by Udo Rypstra

Trucking more for less

Innovative idea for vehicles in the South African mining industry

Using light materials for unusual vehicles for mining
Innovative ideas for vehicles

Rising fuel costs have driven operators to look for areas in which to reduce their input costs and gain the competitive advantage in a tough market. The use of aluminium in the construction of load bodies provide operators with a substantial payload advantage over equivalent steel constructed load bodies. This payload advantage has been proven in the aggregate, mining and construction markets.

What therefore drew a lot of attention at the Electra Mining exhibition at Nasrec recently was Alutip’s new GR8-8 aluminium side-tipping tandem interlink, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country which, if linked to a Renault Premium Lander 380.26 6x4 truck-tractor, offers a massive maximum payload of 38 tons. Alutip says this translates into 8% more legal payload than usual and savings of  8% each on fuel and toll fees and 40% on licensing fees.

Founded in Waltloo, Pretoria, just over five years ago, Alutip has become one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers of lightweight, yet heavy duty aluminium tipper and load bodies.  

Alutip says its load bodies are heavy duty units constructed of hard wearing alloys to provide operators with durable and tough products combined with the payload advantage of aluminium. All products have been designed by experts and field tested under tough conditions to prove the durability and reliability of the designs.

At Electra Mining, some of its bodies were displayed at the stand of Renault Trucks, which is well-known in the mining sector for its relatively light but robust Kerax range of trucks as they can be adapted for a wide variety of application needs. 

At Electra Mining, Renault  featured three of its units: One was the Kerax 440.42 8x4 rigid powered by a 321 kW, six-cylinder DXI 11 Euro III turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine with electronically controlled fuel injection through a 12-speed electronically controlled Optidriver gearbox. The torque offering is 2000 Nm at 1100-1400 rpm. The gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 42 000 kg and Gross Combination Mass (GCM) is listed as 70 000 kg. It comes with a a three-year /400 000 km warranty as standard. 

The second unit was a Kerax 380.34 6x4 rigid with the same engine, but this time offering 1800 Nm through the same gearbox. It was fitted with an Alutip rear-end tipper body and the third the Kerax 440.34 6x4 truck-tractor (same engine again).

The Renault Kerax is a medium- and heavy-duty truck aimed at the construction industry manufactured by Renault Trucks and is available as a rigid or tractor configuration. It was originally launched in 1997 and underwent a full upgrade in 2006.

Prior to 2009, the Kerax was powered by Euro 3 DXi11 10.8 L engines used in SA but since 2009 the Kerax is powered by the DXi11 11.1 L 6-cylinder diesel engine which is Euro 5 compliant. 

There is a choice of 16 speed manual gearbox and the automated 12 speed gearbox. Suspension varies depending on model; parabolic on the 26t version and semi-elliptical for the 32t version. There are three cab options, all 2,300 mm (90.6 in) wide and vary from 1,600 mm (63.0 in) to 2,200 mm (86.6 in) long. Wheelbase can vary between 3,200 mm (126.0 in) and 6,000 mm (236.2 in).

The Kerax is manufactured in the Russian city of Kaluga at the Volvo Trucks factory which opened in 2009.

Western Star

Another innovative product that has been revealed recently is a mobile Schramm T685W drill rig mounted on a Western Star 4900 chassis cab that will be used for drilling boreholes for mine dewatering at iron ore mines in the Northern Cape. 

The Western Star rigid has specifically been customised with numerous components that are common to both Western Star and Freightliner trucks operating in South Africa, so that it can easily be supported by one of fifteen approved Freightliner / Western Star dealers nationwide.

This special Western Star has also been specified with three of the four axles on the truck being driven axles to provide outstanding traction when the truck is operating in difficult terrain as encountered on open cast mines.

This unit has also been specified with an Allison RDS4500 six speed automatic transmission which makes the 35-ton mass of the vehicle easy to handle for an inexperienced driver even when running on steep inclines.

As an added safety measure the transmission has an integral hydraulic retarder which doubles up the margin of safety offered by the already powerful Jacobs Engine brake fitted to the Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine fitted to the truck. 

This approach of having a dual auxiliary braking system has been adopted to ensure safety when the rig is descending steep inclines into open cast mine pits. 

The T685WS is the drilling contractor’s rig of choice for mineral exploration, shallow oil and deep water well applications. Offering a pull back force of around 40 metric tons the T685 is capable of handling a string of drill pipes up to more than 1km deep.

Heavy duty factory installed components and accessories are available to meet a wide range of arctic, desert and tropical conditions.

Western Star Trucks is a brand of Daimler Trucks North America, and imported by Mercedes-Benz South Africa. 

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