Loaders dig out impressive quarrying performance

Quarry operators are seeing major performance improvements following rollouts of cutting-edge new loading and excavating equipment.
September 7, 2023
By Liam McLoughlin
A Hyundai HL975A CVT wheeled loader is demonstrating impressive fuel economy at the LRM quarry in Lunel, France
A Hyundai HL975A CVT wheeled loader is demonstrating impressive fuel economy at the LRM quarry in Lunel, France

Following a product demonstration day organised by Hyundai dealer CS Matériel at the LRM quarry in Lunel, France, the quarrying specialists were so impressed with the HL975A CVT wheeled loader that they immediately purchased one for use at their new quarry at Pic-Saint Loup.

LRM, which stands for Languedoc Roussillon Matériaux, is 50% owned by Razel Bec (Fayat) and Eurovia (Vinci). The new LRM quarry in Hérault at Liols le Fort covers almost 27 hectares and is licensed to operate until 2047 for up to 500,000 tonnes per year, extracting limestone for concrete production.

The HL975A CVT arrived in April 2022 and had already clocked up almost 1,200 hours of operation by the end of the year. Dedicated exclusively to this quarry, it mainly loads customer trucks and works nine hours daily on-site.

A key factor in purchasing this model was the HL975A’s fuel consumption, operating at 13 litres per hour. “These machines are very economical compared with others, and in the current economic climate, we are more aware than ever of factors like fuel consumption. It’s using around three to four litres less than its equivalent competitor model – the fact that it is a CVT model also makes a difference to its fuel economy,” commented Jean-Marc Boyer, director of LRM.

Benoit Demangeot, operations manager at the quarry, added: “Our number one priority is service, and the dealer has made a huge difference. If we have a problem, our dealer responds quickly, which is crucial – our machines can’t be inactive; we need them running all the time. We have confidence in this machine and the brand, and above all, we have confidence in Thierry Jacquot of CS Matériel. His serious approach and professionalism make all the difference.”

He continued: “Our operator is full of praise for this model. There’s no lack of adjectives: flexible, robust, comfortable – we can’t ask for more.”

The new Volvo EC380E Hybrid excavator saves up to 15% fuel compared to its non-hybrid counterpart

At a lava stone quarry in Sicily, a Hyundai HX520A NL excavator is demonstrating all of its power in carrying out stone extraction and crushing work. Intramoviter specialises in lava stone extraction, crushing, earthmoving and transportation. Its quarry, the true heart of the company, is based in Contrada Incaria, at Belpasso, in the Sicilian province of Catania. Located on the slopes of Mount Etna, the site focuses on extracting inert lava aggregates that stand out for their unique characteristics: lava rock is a strong and particularly durable material used in street furniture and architecture.

Intramoviter is a family-owned company founded in 1990 which handles the extraction and distribution of inert lava aggregates for construction work.

Natale Consoli, a veteran operator with the company, explains: “In this quarry, formed entirely of lava stone, we crush the rocks with a hydraulic hammer, reducing them to pieces of roughly eighty centimetres in size, which are then collected in buckets and loaded on lorries. They are then transported from the quarry to the crushing plants, where they are transformed into sand, cobbles and chippings.”

The new Hyundai HX520A NL excavator has been operating in this setting for several months - it is equipped with a Cummins Stage V engine, delivering all of the power needed for particularly demanding applications of this type, while at the same time reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

Consoli says: “It is a machine that we really needed for speeding up the extraction phase. The power and the geometric capacity of the boom enables us to reach greater heights - optimising our time and resources. Despite weighing fifty metric tons, this Hyundai excavator is very agile.”

Giuseppe Pappalardo, the owner of Ct Macchine, Hyundai Construction Equipment’s Sicilian dealer, adds: “The customer needed a powerful and sturdy, but also agile, precise and safe machine. In fact, the operation of rock fracturing and extraction is not simple: it is necessary to drill at very precise spots on the slope to avoid the risk of being crushed by large boulders.”

The first EC380E Hybrid excavator from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) to be put to work on a customer site in Europe is already proving it can deliver big savings.

The large hybrid crawler excavator is being used by Eichstetter at its gravel works in Fürth, Germany, to extract mountain gravel for use in the production of high-quality building material and aggregates.

Thanks to its unique hydraulic hybrid technology, the excavator can capture and store the energy generated in the boom down motion to drive the assist motor and power the engine.

Eichstetter is seeing fuel savings of up to 15% in comparison to its conventional machine equivalent.

Family firm Eichstetter is the first in Europe to operate a Volvo EC380E Hybrid. A large crawler excavator, it delivers the same power and performance as its conventional equivalent, but with greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

Quarry company CBA’s customised Hitachi ZX350LC-7 excavator
Quarry company CBA’s customised Hitachi ZX350LC-7 excavator

This is something that Eichstetter is seeing at its gravel pit near Fürth in Germany, where the machine has been operating since Autumn 2022, excavating mountain gravel, the so-called tertiary gravel which was deposited 10-15 million years ago. The company has been measuring the performance of its new machine versus a conventional EC380E – and the results are impressive, with the hybrid technology delivering fuel savings up to 15%.

“The Volvo EC380E Hybrid is more economical,” says Ludwig Eichstetter, co-managing director of Eichstetter. “It has about the same fuel consumption as our Volvo EC300E. But where the EC300E manages about 2,500 cubic metres a day, the Volvo EC380E Hybrid manages over 3,000!”

Volvo CE's hybrid technology generates energy from the lowering movements of the excavator boom.

Featuring unique hydraulic hybrid Volvo technology, the EC380E Hybrid harvests free energy from the boom down motion. This regular and powerful lowering movement pressurises a hydraulic accumulator, which in turn uses this energy to drive the auxiliary hydraulic motor to support the engine system when needed. All this whilst delivering the same level of control and performance as a conventional EC380E, including the ability to operate in ECO and hybrid modes in parallel.

Depending on the type of application, Volvo CE’s hybrid technology promises fuel savings of up to 17% as well as CO2 emission savings of around 15%. And this is something Eichstetter was determined to put to the test. The firm already had a conventional EC380E in its fleet, so comparing the two machines over a period of weeks was straightforward. The EC380E Hybrid delivered a fuel saving of around 10 to 15% depending on the use and operator handling the machine.

The new EC380E Hybrid fills the Volvo A25G quickly and efficiently - saving up to 15 percent fuel compared to its non-hybrid counterpart.

Ludwig Eichstetter says: “Fuel savings are higher when the machine is optimally positioned on the debris. Lowering and lifting must be in the right proportion so that the energy gain is optimised. To fully exploit this potential, it also depends a lot on the driver. Driving the hybrid machine is a constant learning process.”

Founded in 1938 as a transport company, Eichstetter is a family business specialising in sand and gravel mining, recycling, demolition and earth preparation. Today the firm is led by Helmut and Ludwig Eichstetter and employs 35 people.

Machines from Volvo CE have long been the equipment of choice for Eichstetter, who value their efficiency. The company operates eight Volvo wheeled loaders with operating weights of between three and 45 tons, as well as four wheeled excavators - two Volvo EW160E’s and two Volvo EW220E’s – plus a Volvo EC300E crawler excavator. When the need for a larger crawler excavator became apparent, the firm turned to Volvo CE dealer, Robert Aebi, with whom it has been working for more than 20 years.

Specialist quarrying company CBA has recently taken delivery of a customised ZX350LC-7 medium excavator, supplied by Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe’s approved dealer, Prowimat.

A subsidiary of Eurovia and the VINCI Group, CBA is responsible for the extraction of one million tonnes of aggregates per year. The new Zaxis-7 machine will be based in Hautes-Alpes, in the village of Montmaur.

CBA’s newest fleet addition is intended to replace an older ZX350LCN-5 to assist with loading dump trucks and breaking rocks with a hydraulic rock-breaker attachment. This demanding work requires the most durable of machines, hence the company’s decision to invest in a Zaxis-7 model.

As per the customer’s request, Prowimat’s talented team has ensured the medium excavator is quarry-ready. To further enhance durability, safety and operator comfort, it has been equipped with: bucket cylinder protection; a travel alarm; auto lubrication system; cab air compressor; fire extinguisher; three track guards; and 600mm double grouser shoes. Additionally, the cab’s front and top guards have been specially reinforced. The machine sale also included an extended warranty and maintenance contract. So far, the team at CBA is extremely pleased with its purchase, the customisation provided by Prowimat, and the performance of the -7 model.

Caterpillar has launched the new Cat 995 wheeled loader which features up to 19% increased productivity than the previous 994K model with its higher rated payload and 6% increase in hydraulic force with equal hydraulic cycle time.  The new loader is claimed to deliver up to 13% lower hourly fuel consumption and offer up to an additional 8% efficiency gain when operating in Enhanced Eco Mode compared to throttle-lock mode. It is also up to 19% more efficient than the 994K in equal comparisons of throttle-lock operation. Enhancements to the front linkage include an improved casting design, increased weld size, larger bearings and pins, and profile changes for increased service life. New, larger capacity buckets available for the 995 incorporate an extended floor for fast loading, high fill factors reaching 115%, and excellent material retention. Buckets are interchangeable between the 995 and 994K.

The new Cat 995 wheeled loader has a higher payload than its 994K predecessor
The new Cat 995 wheeled loader has a higher payload than its 994K predecessor

Built to the same size as the 994K but offering a higher rated payload, the new 995 is designed to enable a one-pass reduction when loading Cat 785, 789 and 793 Mining Trucks. This equates to up to a 33% increase in production and efficiency when loading the 785, up to a 25% increase with the 789 and up to a 20% increase with the 793.  

The new 995 meets the global industry's demand for high production and greater payloads with its powerful Cat 3516E engine offering configurations based on regional needs, meeting EU Stage V/U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final or U.S. EPA Tier 1 equivalent emissions. Its 39% torque rise ensures high lugging forces during digging and acceleration in high rimpull conditions.

Caterpillar is also celebrating the production of the 50,000th Cat wheeled excavator.

In 1984, Caterpillar, Eder and Zeppelin Baumaschinen, the Cat dealer in Germany, introduced a new wheeled excavator line, offering four models under the Cat Eder brand. Eight years later, the line became a 100% Cat product with a designated wheeled excavator team. Twenty-eight years later, in 2012, Caterpillar celebrated production of its 25,000th wheeled excavator. This year, Caterpillar announces production of its 50,000th wheeled excavator, a Cat M318 Next Gen model, adding another 25,000 units to the total in just 11 years.

Europe and South Korea were among the first adopters of this new solution. However, the combination of speed, power, versatility and ability to operate a wide range of hydraulic tools has the Cat wheeled excavator line growing in popularity in China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North America and other world markets. Starting with only four models, today’s expanded Cat wheeled excavator line includes seven models – Cat M314 to M322 – for markets with higher emissions regulations, one model – M315 GC – for China, three models – M315 to M320D2 –for those adhering to lower emissions standards, the M323F railroad-specific model, and four materials handlers from the MH3022 to MH3040.

As the authorised dealer for Belgium, Evergem-based Interparts will be showing a wide range of products from Develon, formerly known as Doosan Construction Equipment, for the first time in Belgium at the Matexpo exhibition.

The Interparts stand display will present a comprehensive selection of wheeled and crawler excavators, mini-excavators and wheeled loaders from Develon.    

Being held from 6-10 September 2023 at the Kortrijk XPO in the city of Kortrijk, one of the biggest multi-purpose indoor arenas and convention centres in the Benelux region, Matexpo is an international trade fair showcasing machinery and equipment for the construction industry.

Interparts is showing five machines from the latest-generation Develon DX-7 wheeled excavator range, namely the DX140W-7, DX165WR-7, DX170W-7, DX190W-7 and DX210W-7 models from 15.8 to 21.9 tonne.

The dealer is also exhibiting the DX140LCR-7 15.6 tonne and DX235LCR-7 24.3 tonne reduced tail-swing models from the Develon range of medium-sized DX-7 Stage V crawler excavator models, giving operators greater flexibility where space is a premium without sacrificing performance. The stand display will also include the larger DX255LC-7 25.7 tonne, DX300LC-7 33 tonne and DX350LC-7 36.1 tonne Stage V crawler excavators from the ‘DX-7’ range.

In addition, the Interparts stand will be displaying several models from the Develon range of wheeled loaders. They include the larger DL220-7, DL320-7, DL420-7 and DL480-7 machines from the award-winning DL-7 range, providing easier and faster loading with maximum bucket capacities from 2.3 to 4.8 m3.

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