing water carts, we suggested a more flexible solution, in the form of the NTG 450 XT 8×4 as they could handle the higher payload of 40,000-litres for a GVM (gross vehicle mass) of around 66 t,” Taylor said.

The water carts are also on call 24/7 and reliability is very important to the customer, Taylor added.

“They work in an extremely harsh environment where there is a lot of dust and heat and so water cart availability is critical to the mine’s operations. The vehicles will be serviced on-site to maximise uptime,” he said.

This new high-capacity water cart underscores Scania’s ability to configure a vehicle exactly to a client’s needs, according to Taylor.

“Our client wanted a reliable, high-capacity vehicle that could be maintained easily and quickly and one that could do the job day-in, day-out. The new Scania XT range is designed for these conditions and, in addition to being able to source and fit a suitable body, we have been able to deliver a solution at a reduced capital cost to the client compared with their previous solution,” he said.

“One of our longer-term goals has been to be able to offer our customers the ability to replace their very high-cost capital equipment with Scania solutions that provide a greater degree of resource utilisation flexibility as well as cut their capital expenditure without compromising availability or productivity. And we are able to deliver solutions in a timelier manner as well.

“With these new XT water carts we believe we are taking another significant step towards delivering on that strategy,” he said.

Jim Ray, who controls sales and sales management at mining engineering equipment supplier Shermac, said Scania was confident the 8×4 chassis would be suitable for this 40,000 litre payload, having seen 66 t payloads used widely in tipper configurations in South America and Indonesia mine sites.

“All of our water carts are custom designed and extensively tested to ensure optimum weight distribution and performance no matter how tough the environment or challenge,” Ray said.

“With liquid loads you do get high dynamic forces, but our Roadserve 2000 model water cart is well baffled and on-site speeds will be low and there are few inclines, allowing the vehicles to do their jobs reliably. Scania also has a lower centre of gravity compared with the previous solution, which also aids stability and safety,” he said.

The Scania NTG XT range has been designed for challenging operating conditions and comes with a 150 mm protruding steel front bumper bar that protects the vehicle against significant frontal knocks.

With protective grilles for the LED headlights, a fold-down bumper-mounted step to allow safe access for windscreen cleaning on-site, and a 40 t capacity tow point, the XT is suited to the operating conditions of a mine site. Additionally, Scania has added extra tough door mirror covers for the XT, as they are often very vulnerable to accidental damage.

Within the NTG cabs, all drivers are seated more comfortably in new seats, positioned closer to the screen and door for enhanced visibility, while repositioned A-pillars and mirrors provide an even safer and enhanced view out to the front and side.

The G 450 B8x4HZ chassis selected by the customer has a 5,950 mm axle distance, and two 12 t front axles and two 21 t rear drive axles for a GVM of 66 t.

The 450 hp (336 kW), 13 litre, six-cylinder in-line engine drives through a Scania Opticruise automated gear-change and GRSO935R transmission, with specific off-road mode built into the management system.

The latest and highest output Scania hydraulic retarder system is fitted to provide safe braking, preserving the service brake linings on the drum brakes, which are backed by ABS.

Steel leaf spring suspension all-round provides a solution for the on-site driving environment, backed up by a heavy-duty mechanical suspension for the cab to chassis connections. A new electrically powered cab tilting mechanism is occupational health and safety friendly, as well, Scania says.

Within the low roof day cab, the Scania XT is fitted with a steering-wheel mounted airbag as well as driver and passenger side curtain airbags designed to protect occupants in the event of a rollover.

Caterpillar talks up its new ultra-class electric drive mining trucks

Caterpillar has announced more details on the two new ultra-class mining trucks to join its portfolio, the Cat 798 AC and Cat 796 AC.

IM was on site in Tinaja Hills, Arizona, to witness the grand unveiling and saw the 798 AC in action.

The company said the decision to add the new models was based on providing its customers with more options at the highest end of its payload scale regarding electric or mechanical drive.

The 798 AC features a 372 t payload and joins the mechanical-drive Cat® 797F in the 400-short-ton size class. The 797F has been a popular choice with more than 1,000 sold to the oil sands, copper, coal and iron ore markets.

The electric-drive 796 AC delivers 326-tonne (360-ton) payload. With Cat deciding the 795 AC will not being offered in Tier 4 Final configuration, the 796 AC is likely to act as a replacement in regions where engine emissions are highly regulated, such as the US and Canada.

When comparing field test data of the 795F and 798 AC, the new and larger model was shown to carry, on average, carry 12.9% more payload, boost productivity by 17.2% and exhibit 4% faster cycle times.

Cat’s Jeff Castleman, in charge of new product introduction in the large mining trucks range, said at the truck unveiling the company was able to move from design to production in the field with the 798 AC in just one year.

It was able to achieve this as the machine is based off the old Unit Rig MT6300 AC design, a product line that came with the 2011 acquisition of Bucyrus.

Cat says both trucks will be available in June quarter of 2019, but IM understands two 798 ACs have been undergoing trials at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder coal mine in Wyoming, US, for close to six months, an operation that formerly used at least one MT6300 AC.

While the company expects the mechanical drive 797F to remain a leader in the Canadian oil sands sector – around a third of sales have been to this market segment – studies comparing the two showed the new 798 AC could more than hold its own when it comes to hauling on grade and getting out of the sticky underfoot conditions sometimes present at these mines. This is also backed up by the fact two MT6300 ACs previously operated in the Canadian oil sands.

The design of the new trucks focuses on delivering class-leading payload, high reliability and simple serviceability, Cat says. These attributes are built on the frame and chassis design proven in 18 million hours of legacy truck operation and now used by the Cat 794 AC.

The AC powertrain of each of the two new trucks draws from the Cat 795 AC and Cat 794 AC, which have been operating successfully for about 5 million hours. The electric drive is developed and manufactured by Caterpillar and is the single source for the entire powertrain, a key selling point of the truck when it comes to serviceability and operation in the field.

The Cat C175-16 diesel engine powers both trucks. With more than 21 million hours of operation in mobile equipment and power generation, the engine can be configured to meet US EPA Tier 4 Final emissions regulations and offers a choice of 2,610 kW (3,500 hp) or 2,312 kW (3,100 hp) to meet the mine’s needs.

“To further adapt to the mine, software changes can adjust system power to help meet production targets or to work smoothly in mixed fleets,” Cat says.

Both truck models are designed to minimise empty machine weight, as configured in the field, enabling the 798 AC to carry its class-leading payload of 372 t and to haul more material each cycle on 59/80R63 tyres.

Both new trucks feature four-corner, oil-cooled disc brakes as well as dynamic braking for stable handling and fast stopping. Superior retarding capability, blended braking and the Cat Traction Control System help boost productivity and enhance safety.

The Cat AC drive is a high voltage system (2,600 volts) that operates at lower current than most competitors’ systems. When combined with full integration of the power train, the result is lower heat generation, smaller and lighter components, and longer component life.

In terms of the trucks’ body design, the Cat High Efficiency body is sized and configured to meet the specific needs of the mine, dictated by fragmentation, abrasion, cohesion and the loading tool. The curved floor, front, and canopy strengthen the entire body, which is integral to the truck. The body is sized to meet the payload requirements without compromising vehicle balance, braking or control.

Open engine access and service platforms ease maintenance tasks, with the modular design allowing easy removal and installation of components. The engine, traction alternator, motors, inverter, grid and final drives can be removed independently, again speeding up maintenance tasks.

Traction alternator and optional inverter platforms allow for easier inspections, diagnostics and component swaps. The result is less service time and greater uptime, Cat says.