Capital Equipment News

Liebherr is entering the 100 t class size of the rigid dump truck market for the first time with its new T 236 mining truck with a diesel electric drive system, said to represent a new direction by being the first truck with such a configuration in this class size. Having successfully completed the product validation phase, it recently started its field operation trials at the Erzberg iron ore mine in Austria. Munesu Shoko recently visited the mine to witness the truck going through its paces.

CEN Hauling LieberrrLiebherr has demonstrated its continued innovation with the introduction of its T 236 mining truck. Capitalising on decades of proven prowess in off-highway truck technologies, the T 236 benefits from Liebherr’s electric drive system innovations, further demonstrated by the introduction of the vertically integrated Litronic Plus Generation 2 AC drive system.

The new rigid dump truck, with a diesel electric drive system, marks Liebherr’s entry into the 100 t class and is said to be the first of its nature in this class with a four-corner, oil immersed braking system. Initially unveiled last year at MineExpo, the T 236 is said to represent a new direction and increased expansion of Liebherr’s mining product range.

Dr. Burkhard Richthammer, MD of Design and Engineering at Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar SAS, notes that the new truck was developed closely with many of the OEM’s customers in order to meet market requirements that ultimately speak to maximum performance with the lowest possible operating costs.

As part of the T 236’s product development process, an intensive product validation phase was finalised this year. The tests were designed to evaluate the product using several different parameters, including specific function and performance tests for the systems and structural evaluations. Extreme driving manoeuvres were also used to evaluate operator safety, load stability and machine performance during trials.

“We can proudly share that the T 236 has successfully completed the testing phase and has recently started its field operation trials at the Erzberg iron ore mine in Austria,” says Dr. Richthammer. Capital Equipment News was part of a sizeable group of about 40 journalists who recently witnessed the T 236 being put through its paces at the Erzberg mine.

Dr. Richthammer explains that the Erzberg mine was carefully chosen as the testing ground because it offers a varied and interesting set of conditions for field trials, while it also has an existing fleet of mining truck models in the 100 t class for the T 236 to work alongside for direct comparison.

“The alpine mine is active for more than 330 days each year and is a continuous 24-hour operation. The climate conditions can vary from snow with temperatures of -20⁰C to some scorching summer heat with in-pit temperatures that can go as high as 40⁰C. A particularly interesting climate profile is that in a matter of hours, it will intermittently switch between rain and sunshine,” says Dr. Richthammer. Additionally, Erzberg offers both uphill and downhill haulage cycles, presenting challenging haulage profiles due a constant variation of grade.

In the coming year, Liebherr will roll out further pre-series units to selected operations to further validate the truck’s capabilities before its commercial launch. The various sites are currently planned for South Africa and other selected global locations. A decision for commercial availability will be made after the tests, but Dr. Richthammer predicts it may take a further two to three years before the truck is commercially available.

Key value proposition

Designed to carry up to 100 t payload, the T 236 can be ideally paired with Liebherr’s R 9100, R 9150, R 92 00 or R 9250 mining excavators. A key talking point on the T 236 is Liebherr’s Litronic Plus Generation 2 drive system, which introduces the advanced Active Front End technology, and is said to be the next big thing in electric drive system design. Making use of electrical energy during retarding events, the drive system is able to deliver controlled engine speed with almost no fuel consumption.

“The Active Front End control and electric drive work in harmony to use less fuel and cause less wear on components, translating into greater cost-savings,” says Dr. Richthammer. “As the first diesel electric truck in the 100 t class to incorporate an oil immersed braking system with four-corner braking control, the T 236 is geared to deliver sound reliability and performance, even in tough operating conditions.”

With its high take-off torque and continuous power-to-ground capability, the T 236 is less sensitive to grade and payload variations, resulting in greater productivity. Vertical integration of Liebherr designed and manufactured components ensures that the truck’s powertrain achieves optimal system efficiency and performance throughout the full range of applications. The truck’s innovative, variable hydraulic system lowers machine parasitic losses to provide maximum power, while lowering fuel consumption when power is not required.

Easy serviceability and safety

To ensure the safety of maintenance technicians, the T 236 is equipped with a double pole battery, starter motor and hoist system isolators as standard. In addition, the Liebherr truck provides an innovative drive system inhibit, electrically interlocked to grounding devices for each plug and drive power module. Operating on a voltage level of 690 VAC and 900 VDC enables regular site technicians to carry out system maintenance. Liebherr’s Litronic Plus Isolation system, said to be an industry first, ensures the safety of maintenance personnel through the elimination of hazards by design.

“The revolutionary in-line electrical power train layout minimises cable length, while the maintenance free IP 68-rated plug-and-drive power modules ensure reliable operation in all-weather conditions. Combined with the extended life service intervals and minimised maintenance time offered by the ground-level service points, the T 236 ensures maximum uptime,” says Dr. Richthammer.

For easy service access, the alternator is remote mounted and connected to the splitter box with a drive shaft. The electrical control cabinets of the drive are in maintenance-free segregated modules, ensuring protection in the tough mining environment. The power modules only control the drive, operating with 600 Volts AC and 900 Volts on the DC link to remain in a class of low tension, while all auxiliary systems are hydraulically driven – allowing regular site electricians to work on the system.

An additional benefit of the external power module grounding system in the powertrain and positive drive isolation is that it allows work to be done on the machine while the engine is running.

Safety features in the truck’s cab, such as dual-side access and incorporation of ROPS comparable to a 150 t class truck, were engineered during the initial design process, while a recessed, full-size passenger seat allows for increased visibility.

Market conditions

Speaking of current global market conditions, Stefan Heissler, member of the Board of Directors at Liebherr-International AG Bulle (Switzerland), says despite the tough market environment in 2016, the Liebherr Group still managed the third-highest turnover in the group’s history, with total sales of €9 009 million.

“We have seen market conditions improving in 2017 along with the overall global economy,” says Heissler. “We expect sustained growth for the rest of the year and into 2018, both in developed and emerging markets. He is encouraged by the International Monetary Fund’s projection which expects global growth to rise to 3,6% in 2018, compared with 3,1% in 2016.

“Between more favourable conditions and our continued investment in the company’s growth, the Liebherr Group is on track for a record turnover in 2017. Looking at the first six months of 2017, our turnover was nearly €4,8 billion. This represents a 6,4% year-on-year increase compared with the turnover of €4,5 billion during the same period in 2016,” says Heissler.

Heissler says this year’s growth by region has been varied, with significant gains in Eastern Europe and moderate growth in Western Europe offsetting decreasing turnover in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. “Compared with 2016 – and even the previous years – we have seen a significant jump in incoming orders. While orders in the past years hover around €4,3 to €4,4 billion, in the first six months of 2017 we had more than €5,2 billion in orders,” he adds.

Speaking of the rest of 2017, Heissler says the Liebherr Group expects a strong finish to what he anticipates to be a record year in turnover. “We expect nearly all our product divisions to improve, with the most significant growth coming from the Earthmoving, Mobile Cranes, Tower Cranes, Mining and Tool and Automation divisions,” says Heissler.

To further ensure growth, the Group will continue to invest substantially in its international production facilities, as well as distribution and service network. “In 2017, we will invest €733 million in total. That equates to a 7,4% investment rate, which remains in line with past years.”

Heissler says the group’s competitive edge is its long-term thinking, including its approach to cultivating innovation. “We take a steady, patient approach to all what we do, from the organisation of our company, to our investments and employees,” he says.

Liebherr’s strong financial footing and its diversified approach allows it to continuously invest in research and development (R&D), key technologies and its people – all very critical to creating innovation. “As a result, we will be able to continue to secure the innovation necessary to maintain a competitive edge across all our industries, as demonstrated by the T 236 mining truck,” concludes Heissler.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108


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