• 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?

    According to David 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 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.

    According to David Pichanick, the most efficient mining bucket, excavator and truck combination in Australia at the moment is a Liebherr R9800 three-pass loading Komatsu 930E-5 dump trucks, fitted with Austin ‘Ultima’ bodies.

    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 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, 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, 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 at the moment.

    We were asked to provide the truck bodies,” he 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.
    – David Pichanick, Global Manager


    David Pichanick, Global Manager Market Development & Innovation, Austin Engineering. From Pichanick’s point of view, this is the true proof of successful payload matching.

    P: +61 7 3723 8600

  • 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
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    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

  • Austin rates as AFR Top Innovator

    August 30th, 2019 | by
    Two Piece Excavator Bucket read more

    Austin EngineeringTM has been recognised by The Australian Financial Review (AFR) as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Most Innovative Companies of 2019 for its unique two-piece excavator bucket.

    In the Agriculture, Mining and Utilities category of the annual AFR / Boss Magazine Most Innovative Companies listing, the Brisbane-based mining equipment designer and manufacturer ranked second out of more than 800 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand.

    Compilation and ranking of the annual list by a panel of expert judges is based on a rigorous assessment process. And, for the first time in 2019, organisations were ranked directly against their peers.

    The assessment process measures a unique innovation implemented in the past twelve months. Specifically, the judges look at how valuable the problem is that the innovation is solving, the quality and uniqueness of the solution, and the level of impact that the innovation has had. Cultural aspects of the company including strategies, resources and process which demonstrate a sustainable and repeatable approach to innovation are also part of the assessment process.

    Designed and manufactured in Australia by Austin EngineeringTM, the two-piece bucket features well-defined reusable upper and consumable lower structures, designed for quick and safe bucket change-outs during scheduled maintenance intervals.

    The reusable upper section has been designed to maintain overall structural integrity of the assembly for a predetermined service life through multiple change-outs of the lower, consumable, section.

    Both sections of the bucket are fabricated with combinations of high-strength steel for maximum fatigue resistance and durability. According to the company, typical baseline service life for the upper section service will be in the vicinity of 30,000 hours; approximately 4-5 years based on industry expectations of conventional one-piece buckets of similar size and capacities.

    “This is a prestigious award and we are honoured to be a recipient,” said Peter Forsyth, managing director at Austin EngineeringTM. “Our commitment to the mining industry, our industry, has been one of innovation and our product range reflects that commitment.

    “We are committed to developing and manufacturing the reliable equipment our customers demand to maintain productivity and profitability,” he added. “And we are not about to change our approach.”

    For further information, Austin EngineeringTM call 1800 996 491 or contact us at .


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