Higher hauling

Bell is evolving its 4x4 articulated hauler range, while Doosan trucks are proving hauling heroes for a Basque quarrying company and Liebherr’s new TA 230 ADT is becoming a UK hit.
January 20, 2022
By Liam McLoughlin and Guy Woodford
Bell’s B30E 4x4 hauler has been upgraded with a new transmission and chassis configuration
Bell’s B30E 4x4 hauler has been upgraded with a new transmission and chassis configuration

In a competitive articulated dump truck (ADT) market where the total cost of machine ownership is more critical than ever, US-headquartered manufacturer Bell says its 4x4 ADT range is a niche solution that offers the same production as 6x6 trucks at a lower overall cost.

Bell adds that its 4x4 ADTs also retain all-weather suitability and provide higher utilisation compared to conventional rigid haulage solutions.

The 4x4 concept, first mooted eight years ago with the 60-ton Bell B60D, has evolved to the OEM’s E-series generation and now incorporates 30-ton and 45-ton models. With the growing popularity of the trucks, Bell says it is continuing to innovate on the strong platform it has created.

One of two new Doosan DA30-7 ADTs purchased by Canteras de Santullán
One of two new Doosan DA30-7 ADTs purchased by Canteras de Santullán

Bell Equipment product marketing manager Nick Kyriacos said the B45E 4x4 has recently received a new chassis with full suspension and a specifically adapted rock bin to meet the requirements of small and medium-sized mining operations even better. “As with the B60E, two oil/nitrogen shock absorbers now take over the suspension of the twin-tyred drive axle. Together with the standard adaptive ‘Comfort Ride’ front suspension, the truck offers more driving comfort adding to productivity and even better traction and braking capabilities.”

In addition to an anti-slip differential, the rear axle now also offers sensor-based automatic traction control. The space and travel of the new suspension have been designed to accommodate 21.00R35 twin tyres fitted with snow chains.

“We’ve also redesigned the bin because it was originally based on the B60E, which is mostly loaded by heavy mining excavators,” said Kyriacos. “This made it less practical to load with larger wheeled loaders, which are more common in small to medium-sized quarries where these trucks come into their own.”

The bin was lengthened and given a straight front wall, which along with the longer upper edge of the bin and better fill behaviour, enables faster loading with 3.5 to 6m³ wheeled loaders. “Both the maximum tipping height (6,485mm at 55°) and the large ground clearance of the chute (890mm) remain almost unchanged, meaning that the B45E 4x4 can still fit into existing infrastructures, such as crusher housings, better than a 6x6 truck with a longer bin,” Kyriacos added.

The exhaust gas-heated 25m³ bin with a standard width of 4,265mm (with tailgate: 26m³/4,639mm) also marks the vehicle width, however, a narrower “Narrow” bin option of the same volume, brings the width of the Bell B45E 4x4 to less than 4m.

The 4x4 range has also benefitted from Bell Equipment’s continuously evolving 6x6 ADT range in terms of drive, power, transmission, production and safety features as well as intelligent vehicle control. They feature the same six-cylinder engines from Mercedes-Benz, optimised for off-road by MTU, as their 6x6 counterparts.

Commenting on the benefits of 4x4, Kyriacos added: “By removing the third axle we’ve effectively eliminated tyre scuffing and parasitic losses have been reduced. Not only does this reduce fuel and tyre running costs, to ultimately provide a lower cost per tonne of material moved, but it also reduces the need for haul-road maintenance for further cost savings.”

The B30E 4x4 recently received an upgrade with a new transmission and chassis configuration, allowing for the fitment of Michelin 875/65R25 E3 tyres, further increasing the productivity potential of the truck. As a result, Bells says the B30E 4x4 is an economical solution for bulk handling and has found a niche in tunnelling applications and confined areas such as stock yards and ready-mix plants with its tight turning circle of 14.6m. Quarrying and smaller mining operations are suited to the larger B45E 4x4 while the B60E is engineered for high productivity in mining under all-weather conditions.

Canteras de Santullán, a family-owned, independent quarrying company, has purchased new Doosan equipment for the company’s operations in Bilbao, Bizkaia province, Spain. The new Doosan machines include two Doosan DA30-7 articulated dump trucks.

Since its foundation in 1965, Canteras de Santullán (Canteras) has been dedicated to producing limestone products for use in the construction and industrial sectors, with an annual production of more than two million tonnes of crushed ore.

Doosan equipment was chosen after a competitive bid process involving equipment from five different manufacturers. All the new machines are used to produce the limestone products and work 24 hours a day to meet demand.

The Mackay Liebherr dump truck line-up complete with drivers, from left to right Grant Sutherland, Gordon Taylor, Eddie Mackay, Jamie Allan and Craig Pirie
The Mackay Liebherr dump truck line-up complete with drivers, from left to right Grant Sutherland, Gordon Taylor, Eddie Mackay, Jamie Allan and Craig Pirie

Pedro de Andrés Sáez, general manager of Canteras, commented on the main reasons for choosing Doosan machinery: “In the first instance, we wanted machinery with the design and features we need for the specific requirements of our production process. From the beginning, Doosan was able to offer machines adapted and configured to meet these needs.

“And second, but not least, was the operational control provided by the DoosanCONNECT telematics system, available as standard on the Doosan machines. We think it is very important to monitor and control from the office the location of the machines, as well as their status, hours, fuel consumption and maintenance schedules. The DoosanCONNECT system collects all this information perfectly, offering us a complete fleet control solution.”

Working alongside Canteras’s two new Doosan DL550-5 wheeled loaders, and a Doosan DX420LC-5 crawler excavator, the new DA30-7 ADTs are used for general material-handling applications to supply the stockpiling operations.

Sáez continued: “The fact that all the machines use engines from the same manufacturer will also be a great advantage in the future when it comes to unifying spare parts and servicing procedures. But the most important factor of all is the aftersales technical service provided by Adal Exclusivas Generales, the official Doosan distributor in the area, with the support of Centrocar, the exclusive Doosan importer for Spain, Portugal, Angola, and Mozambique. As a result, the fleet of new Doosan equipment machinery is already providing significantly better productivity than the machines they have replaced.”

Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Holcim Switzerland have partnered to jointly test and further develop the use of autonomous electric haulers in a Swiss limestone quarry. Holcim’s Gabenchopf quarry in Siggenthal has been chosen as the site for the project.

Volvo AS says the battery-electric haulers currently being tested mark a groundbreaking step in the industry as they are quieter and more sustainable than conventional haulers, and are also safer. It says they are the world’s first commercially available CE-certified electric, autonomous transport solution for the quarry and cement industries.

“This project showcases a sustainable transport solution that is commercially viable and combines the technology shifts of connectivity, automation and electrification,” said Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “Through a strong partnership with Holcim Switzerland this will happen in a real environment driven by two committed companies dedicated to jointly presenting the future.”

Simon Kronenberg, CEO of Holcim Switzerland and Italy, added: “Our participation in this project represents another step towards fulfilling our sustainability objectives: we seek solutions that are both innovative and environmentally responsible and we are constantly investing in measures to reduce our ecological footprint in order to help build a sustainable future.”

For Holcim, logistics plays a major role in the world-wide efforts to reduce the impact on climate: “Here, we as a company can contribute already today while we continue to work on the development of CO2-reduced technologies and products.”

Holcim says the issue of renewable energy is related and equally important. The company says it has been using 100% renewable electrical energy at all sites since 2019 and makes a point of using only green energy for electrically powered vehicles such as the electric concrete truck mixers that are already in use.

Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Holcim Switzerland are testing electric haulers in a Swiss limestone quarry
Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Holcim Switzerland are testing electric haulers in a Swiss limestone quarry

The testing and likely deployment of electric haulers in its quarry is part of Holcim’s ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ digitisation initiative. As part of this, Holcim is testing automation technologies, robotics and artificial intelligence throughout the entire production process in order to develop innovative solutions for a safer, more efficient and more sustainable cement production.

“Volvo’s ambition is nothing less but to bring the future of infrastructure and transport solutions to our customers in a commercially viable way, and this innovative commercial project represents the next phase of this journey,” said Jaeger.

The first of Liebherr’s new articulated dump trucks to arrive in Scotland has gone into service with long-term customer Edward MacKay, and the contractor says the manufacturer has got it spot-on with the latest TA 230 model.

“I’ve not had the chance to drive the new truck but just looking at it, they have designed one of the best-looking and well-engineered trucks on the market,” said managing director Eddie Mackay.

Plant and transport manager Dean Ross also gives the vehicles the thumbs-up: “There are going to be little niggles as there always is with new kit but the design of the TA 230 seems to give us what we require in terms of build quality. It also gives the operators what they need in a comfortable and easy-to-use truck.”

The four TA 230s were given a tough baptism near Lochgilphead in Argyll where the contractor is involved in a project to upgrade overhead power lines. The haul along forest tracks is a 30-minute round trip and as Mackay explains: “We are probably at the furthest point of the haul at the moment. It will be a good test of the new trucks to see how they cope with long, laden journeys. The ground underfoot is good so that shouldn’t be an issue, but it will be a test for the operators.”

Mackay was appointed to build access roads through the forests to allow contractors access to build a line of new pylons. “Our task is to win material locally and build the haul roads in a particular section,” Mackay added. “Once the construction work is completed, we then have to remove most of the roads back to the borrow pit. We undertake everything from the soil strip through the blasting process to the load, haul, and removal of the material.”

On completion of the initial phase of construction, the Liebherrs joined several other trucks to haul material from the roads back to the borrow pit where a Liebherr R 956 stockpiles the incoming material.

All four trucks came with tailgates for the 18.1m3 bodies, allowing them to haul loose material without concerns about losing too much material on steep climbs. The exhaust-heated body is standard, as is an auto greasing system. A full array of LED lights illuminates front, sides and rear and ‘delayed access’ lighting gives the operator safe entry and exit during darker months.

Following the launch of the new Rokbak brand, the Volvo-owned manufacturer’s new RA30 and RA40 articulated haulers have made their UK debut.

The first Rokbak (formerly Terex Trucks) RA30 and RA40 units are now being delivered to international markets, and are also doing the rounds at public events in the UK. The new models from Motherwell, Scotland-based Rokbak were presented to visitors to the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland and Molson Group’s open days in England.

“Since the launch of the new brand took place virtually, for many UK customers, it was their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the rock-solid haulers in person – and they were not disappointed,” said Kenny Price, regional sales manager for EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) at Rokbak. “The striking new name and colour are hard to miss, while the hefty build embodies Rokbak’s commitment to never letting a customer down.”

The new Rokbak RA30 articulated hauler
The new Rokbak RA30 articulated hauler

Northern Ireland dealer Sleator Plant brought an RA30 to the Balmoral Show, Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event, near Belfast this September. With the new Rokbak hauler taking pride of place, Sleator Plant won an award for Best Trade Stand.

Sleator Plant specialises in the supply of machinery to the construction and material-rehandling sectors. From its workshop and parts store in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, the company says it provides high-quality, responsive service and reliable parts availability for Rokbak customers across Northern Ireland.

Rokbak dealer for Great Britain, Molson Group also introduced customers to the new articulated haulers at its open days in Bristol, this October.

The dealer has invested more than £3m in its Avonmouth depot over the last two years and was keen to show off the exciting additions to its product portfolio alongside its state-of-the-art service facilities.

Molson Group placed a static RA30 and RA40 for customers to walk around at its site, as well as giving live demonstrations of the RA30 at a local quarry.

Molson Group is one of the largest independent new and used equipment dealers in the UK with 13 strategically positioned locations, millions of pounds worth of parts and more than 70 fully trained service engineers.

Demand for haulers is beginning to rebound in France, one of the largest off-road dump truck markets in Europe. According to Off-Highway Research’s latest equipment analysis on the market, although sales were affected by the COVID pandemic 2020, a rebound over the coming years should see volumes of rigid and articulated dump trucks return to 350 units per year or more in the medium term.

This strong rebound in sales will be due partly to the abnormally low volumes last year, as well as a rise in construction work. “An important current driver is the massive investment boom in public works and residential construction amid low interest rates and state subsidies,” said the report. AB

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