Tag Archives: Ultima

Widespread demand for truck trays and buckets boost Austin’s order book

Austin Engineering Limited says it has received A$82 million ($61 million) of new orders across its business in the three months until end-February 2022, as orders for its specialist truck trays and buckets continue to come in.

This boost represents a 100% increase in its order book level compared with the same period of its last financial year.

Austin says it is now confident it has received sufficient orders to cover its 2022 financial year revenue guidance. In addition, Austin has also received a very encouraging level of orders for its 2023 financial year pipeline. Overall, enquiry levels and contract win rates remain strong in all home markets, it noted.

The new contract wins have resulted in a significant order book lift from December 2021, when Austin reported an increase in orders of 35% year-on-year.

The order book improvement is across all of Austin’s home markets but dominated by the US, Chile and Indonesia.

Austin explained: “The truck tray business has remained strong but is now widespread across more jurisdictions and has been supported by a much stronger level sales of buckets and other equipment. Austin’s new JEC High performance bucket range has attracted considerable attention and, with four months to go in the current financial year, the company has already achieved a record level of sales of mine buckets compared to recent years.”

Austin has previously announced a series of measures aimed at improving its competitiveness by sharpening its focus on the needs of its customers, both in Australia and overseas. As an example, this approach has led to an update to its core Ultima truck trays to meet increased demands around safety and weight carrying capacity.

The design updates have been coupled with cost efficiencies from the advanced manufacturing approach and the hub-and-spoke build strategy, increasing Austin’s product quality and cost competitiveness in the market, it said. This action has already delivered a material level of new order wins, strengthening the current financial year order book, and driving momentum into the next financial year.

Austin is now rolling out the initial phase of its advanced manufacturing plan, following an intensive design phase, which aims to increase production efficiency, safety and quality, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity. The company is now initially rolling out the new production system in Batam, Indonesia, because that facility is running at an elevated level of throughput in a trend that is expected to continue.

The company flagged in its first half 2022 financial year results that it was entering a challenging period in Western Australia, which is currently under Level 2 Government restrictions due to rising COVID-19 cases in the state. Potential risks, which to a limited extent are now being experienced, include loss of productivity due to staff shortages and shipping delays, which could impact scheduling and deliveries for Austin and its suppliers. The current level of restrictions is not anticipated to remain in place for long, with Western Australia’s COVID-19 caseload peak expected in the next few weeks. Contingency planning continues to reduce risks where possible.

Austin’s milestone ULTIMA truck body delivered to Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Austin Engineering has announced the delivery of its 1,000th truck body to Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia.

The milestone was marked with a ceremony at Austin’s Kewdale-based manufacturing facility, attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan (right), Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Officer, Simon Trott (centre), along with Austin’s Chairman, Jim Walker, and Chief Executive Officer, David Singleton (left).

The ULITMA truck body in question was unveiled on site today.

Over the past 30 years, Austin has supplied approximately A$300 million ($214 million) of its designed and engineered equipment to Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations. Austin also supplies equipment to Rio Tinto’s global operations from its manufacturing sites spread across four continents.

Austin and Rio Tinto’s partnership commenced in 1988 with Western Australia-based John’s Engineering and Cranes (JEC), which is now part of the Austin business, providing truck body components to Robe River, a Rio Tinto Group Company.

Austin’s Kewdale facility is one of two of the company’s major manufacturing sites in the Asia Pacific region. Austin is investing A$6.5 million to implement advanced manufacturing processes and capabilities at its Perth and Batam (Indonesia) sites, including increased automation and the use of custom jigs, fixtures, workstations and a standardised manufacturing approach to building products.

The Kewdale facility is currently receiving the first manufacturing upgrade, which will benefit major customers, such as Rio Tinto, and enhance the company’s supply of Western Australian-made dump truck bodies and other hauling and loading products, Austin said.

Singleton said: “In the dynamic and constantly evolving mining industry, it is becoming an increasing rarity to see a long-standing partnership, particularly one deeply rooted in the local community, going from strength-to-strength. This makes today’s milestone all the more extraordinary, and like the other 999 truck bodies we’ve made for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia, it will be manufactured locally.

“Austin is proud of its role in helping Rio Tinto successfully deliver the iron ore that is the economic lynchpin of our great state.”

McGowan said: “Austin Engineering is one of WA’s key local manufacturers. It is providing mining companies like Rio Tinto with locally designed and manufactured equipment, but it is also creating an increasing number of local job opportunities here at its Kewdale facility.

“Rio Tinto’s commitment to purchasing Western Australian made truck bodies, that will be used right here in the state, reflects the WA State Government’s commitment to boost local manufacturing, local content, and local jobs, enabling our State to become more self-sufficient and prosperous into the future.”

Rio’s Trott said: “The manufacture of the 1,000th truck body for our iron ore operations here in Western Australia is a testament to the Austin-Rio Tinto relationship that spans three decades and covers the globe.

“The partnership is an example of our commitment to working with local business to create ongoing employment and to develop world-class products. We are committed to sourcing local content wherever possible to support our suppliers, our business and the communities in which we operate. I look forward to our longstanding partnership continuing to support the Western Australian economy.”

Austin Engineering, Melter celebrate new pact with Peñasquito truck bodies order

Austin Engineering has entered into an agreement with Mexico-based equipment manufacturer Melter to broaden its product delivery and service capabilities in the US and the northern region of South America.

This agreement has already delivered a significant new contract with a world-class miner, according to Austin, with Melter set to manufacture Austin-designed truck bodies for the initial supply of five lightweight Ultima bodies for Newmont’s Peñasquito gold operation in Mexico.

In addition to building truck bodies, Melter will also provide local support and maintenance assistance to Newmont, supported by Austin’s US-based teams in Casper, Wyoming.

“Newmont is the world’s largest gold miner and there is potential for further sales to this customer,” Austin said.

The Melter partnership is the latest iteration of Austin’s roll out of “hub-and-spoke” networks in the Americas to support Austin’s central US manufacturing hub in Casper.

Austin says it is establishing “spokes” closer to significant mining areas via new facilities or through partnerships and preferred supplier arrangements. The objective of this approach is to reduce the logistics cost and complexities of delivering truck bodies over large distances. As part of this strategy, in instances where transport costs are high, the Casper facility will provide designs and kits for local assembly to the end user facilities. This approach is intended to improve the competitiveness of Austin’s Casper facility and increase market share.

The hub-and-spoke initiative is part of an “advanced manufacturing strategy” being deployed by Austin following its strategic review of global operations completed in July, which identified several business optimisation and growth opportunities.

Austin’s Casper base has been further supported by the lease of a 23,000 sq.ft (2,137 sq.m) manufacturing site at Fort McMurray in Alberta from which Austin is able to better service its customers in the remote regions of western Canada though better product delivery logistics, shorter travel times, and local service and maintenance teams.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “We are very pleased to have formed a partnership with Melter, which enables Austin to grow its service offering in a market where we don’t currently have manufacturing capabilities. Our partnership with Melter allows Austin to competitively deliver on its contract to supply Austin-designed truck bodies to Newmont’s Peñasquito operations and we look forward to growing our partnership in the future.

“We are continuing to review other potential spoke locations to support our Casper facility and delivering on our US strategy to improve our equipment delivery logistics and reduce overall transport costs, especially into remote areas, making our product offering more cost competitive.”

Melter Chief Executive Officer, Carlos Uribe, said: “We are pleased to develop our strong relationship with Austin Engineering, one of the leading OEMs in the global mining industry, as their regional supplier to build and support their truck bodies and other equipment on and off mine sites in Mexico including at Newmont.

“Over the last 30-plus years Melter has built a completely integrated manufacturing system for high-spec metal-mechanic components, as well as a highly committed and qualified 800 people strong team aimed at delivering the highest client satisfaction in the USMCA market; we are honoured to be able to use our capabilities to deliver Austin’s mining products both locally and potentially overseas.”

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.”

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 looks to set dump truck body benchmark

A unique ‘V’ profile floor, designed to actively channel the load to the centre of the tray, is one of the standout design features of Austin Engineering’s new Ultima dump truck body.

Designed and manufactured by the Australia-based engineer, the new body also features improved structural integrity and payload advantages, the company said.

Based on Austin’s WESTECH, JEC and JEC-LD series of bodies, the new tray is lighter and stronger than current original equipment manufacturer (OEM) bodies, which translates to a 10-15% weight saving without sacrificing payload, according to the company.

This is the next generation in mining dump bodies, Austin Engineering says, with the Ultima carrying a greater payload, meeting all OEM dump truck specifications and delivering the industry’s lowest cost per tonne.

“By channelling the payload to centre line of the tray, the unique V-floor, with its lower centre of gravity, improves machine stability and safety and reduces overall tray wear,” the company said. “The floor design also reduces dump cycle times (empty is achieved at 3/4 tipping).”

The body also features large radius transitions to assist in the reduction of material carry-back, which also provide superior impact resistance and substantially extend operating life, Austin said.

“Overall the optimIsed shape of the Ultima body means better material distribution within the structure while maintaining the payload/weight advantage,” Austin Engineering said.

The new body’s increased structural integrity gives superior impact and wear resistance, extends fatigue life and lowers maintenance costs, according to the company. Tapered sides run the full length of the body to minimise wear, assist in carry-back reduction and reduce side spillage in the dumping cycle, while a low-profile rear floor shape, combined with a reduced height bolster, provide additional ground clearance when dumping.

The body is available in both ‘Straight Floor’ or ‘Flow Control Combo’ designs to cater for fixed or varying SG values and is designed to operate as a liner-less configuration.

“It can be adapted to suit any mine specific application, is suitable for any current OEM dump truck chassis and is designed to comply with all OEM haul truck operating limitations,” the company concluded.