Loading up a range of applications

Companies are deploying new loading equipment in a diverse number of activities including Portland Stone operations, waste recycling and concrete production.
Loading, Hauling & Excavation / January 19, 2021 6 mins Read
By Liam McLoughlin
Albion Stone uses three Volvo L150H loading shovels for the extraction and rehandling of Portland Stone
Albion Stone uses three Volvo L150H loading shovels for the extraction and rehandling of Portland Stone

Albion Stone has taken delivery of a new Volvo L150H loading shovel for its Portland Stone extraction operations in south-west England.

The wheeled loader joins two existing L150s that Albion Stone acquired in 2014 and 2016, and will operate at the Jordans and Bowers mines on the Isle of Portland in Dorset.

The new arrival will take over the primary duties of extracting and rehandling blocks of Portland Stone from the mine face, as well as conveying them to the stock yards and designated block-cutting areas of the works.

Hitachi’s new 193-tonne EX2000-7 ultra-large hydraulic excavator
Hitachi’s new 193-tonne EX2000-7 ultra-large hydraulic excavator

“Our original machine has clocked up over 10,000 hours, so we considered it was time to replace this with a fresh machine and put the older unit onto secondary duties,” says Albion Stone operations manager Dan White.

Unlike the two older units that had to be supplied with reduced height operators’ compartments, the new L150H has been supplied with a conventional cab. White says that, since those machines were delivered, Albion Stone has made a significant investment in its drilling operations inside the mines to increase the roof horizon and maximise production capability.

“This means we can now utilise a conventional loading shovel without a significant amount of modification,” says White. “Furthermore, having such a reduced cab height meant our operators had a restricted field of view, so using a standard cab means better visibility and, ultimately, a more conventional machine to sell on if we so wish in the future.”

The new L150H features a hydraulic quick hitch, to facilitate the easy change-over of the existing attachments from the previous machines. These include a 3.8m³ spade nose rock bucket for cleaning up, as well as heavy-duty 1,500mm block-handling forks that are capable of handling blocks weighing anything from seven to 12 tonnes. Whilst the L150H has plenty of breakout torque to prise the majority of part-sawn blocks from the mine face, there is the occasional need to encourage some more awkward blocks away from the face; particularly from the mine roof.

To counterbalance the weight of the blocks, the machine has been fitted with Goodyear RL 5K wheel and tyre assemblies, with the rear pair being water- and glycol-ballasted and an optional block-handling counterweight. Other safety features for working underground include an Ardent twin-agent fire-suppression system, fire resistant hydraulic oil, Pyrojacket-sleeved fuel lines, a double pole battery isolator and a Chelwyn valve to meet mine regulations, while also reducing the risk of fire. The operator’s compartment benefits from a heavy-duty bar-type screen guard and additional LED work lights.

Powered by a 13-litre, 227kW Stage V engine, the 26-tonne L150H benefits from powertrain components designed by Volvo. This combination coupled to other fuel-saving devices, such as the Volvo ‘Eco pedal’, encourages the operator to run the machine at its optimum rpm in the engine’s torque curve. ‘Optishift’ with torque converter lock-up also makes the L150H a highly efficient and productive loading shovel for its size class.

Albion Stone has been involved with the Portland Stone industry for nearly three quarters of a century, quarrying the Oolitic Limestone that is reputed to be 145 million years old from the Basebed, Whitbed and Roach seams for over thirty years.

In recent years, the company has switched its extraction operations from quarrying to mining. This process has made a significant reduction on its environmental impact, making Portland Stone an economical yet sustainable choice that compares favourably with many alternative construction materials. The extracted material is highly desired for prestigious buildings, and features in many famous edifices – for example, in London where recent projects include the new Chelsea Barracks, Green Park Underground Station, the Bulgari Hotel and Eagle Place, Piccadilly.

BTU Hartmeier is operating a new Hyundai HL960A wheeled loader
BTU Hartmeier is operating a new Hyundai HL960A wheeled loader

German waste-handling company BTU Hartmeier has been operating a new Hyundai HL960A wheeled loader in its fleet since the start of 2020.

The 19-tonne HL960A is powered by a Cummins QSB6.7 Stage V (168 kW) engine, and features a tipping bucket with 7m3 high-lift and 3.3m3 capacity.

Hitachi Construction Machinery is planning to launch the ultra-large EX2000-7 hydraulic excavator in October 2021.

The EX2000-7, suitable for small-to medium-sized mining and quarrying operations, is remodelled from the EX1900-6 and the manufacturer claims it consumes up to 19% less fuel while maintaining the same productivity.

Hitachi CM says the EX2000-7 has high durability of structural parts achieved by the design employed on the current EX-7 series machines and it can incorporate support services for repair works and inspections based on ICT (information and communication technology) and IoT (the Internet of Things). It is also said to achieve higher fuel efficiency due to features including an entirely new hydraulic circuit and the addition of a work-mode selection function.

At an operating weight of 193 tonnes, the EX2000-7 is one of the smaller Hitachi EX-7 ultra-large excavators.

The EX2000-7’s impressive 19% fuel saving has been achieved through a range of newly designed, energy-efficient features that have made the engine more compact while retaining productivity. Hitachi says that, when compared with its predecessor the EX1900-6, the EX2000-7 can save as much as 460 tons of CO2 emissions per year per machine.

An all-new hydraulic control system has been developed and, for the first time, employed for an ultra-large hydraulic excavator which allows more precise management of the hydraulic oil flow in each control valve throughout the digging and loading cycle.

In the EX2000-7’s new hydraulic circuit, the oil flow rate to each cylinder (for boom, arm, or bucket) and swing motor is independently controlled for each operational pattern such as excavation, swinging or dumping and the load to the front-end attachment optimises energy efficiency of the system. Thus, fuel consumption is kept as low as possible.

One of Tees Valley’s two Liebherr L 550 XPower loaders in operation
One of Tees Valley’s two Liebherr L 550 XPower loaders in operation

BTU Hartmeier has its headquarters in Unterschleissheim, which is just north of Munich. The group was founded in 1996 and is split into two divisions, Waste Disposal and Service. The Waste Disposal division works at Unterschleissheim and the Service division at Augsburg and in total employs 120 staff. The company disposes of waste from construction sites in a radius of 50km around Munich and ensures that the recycling of waste materials and recyclables is correctly classified. The company’s annual output is 130,000 tonnes, and in the region of 7,000 containers and skips are needed to manage this volume of materials.

A large fleet of construction machines work on loading and feeding the crushers on the 15,000m² treatment site in Unterschleissheim and at further sites, in and around the area, belonging to the group. The company has four Hyundai wheeled loaders which have been operating since 2010.

Johann Hartmeier Jun., whose responsibilities include the fleet of twenty construction and transfer loading machines and 80 trucks, said he opted for the new Stage V machine from Hyundai because of its power, fuel consumption and ergonomics.

“The superb, rapid service from Hyundai Construction Equipment service partner Fischer & Schweiger was another deciding factor in the purchase,” he added. “Features on the machine include solid rubber tyres, which make for easy working in often sharp-edged recycling material. The high-lift tipping bucket is also required for loading high-edged and walking-floor semitrailers. The tipping height of the high-lift bucket is 4,200mm.”

The machine will be in use for around 2,500 operating hours per year. Hyundai-authorised dealer Fischer & Schweiger from Zusmarshausen near Augsburg provides service care on all of the company’s wheeled loaders and some of its transfer loaders.

Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe (HCEE) says it launched the new A-series at the bauma 2019 show due to the sustained strong demand for large wheeled loaders in the European market.

Two Liebherr wheeled loaders are helping to meet the demands of increased production at concrete batching company Ready Mix Tees Valley.

One of the L 550 XPower loaders is operating at Ready Mix Tees Valley’s newly-opened plant on the banks of the River Tees in north-east England, and another at a new company facility in Leeds.

The new Caterpillar 963 is designed to work effectively on slopes
The new Caterpillar 963 is designed to work effectively on slopes

Ready Mix Tees Valley MD James Greenwood says the reliability of the L 550 XPower is enabling the company to cope with the increased production.

“We had used a number of shovels for stocking the [Tees] plant since we started operations,” he said. “Both manufacturers’ products had caused us some issues with reliability and build quality. That was something we couldn’t afford with the increase in production from the new batching plant.”

Liebherr GB’s wheeled loader product specialist Michael Atkinson and area sales manager Carl Longhorne suggested a trial of an L 550 XPower at the Tees plant, and Ready Mix Tees Valley was impressed by its fuel consumption of less than six litres per hour, cab comfort and productivity.

Tees Valley has joined forces with another local family-owned firm Shire Aggregates, which occupies part of the large yard area. It imports aggregates by ship from around the UK which are then screened, with more than 80% used by Tees Valley for concrete production.

Tees Valley claims to be the largest concrete supplier in the area, producing 50,000m3 last year.

As well as the two loaders, Tees Valley has bought four HTM 905 Liebherr mixers, mounted on Mercedes-Benz chassis and provided by Northside Truck & Van which has a rolling-stock mixer truck programme with Liebherr.

The mixers are highly specified and include user-friendly features such as remote grease points, sub-frame covers and the Litronic EMC Controller.

The company was launched in 2008 when James gave up his position with a major pharmaceutical company to invest in concrete. Tees Valley now operates two depots on the banks of the Tees, in addition to the new Leeds facility.

Caterpillar has launched the new 963 Track Loader in Europe, a replacement for the 963K model.

Cat says the new crawler loader combines the versatility to dig, load, carry and fill with up to 10% better fuel efficiency, more productivity and cab and controllability improvements. The 963 meets EU Stage V emission standards, provides power of 151kW (202hp) and has an operating weight of 20,358kg.

Mecalac has launched a telematics offer across its excavator range
Mecalac has launched a telematics offer across its excavator range

The loader features an updated cab with suspension seat and adjustable armrests/controls, an intuitive 254mm touchscreen dash display and a standard high-definition rear-view camera. The Slope Indicate feature is designed to make operation easier by showing machine mainfall and cross slope right on the display.

There are two steering/control options. The joystick option provides familiar controls for operators experienced with skid steers/compact track loaders, and the more traditional V-lever/foot pedal controls can also be chosen. With either control scheme, operators can set implement response – fine, normal, coarse – to match operator preference or application.

The 963 is powered by a Cat C7.1 engine that produces 15% more peak torque than the previous model for more power to the ground under load.

Cat says that up to 10% fuel consumption reduction is achieved with the Auto Mode that will adapt the engine speed to the load. Eco Mode uses even lower speed for further reduction in fuel consumption in lighter duty applications. Power Mode will keep engine speed high to feel readily available power at all times. An optional Performance Series bucket is claimed to boost productivity by up to 20%, while an optional Fusion Quick Coupler enables fast attachment changes. A variety of buckets, forks and other tools can be shared among track loaders, wheeled loaders and other Fusion-compatible machines.

Doosan Infracore Europe has launched the new 43-tonne DX420LC-7 crawler excavator.

The DX420LC-7 is powered by the new Scania DC13 Stage V-compliant diesel engine, providing 257 kW (344.4 HP) of power.

Doosan Infracore says the Scania engine uses super-efficient DOC/DPF+SCR after-treatment technology to offer a new solution to exceed Stage V regulations that does not require exhaust gas recirculation. This is combined with the new generation Smart Power Control Technology (SPC3) to provide 3-10% better fuel efficiency (m3/l) than the previous DX420LC-5 model.

There are now four power modes available, which is intended to simplify the operation of the new DX420LC-7 excavator compared to the more complex choice of eight power modes and SPC combinations in the previous generation machine. The operator can set the power mode (P+, P, S or E) in both one-way and two-way working modes.

Doosan Infracore says that, by bringing together the SPC3 system and a new Doosan Mottrol main control valve, the new DX420LC-7 also offers 2% more productivity than the DX420LC-5 in company tests, ensuring the best digging, swing and tractive forces together with the best lifting performances for this size of machine.

The new cab in the DX420LC-7 model features a touch-enabled colour LCD gauge panel with 30% larger 20.32cm size screen.

A stereo system is integrated in the cab’s gauge panel (with Bluetooth streaming function), in addition to a keyless start system, enhanced interior cab design, improved air conditioning/defrost performance, seat heating (2-step), 360o cameras, and LED-type cab-space lamp.

The Doosan DX420LC-7 excavator offers improved fuel efficiency
The Doosan DX420LC-7 excavator offers improved fuel efficiency

Optional cab features include ultrasonic detection of obstacles, LED lights, side protection, catwalk and air compressor.

As standard, 360° cameras provide full visibility around the excavator and allow the operator to see a top-down view of the area outside the machine. The camera array comprises a front camera, two side cameras and a rear camera. The camera display is separated from the gauge panel.

Mecalac Construction Equipment UK has been running a promotion for telematics-based fleet management across its portfolio of MCR, MWR, MTX and 15MC excavators.

Operators were offered the chance to equip their latest models with telematics functionality and a two-year subscription to MyMecalac Connected Services for less than £400. The offer lasted until 17th October 2020.

Launched earlier this year, MyMecalac Connected Services is designed to help operators minimise downtime and optimise productivity through real-time equipment data. It provides detailed insight into fuel consumption, unit productivity, service reminders, maintenance alerts, remote diagnostics and geofencing capability.

The Mecalac MCR excavators can switch from compact tracked excavator (with a top speed of 10 km/h) to loader (with 360° rotation capability) within seconds. Available in three variants – 6MCR (0.49m2 bucket capacity), 8MCR (0.53m2 bucket capacity) and 10MCR (0.75m2 bucket capacity) – each unit is powered by a 55kW engine.

Japan-based Kobelco is this year celebrating nine decades since it created Japan’s first electric mining shovel in 1930, an innovation that would go on to have a significant impact on both the business and the worldwide loading-equipment sector.

One of Kobelco’s most important innovations to date has been the development of hybrid technology. It claims to be the first major excavator manufacturer to instigate hybrid development in 1999. This forward-thinking led to the reveal of a hybrid excavator (HE-01) in 2007, followed by sales of the hybrid excavator 80H (8-tonne class) in 2010. Demand for a larger category hybrid machine was realised with the S–200H-9 8217; Kobelco’s first 20-tonne class hybrid excavator, before the SK210HLC-10 was launched in 2017 – which Kobelco says is the world’s first hybrid excavator to use lithium-ion technology.

A major milestone for Kobelco in the last decade was the reestablishment of the Kobelco Construction Machinery Europe (KCME) headquarters in Almere, the Netherlands, in 2013. Over the past seven years, the company says this important base has provided an efficient and responsive service and full aftersales support for its European customers across 64 dealers and 270 outlets in 60 countries.

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