Capital Equipment News

The very first SDLG wheel loader, an LG958L, to be sold in southern Africa by regional dealer Babcock International, has now amassed some 5 000 operating hours in extreme conditions at South African Bulk Terminals (SABT) in Durban. Despite the workload already under its belt, the machine continues to front operations around the clock at the portside facility where some 2,4 million tonnes of dry bulk is loaded and off-loaded per annum.

Wentzel Nel SABT“SABT’s investment in the SDLG LG958L wheel loader has proved to be a master stroke. In all the time we have run this machine we have not encountered a single leaking hose or cylinder. I would say SDLG is by far the best Chinese construction equipment brand without question and the reliability and productivity surpasses anything else on the market,” says Wentzel Nel, workshop foreman at SABT.

SABT operates twin storage facilities with a combined capacity of 120 000 t, handling a mixture of products including soya, maize, wheat, sunflower seeds and pellets, rice, fertilisers, sorghum malt for beer production and fluorspar – the mineral form of calcium fluoride.

“Fluorspar is by far the most demanding product we handle,” explains Wentzel. “It is very aggressive as well as weighing approximately 1,4 t/m³ because it has to be stored and handled while moist. In this respect, the performance of the SDLG LG958L really comes into its own. With the support of Babcock International, we extended the bucket to a capacity of 4, 9m³ and in this configuration the single SDLG machine matches the productivity of two alternative 9,5 t loaders.”

SABT trialled various wheel loaders before making its purchase decision and the SDLG LG958L impressed from the outset. “We even tested this machine in the hull of a ship and it outperformed all the other machines in the trial,” says Wentzel. “Unfortunately, at 16-t operating weight it was just too heavy for the ship cranes, so regular operations are limited to portside.”

Subsequent to the first SDLG wheel loader, SABT now operates a second unit, a 6-t class LG918, at its 9-line rail yard where it is used to shunt freight wagons.

While the original SDLG LG958L is in relatively standard specification, Wentzel and his team have fitted LED working lights and mounted the oil cooler on swivels so that it can quickly and easily be swung out for cleaning. “It’s an incredibly dusty environment in the storage bunkers, so regular maintenance and cleaning is crucial,” says Wentzel. “To this end we clean the radiators and filters with compressed air very day and every 250-hours we pressure wash them and then blow them out with compressed air. With fluorspar in particular, it is essential to keep all critical components clean because if this material is left to dry it becomes rock solid and would trash items such as a radiator instantly.”

Another key to reliability has been the company’s dedicated use of original SDLG parts, according to Wentzel. “I have made use of the original OEM parts standard practice here at SABT,” he says. “I firmly believe this policy helps us to avoid problems and prevents a snowball effect towards greater issues at a later date. We run our own spares store and while spares were originally a bit of an issue in relation to SDLG, the situation has improved greatly over the last couple of years.”

Throughout the company’s ownership of the SDLG wheel loaders, Wentzel says the service and support provided by the dealer, Babcock International, has been exceptional. “I think it’s fair to say that Babcock has mastered the art of looking after its customers,” he says.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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