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Articulated dump truck technology advances

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
2010 May June
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Liebherr TA230
Liebherr's TA230 is the first model in its new ADT range

Articulated dump trucks are ideal haulers for many quarries and now there are more machine options available. ABE reports.

With capital expenditure under scrutiny, the lower cost of articulated dump trucks (ADTs) over rigid alternatives is making them an attractive hauling option. Quarry operators also have more to choose from with Liebherr launching its first ADT and Terex, Volvo, Hydrema and Bell upgrading their ranges.

Liebherr's ADT range has been long awaited by the industry and the first model to be launched is the 30tonne TA230, which will be followed by 40 and 50tonne models in the near future. According to the company, the long development programme was due to early trials of an innovative hydrostatic driveline but this did not meet expectations, so the new range features a conventional driveline.

The machine is being made available in Liebherr's rental fleet, allowing customers to try the truck before they opt to buy it, while the firm's existing supply deal with Bell for ADTs will be phased out.

Terex has also announced that its TA30 and TA40 articulated dump trucks are to be replaced by the new TA300 and TA400 models. The trucks have been developed as a result of in-depth testing in South Africa and Terex has said that the new model offers significant improvements in terms of operator comfort, as well as productivity and reliability.

"The truck's improvements are a direct result of listening to our customers and taking on board the improvements they wanted us to make," explained Terex global product manager for ADTs, George McNeil.

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Terex TA400
Terex has upgraded its range with the new TA300 and TA400.

Denmark-based Hydrema has also improved its ADT offering with cab upgrades on its 912 and 922 models, as well as a new self-levelling front axle suspension on the 922. The cab is wider than its predecessor and is shared with the backhoe range. More glazing combines with soft-touch materials lining the cabin, along with improved sound insulation and a better all-round view, said the company. As a result, noise levels have tumbled too, it claimed.

Meanwhile, Bell has upgraded its range with the latest version of its fleet management system Fleetm@tic, which is available as standard on Mark VI models of its ADTs. For the first time the system is available as a cost-free basic version - although a one-off activation fee is charged - and can be upgraded and customised retrospectively.

The company has said that with a new global satellite provider (Iridium) and state-of-the-art transceiver technology (Quake Global) both coverage and data performance have been enhanced significantly.

Speciality solutions

Both Bell and Volvo have released alternative versions of their ADT ranges which use the chassis to provide other uses for the trucks.

While the load body is a traditional 'attachment' for articulated haulers, Volvo said that several other effective hauling solutions can now be easily developed.

Second life

France-based ECT (Enviro - Conseil - Travaux) has made ADT history by having two of its Cat 740 Ejector articulated trucks rebuilt under the Caterpillar Certified Power Train (CPT) service. According to Cat, these are the first rebuilds for ADTs in the world challenging the traditional concept that rigid trucks can be rebuilt but ADTs cannot. Both rebuilds were carried out by the French Cat dealer Bergerat Monnoyeur.

"The CPT service presented us with a more cost-effective option," explained ECT directeur d'Exploitation Pascal Beslay. "It allows us to take advantage of a machine with a practically new engine, transmission and axles, and with external renovation, for around only 50% of the price of a new machine. That includes a three year extended warranty on the complete power train. And we could also be certain that the experience and expertise of our Cat dealer's technical staff would guarantee a first class renovation job."

An initial study was undertaken to evaluate potential benefits, followed by detailed machine inspections and planning. Only then was the renovation process and thorough performance testing carried out. For each of the two machines, the total process - including dismantling renovation, painting and reassembly - took approximately 1200 hours, and the two machines are now back at work.

"For us the 740 Ejector is perfect with its 38tonne payload and long service intervals, the trucks have proved to be just as productive for us underground as a normal 740 articulated truck would working on the surface. Using it, we can move up to 50,000m3 of material per month working a single shift pattern", said Beslay.

But even the toughest machines have limited lives, and by 2009 it was evident that, with over 8000 operating hours, ECT would soon have to consider replacing them.

"We're a company whose primary concern is sustainability, and whose whole business is related to conservation and restoration of the environment. So it does not make sense simply to scrap and replace a machine when there's a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative?" said ECT's environmental consultant Joel Labille."It's a solution you can't argue with," said Beslay. "The operational life of the two machines has been extended by at least 50%. Like the kind of work we do, it's a perfect example of sustainability in action."
Using E-Series articulated tractors, with a standard or extended frame as a base, bodybuilders, often in cooperation with Volvo dealers, can create a wide range of off-highway specials such as hook lift, container hauler, concrete mixer, construction tractor, pipe carrier, wood chipper or timber transporter, "satisfying customers' needs in different segments." Bell Equipment has joined forces with Palfinger and has also developed a new version of its ADT chassis with a hooklift solution.

According to Bell, the excellent off-road qualities and high loading capacities with low ground pressures are the main advantages of modern 6x6 ADT for hooklift and container operations. The company has said that the system could be used for deposit management with targeted tipping of debris, the transport of high tonnages in industrial works or in areas with restricted load capacities of the existing road surfaces.

The company has developed the system because although various ADT-based hooklift solutions have been made in the past, these have been bespoke and expensive. Bell has built a hooklift ADT for the domestic market in South Africa since 2002 and this has been available in the UK since 2006, but the company has developed this new model for the international market.

The new model features the 30tonne capacity Palfinger Giant G30 hooklift system. According to Bell, the double-articulation system ¬also matches very well to the high chassis and is capable of moving containers of different sizes from 5 to 7m with its telescopic arm.

While the special solution versions of ADTs may not all have quarry applications, the flexibility of the design underlines the versatility of the trucks and goes someway to explain the machine's popularity in smaller quarries in Europe.

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