BODYBUILDE­RS

The Aus­tralian Min­ing Re­view re­cently in­ter­viewed David Pi­chan­ick, Global Man­ager Mar­ket De­vel­op­ment and In­no­va­tion from Austin En­gi­neer­ing, to ask him about the enor­mous amount of re­search and de­vel­op­ment that has been poured into these revo­lu­tion­ary tru

The Australian Mining Review - - TRUCK BODIES -

AMR: What de­sign fea­tures has Austin En­gi­neer­ing in­cor­po­rated to al­low them to achieve a 240t pay­load with ul­tra-class trucks?

DP: Ul­tra Class trucks range from pay­loads of 100 to 360 met­ric tonnes. In the first in­stance, we must take into ac­count the both the empty and loaded Gross Ve­hi­cle Mass (GVM) of the truck in its OEM state.

For ex­am­ple, a truck with a 400t pay­load may have an empty GVM of 200t, giv­ing a to­tal GVM of 600t fully loaded. We have to match those spec­i­fi­ca­tions with our new trays to en­sure that all the en­gi­neer­ing as­pects of brak­ing, steer­ing, front-to-rear axle load­ing, tyre loads and more are main­tained.

We use com­plex sim­u­la­tion soft­ware to de­sign our trays within these con­straints be­fore we start in­cor­po­rat­ing any im­prove­ments. Austin En­gi­neer­ing has over 50-years’ ex­pe­ri­ence, so we draw on all that knowl­edge to cre­ate new fea­tures and ben­e­fits from front to back.

Fac­tors such as load freeze, ore body type and wet­ness, anti-hang-up fea­tures, tray heat­ing, wear re­sis­tance and spe­cific dump cri­te­ria from each client are all in­cor­po­rated.

The client’s needs are al­ways put first and fore­most and al­ways with the high­est pay­load achiev­able in mind and a the abil­ity to de­liver 4-5 years of re­li­able ser­vice from ev­ery tray.

AMR: How did you achieve ap­prox­i­mately a 15pc re­duc­tion in body weight while also in­creas­ing the work­ing pay­load?

DP: The short answer is through ad­vances in steel tech­nol­ogy. In the 1980s the Swedes be­gan pro­duc­ing their quench and tem­per steel plate and that has now evolved into 500-Grade steel. This gives us more con­fi­dence in what can be achieved in our fin­ished de­signs.

The avail­abil­ity of higher qual­ity steel has al­lowed us to de­sign lighter weight bod­ies that are ca­pa­ble of greater pay­loads but are still ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing the same ser­vice life of pre­vi­ous mod­els. The re­duc­tion in the tray’s GVM re­duces the truck’s to­tal un­laden GVM and thus per­mits a greater pay­load to be car­ried while main­tain­ing the OEM to­tal loaded GVM. Once again, our unique soft­ware sim­u­la­tions have al­lowed us to max­imise the gains achiev­able with these new steels.

AMR: What new char­ac­ter­is­tics are in­cor­po­rated into the Ul­tima bod­ies that re­sult in re­duced main­te­nance costs for min­ing com­pa­nies?

DP: The first is us­ing the right type of steel in the right places around the im­pact zone to ab­sorb that im­pact dur­ing load­ing. An­other crit­i­cally im­por­tant fea­ture that may not be in­stantly ob­vi­ous is the height of the tray’s tail. With the ad­vent of au­tonomously con­trolled trucks us­ing ac­tive cruise con­trol, there is al­ways the risk of nose-to-tail col­li­sions as slow­ing a mass of sev­eral hun­dred tonnes takes time.

His­tor­i­cally, the tail of the tray was quite low and that meant that in a front-torear col­li­sion, the tail of the front truck would hit the cab of the rear truck, caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age – or in­jury if it was manned.

Thanks to our de­sign soft­ware, we have

been able to de­velop a de­sign with the tail kicked up higher so that it sits higher than the cab of a trail­ing truck but this also re­quired the use of higher wear ma­te­ri­als in the rear of the tray to over­come the re­sul­tant higher wear rates.

AMR: What else have these re­cent ad­vances in steel qual­ity al­lowed you to achieve in this new Ul­tima de­sign?

DP: We are cur­rently con­duct­ing tri­als around the world with new steels. We need to prove these new grades in the real world, given the vast ar­ray of vari­ables we face when de­sign­ing a body for a client.

We have some trays built with half one grade of steel and half with an­other to A/B test in the same ap­pli­ca­tion.

We then use scan­ners to mea­sure wear and over­all steel thick­ness ev­ery three months over a 12-month pe­riod. We also have nine dif­fer­ent body styles around the world, each re­quir­ing vari­a­tions in the steel used. This is part of our on­go­ing R&D to de­liver the best pos­si­ble, ap­pli­ca­tion spe­cific, body.

We must also en­sure that ev­ery batch of steel we use is con­sis­tent, so that if we build a se­ries of say 20 bod­ies for a cus­tomer, each of those bod­ies has the same grade of steel in the same area – as per our de­sign cri­te­ria.

AMR: How does the re­place­able floor work? How does it com­pare to con­ven­tional body de­signs?

DP: Our JEC mod­els have re­place­able floors fit­ted to a skele­tal frame. In some in­stances, the floor might have a ser­vice life of 20,000-hours but the frame might have a life of 60,000-hours.

So, this en­ables this en­ables the floor to be com­pletely re­moved in a shift-anda-half and then com­pletely re­placed in an­other shift-and-a-half, which pro­vides a very fast and cost-ef­fec­tive turn­around for the client. These bod­ies are par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful in very abra­sive ap­pli­ca­tions such as haul­ing mag­netite, lithium or sand. The coarse­ness of the ore ma­te­rial pro­duced af­ter blast­ing can also have a bear­ing on tray wear.

AMR: What ad­van­tages in load sta­bil­ity and tip­ping time does the new V-floor de­sign pro­vide?

DP: With a flat floor, ma­te­rial typ­i­cally wears in the cor­ners. With our V-floor de­sign cor­ner wear is re­duced, while the vee also con­trols the flow of ore, low­ers the cen­tre of grav­ity and re­duces di­rect im­pact when load­ing. It can also help to re­duce tip times.

AMR: How does the truck’s op­er­at­ing cli­mate af­fect the con­struc­tion of the body and the type of ma­te­ri­als used?

DP: This ques­tion high­lights the need to have a strong re­la­tion­ship with each client and re­ally un­der­stand their ap­pli­ca­tion.

This forms the ba­sis of any de­sign and al­lows us to iden­tify is­sues such as load freez­ing or stick­ing, an­a­lyse ma­te­rial flow, cal­cu­late tip­ping times to suit the in­put re­straints of a hop­per or crusher for ex­am­ple and even pre­vent dam­age to the tip­ping cylin­ders of the truck it­self.

Safety is al­ways the first con­sid­er­a­tion. For ex­am­ple, if the wrong steel is used in a sub-zero cli­mate, a fall­ing rock could eas­ily punch through the body and cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the driv­e­line.

By work­ing closely with the client and gath­er­ing as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble in the first in­stance, we are able to cre­ate a de­sign and use the right ma­te­ri­als for that par­tic­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tion. That en­sures the great­est level of safety and the max­i­mum pay­load to re­duce the miner’s cost per tonne.

The Ul­tima Se­ries truck bod­ies are up to 15pc lighter than OEM, de­liver a 20t pay­load in­crease for a max­i­mum of 240t per load, re­duce fa­tigue wear and main­te­nance costs and im­prove the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the load-haul cy­cle.

AMR: Why is it crit­i­cal to match the size of the load­ing bucket with the ca­pac­ity of the body?

DP: The key is op­ti­mis­ing pay­load. With the right-sized ex­ca­va­tor, a truck can be loaded in three to four passes, with is pre­ferred. This is more accurate than us­ing a larger ex­ca­va­tor (and po­ten­tially fill­ing in two passes) and makes fill­ing to max­i­mum pay­load each time more achiev­able - re­duc­ing wasted ca­pac­ity each cy­cle.

Other vari­ables are also rel­e­vant, for ex­am­ple, if the bench is too shal­low, and a large ex­ca­va­tor can­not dig 50 or 60-tonnes as re­quired, then each bucket load will be light and again wasted ca­pac­ity in the truck is the re­sult. Mine man­agers and engi­neers are con­stantly mea­sur­ing the pay­load of each bucket and im­prove­ments in ca­pac­ity of 1-2pc are sig­nif­i­cant, so when our Ul­tima bod­ies de­liver a 15pc im­prove­ment, the gains are mas­sive.

AMR: What fac­tors are rel­e­vant to re­duc­ing tip­ping turn­around time?

DP: The dump body needs to re­lease the load ef­fi­ciently with no hang-ups or carry-back. But we also have to be mind­ful that the body must not be too wide or have the head­board too high to fit into a main­te­nance bay. The type of steel treat­ment we use, the ge­om­e­try of the floor and sides and the fact that we use smooth edges to stop ini­tial catch­ing of the load, all con­trib­ute to lower re­lease an­gles and faster, com­plete tip­ping.

AMR: What does your ad­vanced sim­u­la­tion soft­ware al­low you to achieve and test in the de­sign phase and does it pro­vide greater ac­cu­racy and ca­pac­ity when cre­at­ing new so­lu­tions for dif­fer­ent clients? For ex­am­ple, the heated body sim­u­la­tion for sub-zero ap­pli­ca­tions and the 10°C max­i­mum heat vari­a­tion achieved from in­put to out­put.

DP: With re­gards to the soft­ware, the greater the vol­ume of data we cap­ture and an­a­lyse, the greater the ac­cu­racy of the sim­u­la­tion and ef­fi­ciency of the fi­nal prod­uct. With so many years of ex­pe­ri­ence, the num­ber of bod­ies we have in test­ing around the world and the sheer quan­tity of data we have to draw on, we are able to cre­ate a sim­u­la­tion model of a new bucket in 10-14 days with be­tween 99-99.3pc ac­cu­racy. With the ex­haust heat­ing of the body, re­quired by some of our cus­tomers, we used ad­vanced fluid dy­namic mod­el­ling to an­a­lyse the ex­haust gas flow from the time it en­ters the duct­ing in the tray to the time it ex­its. Our sim­u­la­tion re­vealed lower flow ar­eas and the re­sul­tant hot spots they cre­ated. We were able to rec­tify these ar­eas and even out the gas flow to achieve a to­tal vari­a­tion in tem­per­a­ture from start to fin­ish of only 10°C.

AMR: Which spe­cific ar­eas of the body does your con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme fo­cus on and what is the na­ture and fre­quency of the re­sul­tant re­port­ing you pass on to the client?

DP: Us­ing real-time tech­nol­ogy we are able to mon­i­tor and mea­sure all arts of the body: floor; side­walls and head­board. We plot trends in wear and only ap­ply ex­tra ma­te­rial where it is needed. This keeps the over­all mass of the body down, while main­tain­ing our orig­i­nal de­sign specs. For ex­am­ple, if part of the floor should be 25mm thick but it has worn down to 10mm, we can put a 15mm plate on top to re­store the orig­i­nal in­tegrity but not ex­ceed the orig­i­nal GVM of the truck.

This level of de­tail in our re­port­ing al­lows the client to de­cide whether it is op­ti­mal to re­pair the tray or re­place it at any stage in its ser­vice life.

AMR: Which truck chassis brands is the Ul­tima body avail­able for at this time?

DP: The Ul­tima bod­ies are avail­able for all OEM brands in the mar­ket to­day, so any truck 100t or larger.

Thanks to an enor­mous amount of ex­pe­ri­ence, real world test­ing around the globe in a wide range of cli­mates and en­vi­ron­ments and the use of cut­tingedge soft­ware, Austin En­gi­neer­ing have cre­ated a range of Ul­tra Class bod­ies that are lighter, have the same ser­vice life and can carry larger pay­loads than typ­i­cal OEM bod­ies.

That trans­lates to cus­tom so­lu­tions for each client, higher pay­loads for each truck in their fleet and lower cost per tonne. Just like mod­ern body builders, the Ul­tima has the brains to match its brawn.

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