• What mining equipment is used in surface mining?

    March 14th, 2023 | by
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    As a leading designer and manufacturer of mining equipment in Australia and across the world, Austin Engineering is proud of the part our company plays in mining operations.

    Whether you are a mining professional or contractor, or simply would like to know more about the equipment and machinery used in the mining industry, this article has been created to take you through the different equipment used in surface mining.

    Surface mining & underground mining operations: what is the difference?

    Surface mining and underground mining are two relatively obvious terms. Surface mining refers to mining operations that take place on ground level.

    Underground mining refers to mining operations that are completed underground.

    Surface mining is a more common practice and more efficient than underground mining, however, it is important to note that these are different processes.

    Its popularity derives from its simplicity. While surface mining is not a simple process, it is far easier to coordinate and offers greater flexibility to mining and resource teams.

    Underground mining comes with increased safety hazards, more rigid materials to cut and mine through, and thus, more intensive mining equipment, and importantly, equipment that does not emit fumes.

    How does underground mining equipment differ from surface mining?

    We touched on this, but due to the confined spaces within underground mines, it is important that underground mining equipment is small and agile and does not emit fumes. This way, it can manoeuvre within that space and does not become a safety hazard for the miners in the space.

    The more rigid materials that are typically found in underground mines demand heavy-duty mining equipment that has the ability to cut through hard rock.

    As there are so many different mining methods available in surface mining, due to its above-ground nature, there are many more tools and machines available for use.

    Blast mining is a far more common practice in surface mining. This is because there is less risk of accidents when this practice is used above ground.

    Underground mining will also utilise blasting tools. It is simply less common due to the associated hazards.

    There is plenty of mining equipment that is used in both surface mining and underground mining.

    Mining Trucks

    Mining trucks, such as dump trucks, are utilised across a variety of surface and underground mining operations.

    These types of mining machinery are essential for the shifting of soil, earth, and minerals on mining sites and create much more efficient processes for mining companies.

    Roof Bolters

    Roof bolters are typically used in underground mining; however, if you are blast mining on a surface with high walls, these may still be necessary.

    These are designed to prevent and protect teams against the risk of mine roofs and tall walls caving in.

    Crushing Equipment

    By crushing iron ore and other minerals into smaller pieces, miners both underground and at surface level can easily move and sort through these materials.

    Analysis Tools

    All mining operations will depend on a suite of analysis tools to ensure they have acquired the correct resources, at the correct size and weight, and ensure they are sent to the correct location.

    These analysis tools include weight feeders, crossbelt analysers, and flow measurement tools.

    What mining equipment is used in surface mines?

    Surface mining is a mining operation that is used all over the world. It is an operation that utilises a variety of mining machinery and equipment.

    In Australia, a majority of these mining sites will be acquiring iron ore, but a variety of minerals are mined across the world using surface mining techniques.

    With great flexibility, surface mining incorporates a variety of techniques, including open-pit mining, hydraulic mining, quarrying, auger mining, heap leaching, and many more.

    That flexibility and breadth of techniques mean that there is a large range of surface mining equipment available for use.

    Tyre Handlers

    Tyre handlers, particularly when they’re designed and produced by Austin Engineering, are excellent on-site tools in surface mining and underground mining applications.

    These allow you to better handle tyres on large earthmoving equipment. Austin Engineering’s tyre handlers are three-armed and are an innovative solution for your operations.
    These eliminate the requirement of conventional pad rotation and can be used with smaller and more compact earthmoving machinery.

    Surface Mining-Specific Dump Truck Bodies

    Dump trucks are essential for all mining operations. Particularly in surface mining, these trucks allow you to move large quantities of ore or overburden.

    Dump trucks will also be responsible for shifting any mined materials or minerals to their next destination, whether that is a material processing site or an alternative location.

    The team at Austin Engineering produce innovative, custom dump truck bodies for mining companies that want to maximise their fleet capabilities.

    Austin Engineering’s dump truck bodies are built tough and built to last, tested across a variety of harsh conditions in the mining sector.

    Hydraulic Mining Shovels

    Hydraulic mining shovels, also known as hydraulic excavators, dig through and remove materials from dig sites. These machines are capable of digging through and removing tonnes of materials from these sites.

    These machines are larger and thus are typically utilised in open pit mining or surface mining.

    Continuous Mining Machines

    In surface mining and strip mining, continuous mining equipment is an innovative piece of equipment that uses steel and tungsten cutting tools to cut through soft materials.

    As suggested by its name, this machine continuously and autonomously cut through these materials, making it a popular choice in coal mining.

    Electric Rope Shovels

    Electric rope shovels are similar to hydraulic shovels, however, these machines use electricity instead of diesel.
    It eliminates the emission of toxic fumes, offering mine workers a safer environment.

    Mining Dozers

    Mining dozers are a standard piece of machinery used in surface mining applications.

    These can utilise tyres or tracks, depending on your surface’s terrain and can be equipped with various attachments.
    Dozers are frequently used on mining sites to level surfaces and shift unwanted debris.

    Dragline Excavators

    Another important piece of surface mining equipment is the dragline excavator. These machines run on electricity and, thus, don’t produce local emissions.

    These dragline excavators’ capabilities can be further extended with custom attachments. At Austin Engineering, we design and fabricate custom attachments for mining machinery and equipment.

    Allow your dragline excavator to do more with a custom dragline excavator bucket. These bucket designs range up to 50m3 and are suitable for a variety of mining applications, including hard rock, iron ore, and coal.

    Bucket attachments

    At Austin Engineering, our engineers design and fabricate custom attachments for different kinds of mining equipment and machinery.

    This includes bucket attachments which frequently prove themselves useful on surface mining sites.

    These buckets are excellent for shifting and carrying different materials and are custom-engineered to suit your specific application.
    Austin Engineering buckets can be attached to excavators, face shovels, dippers, front-end loaders, and wheeled loaders.

    Austin Engineering is a leading designer & manufacturer in the mining industry

    The design and engineering team at Austin Engineering works with mining companies and OEMs in the mining industry to produce customized attachments for mining equipment.

    Our team is responsible for many of the innovations within the mining industry and is proud of our contribution to increased productivity and profits for our clients in Australia and all across the world.

    If you require custom surface mining equipment or parts, the team at Austin Engineering is the team to produce them.

    Mining companies, contractors & OEMs across the globe depend on Austin Engineering.

    Austin Engineering makes mining operations more effective and efficient all across the globe. Find your local Austin representative.

  • The New HPT – Revolutionising Mining Truck Body Design

    December 19th, 2022 | by
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    Austin Engineering has further refined the design specifications that have led the industry to date. Intelligent and innovative engineering enabled us to exploit the benefits of high-tensile steel to deliver a high-performance version of the outstanding JEC Series. A stronger, lighter truck body that affords increased payloads and reduced dump cycle time. The HPT resists wear, resulting in reduced maintenance downtime and increased equipment lifespan. 

    Partnering with Mining Industry Equipment Giants

    Global mining market leaders release sophisticated evolutions of their powerful haul trucks each year. Industry giants Catepillar, Lienbherr, Komatsu, Hitachi and BelAZ are all producing machines capable of tackling the harsh demands of the mining industry, below and above ground across the globe. Austin Engineering has the enviable privilege of further optimising these machines by engineering and manufacturing equipment that epitomises cutting-edge design and technology, allowing you to achieve more than ever before.   

    Industry-led Dump Truck Body Design

    Austin Engineering partners with the mining sector to engineer site and payload-specific solutions that ensure maximum industry profitability. The features of the new Austin Engineering HPT truck body have been designed in direct response to feedback from major players in the mining sector who frequently reported frustration with OEM trays. Many companies identify excessive body mass, unacceptable carryback, and maintenance cost and duration as major limiters to optimal productivity. 

    Austin Engineering employ sophisticated technologies to validate and refine all of their cutting edge innovations.

    • CREO – 3D Modelling
    • EDEM – Curated load simulation
    • ANSYS – Fatigue prevention analysis

    Consistent industry engagement and continuous product refinement results in premium fit-for-purpose mining solutions. Austin Engineering were identified by Australians Financial Review as one of Australia and New Zealands Most Innovative Companies of 2019.

    Increase Your Dump Truck Payload

    The lighter weight but higher strength body combined with clever design create a deficit in the total mass of the loaded dump truck tray. This differential, between OEM tray and an Austin custom-engineered tray can be taken up by additional material, resulting in greater resource capacity and therefore higher dump volume per cycle. 

    The Austin Engineering HPT truck body has up to a 15% overall mass saving when compared to other Austin models which already offer considerable mass savings over most OEM truck bodies. High-tensile strength steel creates a thinner, lighter tray without sacrificing strength or durability. In fact, the HPT outperforms comparable truck bodies in both hardness and penetrability, boasting a Birnell rating greater than 450HB.  

    A slightly lowered V floor angle from 4.5° to 3° allows for flat-floor styling and capacity with V floor functionality. The V floor design drives the load to the centre of the tray and funnels it to the exit point, this enables complete tray emptying which ensures maximum payload is achieved with every dump cycle.  

    At Austin Engineering we use real world modelling techniques to guarantee projected payloads are achieved.

    Austin Ultima body


    Smart Solutions to Reduce Carryback

    Wasted load capacity, lost to machinery carryback, can be a major frustration. The V floor of the HPT dump truck body ensures maximum load transfer by funnelling the payload to the exit point. Front transitional corners carry greater risk for carryback initiation. The HPT includes a fixed corner plate of either hard chrome or super lightweight UHMWPE (Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene). The plate ensures complete tray emptying, even at ¾ tilt, without sacrificing volume or adding excessive weight.

    Optimise Your Mining Truck Maintenance

    The HPT utilises high strength steel with a Birnell rating greater than 450HB, choosing premium strength steel ensures the HPT truck body is durable and wear-resistant even in the harshest conditions. The simplified design requires less, and lower cost maintenance that is more amicable to in-field servicing, resulting in overall time and money savings for the end user. The reduced V angle from 4.5°  to 3° creates a curved body profile that is resistant to impacts through the centre loading zone. Impact capping is included into the base design to protect the body walls from damage during loading. 

    A customisable laminated rear floor plate provides additional resistance to berm dragging and paddock dumping. This enhanced protection serves to extend the life of the tub area subject to the greatest wear. 

    Austin Engineering offer continued cost savings by providing outstanding product support and extensive warranties as well as comprehensive maintenance scheduling and on and off site repairs.  

    Reduced Dump Trucks Cycle Time Equals Increased Productivity 

    The lowered V floor design, front corner transition plates, and extended canopy sides combine to ensure minimum carryback and complete tray emptying every dump cycle, even at ¾ tilt. The overall result is a quicker dump cycle time without reducing total payload. Minutes off each cycle add up to have a significant impact over the course of a day, week or month.  

    Adaptability to all Mining Applications and OEM Specifications 

    No matter the resource, no matter the OEM, Austin Engineering can optimise your productivity. The HPT can be customised to suit all major manufacturers including, Catepiller, Komatsu, Lienbherr and BelAZ. Austin HPT truck bodies are designed to comply with all OEM standard operating specifications and can be modified to suit existing OEM components. This means you can significantly upgrade your fleet and improve productivity without investing in new machines. One of Western Australia’s largest golds mine realised significant cost savings after upgrading their fleet to Austins Ultima truck bodies. The HPT promises even more flexibilty and optimisation. The tray size can be payload matched and customised to job specifications to achieve optimal payload targets specific to each application.

    Payload Matching 

    Payload Matching is largely underestimated across the industry. Mismatches between loader buckets and dump truck bodies result in less than optimal productivity. Traditionally, the easiest way to prevent such a mismatch is to invest in the same manafacturer across the work site. Austin Engineering can ensure your target payloads are reached by customising your HPT truck body to meet the specifications of your loading equipment regardless of the OEM of both the loader and heavy haulage machine. 

    Optimise Operations with Enhanced Site & Staff Safety

    Removing the longitudinal body taper affords an increase in payload spread across a lower centre of gravity. The lower centre of gravity results in improved vehicle stability when fully loaded. This enhances overall driveability and performance. Improved operator comfort, both on mining sites and on the highway results in a reduction in the risk of damage to plant, equipment, and personnel. 

    The addition of extended canopy sides provides greater spillage mitigation and further enhances site safety. Reduced overflow means less dump point restoration between cycles, which may result in a reduction in required manpower and machinery hours. 

    Committed to your Company Success

    Austin Engineering are committed to designing and manufacturing intelligent, innovative solutions that maximise productivity and profits for our clients. The HP Series is the latest advancement in Austins 50+ year relationship with the mining industry, it promises to further enhance the resource sector across the globe. Our innovative solutions maximise productivity and profits for our clients.

  • Body upgrade for haul trucks

    April 16th, 2020 | by
    Austin Ultima body read more

    A program is underway to further optimise and maximise haul fleet payloads at one of Western Australia’s major gold mines. New Ultima truck bodies by Austin EngineeringTM are being trialled on a number of the mine’s 240 tonne haulers with the potential for a fleet-wide body upgrade to continue the program that started in 2014 when Austin fitted their JECTM bodies and increased payload by more than 20 tonne per load.

    New UltimaTM Haul truck body by Austin EngineeringTM

    The new Ultima body will take the payload up to 240 tonnes per load and further maximise the haul fleet’s availability and productivity.

    The JECTM 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.

    Initially 11 bodies were ordered and ultimately the mine’s load-haul fleet was retro-fitted.

    The customised bodies lifted payload capacity to 230 tonne per load – an increase of around 20 tonne per load over the OEM bodies – a direct result of the weight differential between the OEM tray and the JECTM body. Along with increased payload the body change-out improved haul fleet availability and performance as a result of less frequent unscheduled body repairs – an outcome of the replaceable floor in the JECTM body which eliminated the need for heavy, maintenance-intensive wear liner plates

    Now, with the trial progressing, the long-serving JECTM units are due to be replaced by the unique Ultima bodies which, due to further advances in the payload capacity versus body weight equation, will lift payload to 240 tonne per load and still meet all OEM dump truck specifications.

    Advanced steel and design maximising Haul Fleet PAYload, improved efficiency and reducing costs

    The Ultima haul truck body has the potential to be a significant game-changer in haul fleet operation due to the advanced steel and design technologies.

    The lighter-weight modular design, 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 reduce total cost of ownership.

    A unique ‘V’ profile floor, designed to actively channel the load to the centre of the tray, improves machine stability and safety. 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 – the design reduces overall tray wear significantly increasing availability and improves productivity of the mine’s load-haul cycle. The miner’s expectation of the Ultima body is for 240 tonnes per load and, according to the manufacturer, when matched with the appropriate loading tool – such as the 32m3 bucket on the mine’s shovel excavator – this load figure will be consistently and efficiently achieved. Just as it did for the JECTM units, Austin will maintain a condition monitoring program for the new bodies and advise the mine on any maintenance issues.

    The miner is also using Austin truck bodies in their other operations around the world. Specialised hauler bodies have been customised to add significant value and reduce operational costs in underground mining operations.

  • Getting payload matching right

    March 26th, 2020 | by
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    Why payload matching and what’s involved in matching an excavator to a truck?

    At Austin EngineeringTM, we know that the key points are efficiency, productivity and profit and understanding factors such as site conditions, load and haul equipment and production targets.

    Anecdotal research has revealed that payload matching around achieving lowest cost per tonne is not well understood within the mining industry. 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 capex up front, the better the return on that investment, particularly around reliability and availability. The loading tool comes first, followed by the dump trucks. And, ironically, depending on the equipment package, that could be the start of issues of reduced load and haul productivity.

    So 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. 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 mining customers 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.

    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.

    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 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. A much safer system than waiting till the load is on the truck.

    Austin EngineeringTM 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, they can be objective about their recommendations around payload optimisation. Austin conforms to all OEM specifications, globally.

    The company has invested heavily in advanced software to match loading tools to truck bodies and devotes a lot of time and effort to the science of payload matching and, by extension, maximising productivity and profit for the end user.


    Contact us at Austin Engineering. 

    P: +61 7 3723 8600
    E: enquiry@austineng.com.au


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