Lhoist Germany Rheinkalk GmbH is part of the international Lhoist Group, a family-owned company that was first established in Belgium in 1889. Today, Lhoist operates 100 facilities in more than 25 countries and has 6,400 employees of more than 40 nationalities.
Lhoist is a world-leading producer of a wide range of mineral, calcic lime and dolomitic lime-based products. This large range of reagents, as well as many years of expertise, support a broad range of sectors among which the steel industry, refractories, environmental protection, construction and civil engineering, agriculture, glass and chemistry .
Lhoist Germany Rheinkalk GmbH has used Komatsu machines for the past seven years: today, its complete fleet includes 6 Komatsu Rigid Dump Trucks along with the new Komatsu PC1250-11 Front Shovel Excavator, the only Komatsu machine working at the Scharzfeld Quarry at the time.
In September 2020, Gregory Peeters, Product Manager at Komatsu Europe, visited this jobsite in Germany together with prospective customers to observe the PC1250 in action
Weighing in at almost 120 tonnes, with a with a 5300mm boom and 3800mm arm, and carrying a bucket custom-designed by Komatsu Europe specifically for this application and for the material on this jobsite, the PC1250-11 Front Shovel has all the advantages and value of the legendary backhoe version : an EU Stage V engine without SCR, the highest safety standards, hydraulically powered access/egress stairs as standard, three power modes, unrivalled reliability and durability and 578 kW of awesome Komatsu power.
Blasting is not used at the Scharzfeld Quarry. Instead, to extract dolomite, the Komatsu PC1250-11 directly rips at the face with its front shovel, which is then also used to load the truck with the loosened material, from the same ground level.
The PC1250’s “swing priority” switch gives priority to the hydraulics for the swing machinery, increasing the rotation speed of the machine, decreasing the time spent for loading the truck.
There’s only one truck on the jobsite, and it’s paramount to keep it moving back and forth from the processing plant.
The optional 1000 mm cab elevation, a special feature installed by a third party on this PC1250 - soon a Komatsu standard option- helps the operator see where the material is loaded in the truck’s body.
There is no need to build a bench, which would hold up the truck before it can be loaded. Dolomite is a relatively soft rock and the PC1250-11 is a large and heavy machine. Putting it on top of a bench could cause stability issues if the rocks beneath it were crushed under its weight and pressure.
Operators from Lhoist use the PC1250-11 in the fuel efficient E mode (or Economy mode) 100% of the time. The clean and powerful EU Stage V Komatsu engine doesn’t require the addition of DEF, doesn’t need to go to P mode or P+ mode (power mode or power plus mode) to perform well, and therefore uses less fuel. The Auto Low Idle and Auto Idle Shutdown systems further help to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions.
Custom made bucket
The bucket for this PC1250-11was custom-designed by Komatsu for Lhoist’s specific application and operating conditions.
Guillaume Wiliquet is Product Manager with the Attachment Team at Komatsu Europe.
“We made several iterations of the bucket, until the customer was completely satisfied with the proposed solution” he says. “Lhoist had used different buckets styles over the years, and knew exactly what worked and what didn’t. We could really understand where things went wrong and how we should modify our bucket to perfectly suit their needs.”
The final bucket used at the Scharzfeld Quarry has a capacity of 5.55m³, a shortened back wall and an oversized GET Hensley XS145 (instead of standard XS115). It is reinforced with steel in specific areas and the hinges and rear frame are also reinforced. The bucket’s materials are adapted as needed to suit the tough but non-abrasive operating conditions.
Comfort and Safety
The PC1250-11 proposes many standard features that increase operator comfort and safety, such as the hydraulically operated access stairs for safe and easy access and egress.
KomVision is standard, with 5 cameras providing the operator with a 270° bird’s eye view of the machine’s surroundings. The cab was redesigned for more foot space. The seat was upgraded and noise levels are the lowest for this class of machines.
When the control levers are not in neutral position, the Neutral Detection System locks the hydraulics, preventing the machine and its work equipment from moving suddenly or unexpectedly.
Mario Becker operates the PC1250-11 at the Scharzfeld Quarry. He told us: “I'm very satisfied with the PC1250-11 excavator - it convinces me in all aspects! Its speed and hydraulic power actually make work fun. Thanks to the installed features, such as the high-quality operator's seat and other in-cab accessories, I feel more relaxed when I get home. The excavator stands rock-steady even during heavy duty ripping operations and is therefore very easy on my back. Special mention should be made of the hydraulically operated stairway which gives me safe access to the machine.”
The previous Komatsu PC1250-8 model was known for its reliability and durability. The new dash-11 further improves that aspect as well: in September, at the time of Komatsu’s visit, the PC1250-11 on the Scharzfeld Quarry had been working for almost 6 months without a single major issue. This is the main loader on the jobsite and it is essential to the customer to minimize unplanned downtime as much as possible.
Dirk Metje, Lhoist Quarry Manager is very satisfied with the new machine: “The newly acquired Komatsu PC1250-11 convinces us every day with its high breakout force, its reliability, its easily accessible service doors for the daily inspection work and its high level of work safety. It impresses with its operator-friendly cab and ease of operation, which is characterized by its fast and very precise controls. Fuel consumption is also a very positive point: we see savings compared to the previous machine we were using. With remote control, installed locally, for controlling the ambient lighting, we have taken an additional step to ensure that our employees can work safely. Immediately after putting it into operation, it became an important part of our operation and even months later, no teething troubles have been detected.”
In conclusion Gregory Peeters said: “The PC1250-11 excels in any type of quarry application, thanks to its combination of power, durability and reliability, while providing a high level of safety and comfort for the operator. The introduction of the loading shovel extends the range of applications for this machine.”
And he added: “Komatsu would like to thank the people from Lhoist for their kind hospitality and for giving us the possibility for us to visit the jobsite. Everyone there was very aware of the Covid-19 pandemic and all safety measures were followed by everyone without any hesitation.”
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