• 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
    Getting payload matching right read more

    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

  • Austin Westech™: a 50-year relationship with the global mining industry

    September 5th, 2019 | by
    50th Anniversary read more

    Westech™ has been designing and manufacturing customised mining truck bodies for more than fifty years.  Peter Forsyth, Austin’s managing director, reflects 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.  What were their plans and what were the goals because today, some fifty 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, Mr 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 U.S. a body designed and manufactured by Westech™ for a Liebherr T282C Ultra Class haul truck set a record at 405.78 tonnes (447.3 tons), or a volume of 470.35M3 (615.2 cubic yards). 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,” Mr Forsyth said.  “The Flow Control Body still 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 EngineeringTM in a move which 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 EngineeringTM prior to the acquisition.)

    “The acquisition was a good fit with us and complemented our own growing range of engineered mining industry equipment,” said Peter Forsyth.  “It also expanded our technical and design capabilities and gave us direct access to the extensive experience bank Westech™ had build up since delivering its first body in 1969.”

    Today, Austin EngineeringTM 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.

    For further information, Austin EngineeringTM Australia.  P: 61 7 3723 8600

  • New Stairway Access Tank is largest and safest

    September 5th, 2019 | by
    New Stairway Access Tank is largest and safest read more

    Austin EngineeringTM recently delivered Australia’s largest water tank to an open pit coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

    Designed and manufactured by Austin EngineeringTM, the Stairway Access Tank (SAT) has an innovative stairway that improves access for maintenance personnel and, inside the tank, a corrugated baffle design that reduces surging to improve truck stability by up to 18%.  The result is increased operator and site safety.

    Custom-built to suit either 170mt (190t) or 220mt (240t) class haul trucks, the new Austin SAT features large access ports in the baffles, giving a direct line of travel inside the tank.

    Along with improving safety this unique feature also reduces costs and increases access and manoeuvrability for personnel and equipment inside the tank when performing confined space maintenance work.

    Additionally, to improve the worksite environment inside the tank during maintenance periods an air exchange system has been included in the design.

    A large fill port, that incorporates a trash screen, is located in a recessed channel behind the water dam and the tank bottom has a natural sump for ease of cleaning and tank draining.

    For more information, Austin EngineeringTM.  P: 1800 996 491  E: . www.austineng.com


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