Tag Archives: truck bodies

Austin wins three-year truck body/bucket support contract from KGHM Sierra Gorda mine

Austin Engineering says it has strengthened its partnership with KGHM’s Sierra Gorda Mining (SGM) by securing a three-year truck body and bucket support contract with the operation in Chile.

Austin said: “Winning the competitive contract exemplifies the high level of confidence SGM has in Austin as their long-term partner of choice to support such critical mining assets.

“Our ongoing transformation from Austin 1.0 to 2.0 and the efficiencies being delivered as a result, was key to improving our South American team, to not only compete, but win such a long-term contract.”

Austin Engineering recently concluded a strategic review of its business that identified opportunities to cut “significant costs from the business while increasing output through adopting more advanced manufacturing techniques”, Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said.

The Sierra Gorda copper-molybdenum mine is in the Atacama Desert, in the Antofagasta region, of Chile. It is located at an altitude of around 1,700 m and has a minimum annual average daily ore processing figure of 130,000 t.

Austin Engineering’s strategic review identifies innovation, technology opportunities

Austin Engineering Ltd has completed a previously announced strategic review of its global business, with the first two phases of this review funding a third that will fuel innovation and technology development.

Austin initiated the strategic review in May 2021 in parallel with the decision to relocate its headquarters from Brisbane to Perth, in Australia. This move was carried out to, Austin says, bring the company’s central management closer to Austin’s major mining customers and its largest APAC manufacturing centres in Perth and Indonesia.

The strategic review aimed to identify opportunities to improve business efficiency and to align with the future needs of Austin’s mining industry customers. Ultimately, the review identified what Austin needs to do and where it needs to invest to be at the forefront of the industry, to grow earnings and, thereby, unlock value for its shareholders, it said.

Austin’s loading and hauling products are designed to meet the specific needs of its mining industry customers around the world. Its products are designed to help mining companies increase operational efficiency, improve site safety and help meet their environmental and decarbonisation targets. This is crucial as the mining industry works towards dramatically reducing emissions in the coming years, Austin said.

The strategic review outcomes are structured in three phases, representing short-, medium- and longer-term measures to create company value across Austin’s operations in Australia, North America, Indonesia and South America.

As Phase 1, Austin has already rebased the indirect support structures throughout the business and enters the new 2022 financial year (to June 30, 2022) with a leaner structure. By the end of June, about 50% of the “people cost reductions” identified in the review were completed, with 85% due for completion by the end of August, it said.

In addition to the rapid closure of its previous head office in Brisbane, Queensland, Austin has consolidated its separate businesses located in Mackay, Queensland, into Austin’s wholly-owned subsidiary, AUSTBORE. The consolidation enables a stronger focus on new product delivery and support in Queensland and reduces the focus on general repair and maintenance services, which have not been delivering “adequate earnings”, Austin said.

Austin will continue to deliver its own product offerings to the east coast of Australia from its manufacturing facilities in Perth and Batam, while continuing to offer support directly in Mackay through its existing team, it said.

Phase 2 will see Austin develop its major manufacturing sites, commencing in Perth, Australia.

“Austin has identified significant manufacturing opportunities to reduce waste and improve production efficiency and product consistency through the adoption of flow production and automation,” Austin said. “This will provide significant benefits for Austin’s major product ranges, in particular truck bodies, while remaining agile in bespoke designs and delivering unique capabilities for its customers.”

It is likely that the production system will be adopted in Batam to build bodies faster, use less factory space and improve product quality, according to Austin.

Initial project investment for Perth is underway with a final investment decision by the Austin Board planned within the next quarter.

In the US, Austin is reviewing its delivery logistics to improve overall “cost competitiveness”, the company said.

It explained: “Large truck bodies are difficult and expensive to move around the disparate mining centres of Canada, USA and Central America. Further detail around the changes being considered for North America will be announced when sufficient certainty has been achieved in the current review. Under consideration is an increasing presence in western Canada to service the oil sands region more effectively.”

Phase 3 is looking at putting technology and innovation at the forefront of a significantly expanded Austin product range.

The company explained: “Out of the review, Austin has established a new customer-focused, innovation and technology group that reports directly to the CEO. The team will interface directly with Austin’s major customers and will use innovation- and technology-led solutions in an agile implementation environment to meet customers’ needs for product capability and performance. Austin has already reviewed its technology pipeline with some of its major customers, with new developments already underway. Further details on these developments will be made available at the appropriate time.”

In the longer term, Austin says it seeks to increase its product offering, through a mix of in-house design, partnering with aligned businesses and M&A activity.

Cost savings to the business generated in Phases 1 and 2 are expected to provide funding for innovation and technology development, as well as enhancing earnings, it said.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “The strategic review process has provided a chance for Austin to make some big decisions about what we most need to focus on for organic and inorganic growth of the company. Through this process, we will cut significant costs from the business while increasing output through adopting more advanced manufacturing techniques. Importantly, we are firmly concentrating our efforts to meet the needs of our mining customers into the future. Austin’s products will support our clients as they target net zero emissions, improve productivity and ensure ever safer operations.”

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.”

G&G Mining delivers XMOR dump truck bodies to ConsMin’s Woodie Woodie mine

ConsMin has taken delivery of its first pair of XMOR™ dump truck bodies at the Woodie Woodie manganese operation in Western Australia, G&G Mining reports.

These bodies will be put to work at the mine, one of the state’s most abrasive manganese operations, aboard Cat haul trucks.

G&G Mining said the company had selected the lightest, yet toughest, body design in the market with the most operational benefits for its site.

“XMOR is a combination of design and advanced materials utilising Hardox® 500 Tuf to offer a body that is lighter, stronger and harder wearing,” the company said. “The design offers an increased payload, an extended wear life with no liners, eliminates hang up, has an automatic load centering feature and an anti-spill canopy.”

The customer requested a special blue paint job and decals to its XMOR bodies in support of the ConsMin “Mining Minds Matter, Working Away Not Alone” mental health program, G&G Mining added.

Woodie Woodie’s high-grade manganese ore is recognised as the world’s best manganese ore due to its high manganese content, high manganese to iron ratio, low phosphorous and hard, competent nature, according to ConsMin.

Since May 2017, the Consolidated Minerals Group has been privately owned by Ningxia Tianyuan Manganese Industry Co. The group has operating assets in Ghana and Australia and trading companies in Jersey, supplying some 11% of the world’s manganese ore production and around 19% of the demand for Chinese imports of manganese ore.

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.

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.