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Loading and hauling materials on a global scale

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
January February 2014
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Saqr Port’s Volvo L350F wheeled loader
Loading up: Saqr Port's Volvo L350F wheeled loader
Loading and hauling, however achieved, is an essential part of any quarry or related operation. Getting material from A to B in the shortest time and most cost-effective manner is the key. Saqr Port is the biggest bulk handling port in the Middle Eastern region, handling materials on a global scale.

In the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, it has 12 berths and an in-port draft of up to 12m, and handles vessels up to 260m long. Efficiency and productivity have seen throughput increased by 100% in the past two years, writes Patrick Smith.

Handling an array of commodities such as clinker, silica, sand, coal, cement and, crucially, aggregates and limestone, Saqr Port boasts a berth occupancy rate of 85% across an operation that runs all-year round.

Due to its geological profile Qatar is one of the major destinations for vessels leaving the port as the neighboring state is lacking in usable aggregate quarries.

“With the growth of infrastructure development in Qatar we have witnessed a real upsurge in demand for aggregates from here in the United Arab Emirates,” says Captain Colin Crookshank, general manager at the port.

“Likewise, the limestone in the northern Emirates features an extraordinarily high grade of purity. This has made it a much sought-after commodity, particularly with regards to the manufacturing of steel in India. Indeed, last year I believe some 85% of the limestone used in Indian steel making came through this port.”

Handling some 50 million tonnes of material/year is a massive undertaking, and this is where the port’s Volvo wheeled loaders assist.

“Historically Saqr Port had Volvo L150 wheeled loaders in its fleet, purchased around 1992/1993 and still running today with over 50,000 hours, but in more recent decades bigger machines from other OEMs took hold.

“About one year ago we trialled a Volvo L350F for a month. With excellent support from Famco, the Volvo dealer in the UAE, we soon took a second L350F and then a third.”

Equipped with 6.8m rock buckets, the L350F wheeled loaders are now working 22 hours/day, every day.

While Saqr Port has a very good in-house maintenance department Captain Crookshank says that Famco has proved an excellent partner to the port, providing operator and technical training as well as all the reassurances that come with the Volvo Customer Support Agreements (CSA) and extended warranties that are in place.

“With the Volvo CareTrack system monitoring the machines and the CSAs in place to take the strain we are absolutely confident that we will be able to turn to Famco should anything go wrong with the loaders. That said, so far all three L350Fs have run like clockwork and we have had no problems whatsoever, despite them always being in use, either loading cargo or clearing berths,” says Captain Crookshank.
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Caterpillar's 972M XE wheeled loader
One of Caterpillar's new introductions: the 972M XE wheeled loader
Among introductions by Caterpillar for the European market are the new Cat 966M, 966M XE (operating weights, 23.22tonnes), 972M and 972M XE (operating weights 25tonnes) wheeled loaders, which have EU Stage IV-compliant C9.3 ACERT engines equipped with a combination of proven electronic, fuel, air and after-treatment components.  

The XE advanced powertrain, introduced with the 966K XE, continues with the 966M XE and the new 972M XE joins the product line.

Caterpillar says that the XE technology results in 25% higher fuel efficiency on average compared to machines with traditional torque converters, and simplifies operation with a two-pedal design while providing seemingly endless power.

“The 966M and 972M powertrains have also been improved with the addition of lock-up clutch torque converters standard. These new torque converters have also been matched with the engine power and hydraulics to improve performance and fuel efficiency and are another example of deep system integration,” says Caterpillar.

“These rugged planetary transmissions also have a new split-flow oil system and use new multi-viscosity oil which improves fuel economy. The deep system integration of the above new features and further axle and hydraulic improvements below result in 10% lower fuel consumption on average compared to the 966K and 972K. The new 966M and 972M are second only to the 966M XE and 972M XE in fuel efficiency.”

These models are commonly used in aggregates, sand and gravel, batch plants and industrial applications where poor underfoot conditions make traction difficult, slowing production and challenging job deadlines.

The 966M, 966M XE, 972M and 972M XE hydraulic systems also have significant design changes and customer value improvements.

“The hydraulic service centre for the 966M, 966M XE, 972M and 972M XE is now virtually identical to the rest of the M Series product line. This new consistent layout makes it easier for service technicians who work on a variety of M Series models.”

A new Aggregate Handler version of these models allows for an increase in payload of approximately 700kg in free-flowing material applications.

Also new are the 980M and 982M wheeled loaders with EU Stage IV ACERT engines.

The new all-purpose 982M joins the medium wheeled loader family, and offers payloads ranging from 9tonnes in shot rock to 11.4tonnes in aggregate applications.

“It is a perfect match for loading the largest European on-highway trucks in quarry yards, small rigid trucks in quarry pits and large articulated trucks on construction sites,” says Caterpillar.

In Poland, one of the country’s largest aggregates producers, DSS Group’s new Hitachi ZX670LC-5 is working at its quarry at Pilawa Górna in Lower Silesia.

The company took delivery of the Zaxis-5 large excavator from Polish Hitachi dealer Tona as a key part of its strategy for aggregates production at the site.
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The Hitachi ZX670LC-5 and DSS’s fleet of ADTs
The Hitachi ZX670LC-5 loads blasted materials onto DSS's fleet of ADTs
The DSS Group, owned by Dolnoslaskie Surowce Skalne, is the largest domestic producer of crushed aggregates for infrastructure projects, and has a licence to extract amphibolite (a metamorphic rock) and migmatite (a mixture of metamorphic and igneous rock) at the quarry for the next 30 years.

The Pilawa Górna plant can produce up to five million tonnes of aggregates, including: 2/8, 8/16 and 16/22mm gravel for the general and road construction sectors, and 4/31.5, 31.5/50 and 0/31.5mm mixed materials for the construction of railways.

DSS delivers aggregates to customers by rail (in bulk) and road transport within a 60km radius of the site. Quarry and plant are near a railway line and the international E67 road, perfectly located for distribution to the major road and highway projects, including the A1, A2 and A4, that are in progress or planned to start in the near future.

“We hope that the ZX670LC-5 will enhance the level of productivity on this site. Our aim is to reduce the cost of every tonne of stone extracted. To do this, we are renewing our fleet of construction machinery,” says DSS’s Janusz Rydz, who has been employed as a manager since the 40hectare site opened in 2007.

The ZX670LC-5 loads blasted materials on to DSS’s fleet of articulated dump trucks.

Experienced operator Boleslaw Gazda estimates that the ZX670LC-5 excavates and loads approximately 600-700 tonnes of materials/hour, depending on the size of the rocks. He also adjusts the work mode on the machine to suit the load and tends to switch between the ECO and PWR settings accordingly.

“The Hitachi provides a very stable platform, even working in the challenging conditions of this quarry, and the loading cycle is good. It’s also fast and precise thanks to the simplicity and efficiency of the hydraulic system,” he says.

At Sheephill Quarry, Scotland, quarried whinstone, a form of basalt, has been provided for over 40 years, and the operation has a future reserve and planning consent to continue for over 30 years.

Providing anything from armour stone to whindust, as well as Type 1, crusher run (various sizes), drainage stone (various sizes) and Gabion stone, all to highway specification, the quarry is part of an operation run by William Thompson & Son (Dumbarton), a family-run business established in 1946.

Supplied by Coatbridge-based Scotia Plant, the authorised Doosan/Bobcat dealer for the central belt of Scotland, the company has bought its first Doosan wheeled loader and crawler excavator for work on a new soil and aggregate recycling operation. The new Doosan DL450-3 large wheeled loader and DX255LC-3 excavator are working together feeding and stockpiling material for a new scalping screen.

“Our landfill and quarry operations are next to each other so we can provide a very efficient stone in and muck off service. In a bid to reduce costs, many construction companies are looking to increase their use of recycled aggregates: hence our decision to expand this area of our business. Though the virgin aggregate business continues to be very competitive, we have seen increased demand for products from our Sheephill quarry,” says company director Andrew Thompson.

The DL420-3 and DL450-3 models are part of the new generation of Doosan Stage IIIB-compliant large wheeled loaders, powered by a 13litre Scania DC13 SCR six-cylinder diesel engine with a maximum power output of 264kW at 1,800rpm. SCR technology further reduces fuel consumption by about 10%.
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Doosan DL450-3lwheeled loader
The new Doosan DL450-3lwheeled loader is working on a new soil/aggregate recycling operation
Reduced fuel consumption is also a feature of the 25tonne DX255LC-3 crawler excavator, also designed to meet Stage IIIB regulations. It is powered by a six-cylinder, turbocharged Doosan DL06K water-cooled diesel engine providing 138kW of power at 1,900rpm.

Also in Scotland, a Hyundai HL 760 wheeled loader was chosen by Waitings Drainage and Pipeline, one of 16 contractors, when working on EDF Renewables’ high-profile Fallago Rig Wind Farm project on an isolated and windy plateau on the Lammermuir Hills in County Berwickshire.

The site is one of the largest onshore wind farms to be built in the United Kingdom, and annual output will be equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 90,000 homes.

It was Waitings’ job, as winter maintenance and access support services contractor, to ensure that permanent safe access 24 hours a day, seven days a week was provided to the remote and complex project.

“The project was intense and we had to have a machine that was 100% reliable, and the Taylor and Braithwaite [County Cumbria-based Hyundai dealer] Hyundai 760 wheeled loader was unbelievably effective. The machine was modified with heavy duty snow chains and fitted with a high capacity shovel. This machine single-handedly kept this site operational.”

A GPS system was fitted to the loader with the roads mapped out on the system, allowing operators to follow the GPS in complete white-outs.

Meanwhile, what is said to be Russia’s most popular wheeled loader brand, SDLG, is employed at two sand and gravel factories in the greater Moscow area distributing the products for use in roads and buildings cropping up across the region.

With Russia still one of the world’s fastest-growing market economies, its need for infrastructure expansion has meant more roads.

At Vostok Prom Beton in the Kaluga area, 180km south-west of Moscow, the sand and gravel factory has been operating for five years, moving 300tonnes of material a day.

The factory has a fleet of 17 machines, including two SDLG LG956L wheeled loaders and also featuring excavators, bulldozers and separators.

The SDLG wheeled loaders keep going, despite the sub-zero temperatures during the long winters, and it is a similar story at the Bolshoe Snopovo sand pit, 65km north-west of Moscow, where two other LG956L wheeled loaders are at work separating rocks from sand and moving as much as 1,000m3 of sand in a ten-hour shift. It is hauled away to make concrete, being used in the construction of the new 700km Moscow-Saint Petersburg highway.

Award-winning County Wiltshire, UK-based company Hills Quarry Products decided to buy a Bell L2606E wheeled loader for the management loading and stockpiling of aggregates at its Shorncote Quarry at South Cerney, County Gloucestershire, south-west England.

“We are delighted that our L2606E has made the grade, and been incorporated into the firm’s 26-strong wheeled loader fleet,” says Robin Piper, Bell Equipment’s national accounts manager.

“Our Shorncote Quarry is a highly productive site, delivering an impressive 330,000 tonnes of aggregate material every year; so with such demanding levels of productivity we can only use truly dependable loading machinery,” says Andrew Liddle, Hills Quarry Products’ production manager.

Nick Learoyd, managing director of Bell Equipment UK, says: “It’s great news that such a prominent company as The Hills Group has selected a loader from our range against the strong competition that’s out there.  

“We have heard satisfying reports that the quarry operatives are as pleased with the operational features of the L2606E, as the company management are with the loader in terms of its specification and performance.”
wheeled loaders Bell L2606E, SDLG LG956L and Hyundai HL 760
Left: Two SDLG LG956L wheeled loaders load sand into a truck at a sand and gravel factory outside of Kaluga, Russia. Top Right: The Bell L2606E wheeled loader manages loading and stockpiling of aggregates at Shorncote Quarry. Bottom Right: In Scotland, a Hyundai HL 760 wheeled loader was chosen for work on wind farm project

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