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’