Modern Mining: Featured News

There is no shortage of good news these days at Babcock, the Southern African dealer for Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE). Not only will the company be introducing Volvo’s newly announced rigid hauler range to the local market later this year but – and more immediately – it is anticipating the arrival in South Africa within the next few weeks of Volvo’s new flagship wheel loader, the L350H, a machine in the all-important 50-ton class.

Volvo CE’s decision to introduce a complete Volvo-branded range of rigid haulers represents the culmination of a process which began in 2014 with its purchase of Terex Trucks, which allowed it to offer a rigid hauler option. Development of the new four-model range has relied heavily on Terex Trucks’ expertise – in combination with the strength of the Volvo Group – and the machines will be manufactured at the rebranded Volvo Motherwell production facility in Scotland.

The Volvo R60D rigid haulers offer a payload of 60 tons.

The flagship of the new range is the E-Series R100E, which is a 100-ton (95-tonne) class rigid hauler. “This is an entirely new machine incorporating new technologies and has a very striking new design,” says David Vaughan, Managing Director of Babcock’s Equipment business. “It has been designed for high performance and productivity, easy serviceability and a low total cost of ownership. The 100-ton rigid hauler market is very keenly contested but we expect the R100E to make rapid headway, bringing – as it does – all the characteristics for which Volvo is renowned to this important market segment.”

With its high capacity and hauling speeds, new V-shaped body, efficient hydraulics, intelligent monitoring systems and operator environment, the R100E will allow customers in mining and large quarrying applications to move more material in less time.

The other three machines in the new Volvo rigid hauler range are the D-Series R45D, the R60D and the R70D. These are based on the existing and well-proven Terex Trucks TR-Series and their development follows an in-depth engineering review, ensuring that the machines meet the standards expected from Volvo products in their target markets and segments. Improvements include greater visibility and safety systems, along with Volvo technical support and branding.

The introduction of the Volvo range of rigid haulers means that, over time, the production of Terex Trucks rigid trucks will cease. Vaughan stresses, however, that customers with TR-Series rigid trucks in their fleets need have no concerns. “We will continue to back these machines with the market-leading support which is the hallmark of Babcock,” he says.

He also points out that there will be no effect on Volvo CE’s Terex Trucks-branded articulated hauler range. “Volvo CE has made it clear that the articulated haulers – which have a very loyal following in our local market – will continue to be designed and built at the Motherwell factory and distributed through the existing Terex Trucks independent dealer network,” he states.

Turning to the imminent arrival in South Africa of the L350H, Vaughan says the machine – which succeeds the L350F and is Volvo’s largest wheel loader – was launched at last year’s ConExpo in Las Vegas. “It is the ideal partner for our bigger Volvo articulated haulers, such as the A40, the A45 and the A60, and we see it being used in both mining and quarrying applications. The unit we’re bringing in has been sold to an alluvial diamond miner working in the Northern Cape area.”

The L350H – which Volvo CE describes as “new from the inside out” – is fitted with ‘next generation’ load-sensing hydraulics and is powered by a D16E engine offering a maximum power output of 397 kW. Buckets available include rehandling, general purpose and rock buckets, with the general purpose buckets having capacities from 7,3 m3 to 8,4 m3.

The new load-sensing hydraulic system works in greater harmony with the drivetrain, increasing response times (and lifting and lowering speed of the buckets) resulting in up to 5 % faster cycle times.

The L350H is equipped with the latest technology dedicated to reducing fuel consumption and engine emissions. Volvo’s Fully Automatic Power Shift (FAPS) system allows for machine operation in the optimal, fuel efficient, gear, according to speed, kick-down and engine braking, enhancing fuel efficiency. This is complemented by an eco-pedal, with a push-back mechanism that engages when engine rpm is about to exceed the most economic operating range. Sensing the resistance, the operator can then reduce the pressure and continue within the fuel-efficient range. However, if full engine speed is needed, the eco-pedal mechanism can be overridden.

The next generation Contronic monitoring system and digital display incorporate the latest improvements in intelligent Human Machine Interface (HMI). The system monitors operation and performance in real-time, providing the operator with all necessary machine information.

To make routine maintenance and daily service checks quick and easy, the design of the engine hood has been improved, allowing complete access to the engine compartment. Engine side hood panels and a platform around the cab also enable operators or technicians to move easily around the machine.

The L350H is the flagship of a wheel loader range which includes the L150H, L180H and L220H. “If you ask most people in mining and quarrying what machine Volvo CE is best known for, they will probably say it is the articulated hauler,” says Vaughan. “This has been an iconic product for Volvo ever since it was first introduced in the 1960s. In fact, the company’s history in wheel loaders goes back even further to the 1950s, so there is a vast experience behind the current wheel loader line.

“The machines are well-known for their excellent performance and fuel efficiency. Certainly, they have proven very popular in Southern Africa and we have a large population out in the field. Many of them are working in coal mining and coal rehandling but there are quite a few in diamond mining and hard rock mining applications. Recent orders have included the delivery of L220s to one of Zambia’s biggest open-pit copper mines.”

He adds that Volvo loaders are particularly known for their durability (which also contributes to the high resale values they typically command). “These machines absorb the hours very well and it is not uncommon for them to do well in excess of 25 000 hours. In fact, we recently traded in an L350, which had around 25 000 hours on it. It required only minimal work to get it into shape for resale and it is now working – very successfully – for a Zimbabwean customer in a tough chrome operation.”

While the L350H has a Z-bar linkage system, the L150H, L180H and L220H all feature Volvo’s unique TP (Torque Parallel) linkage, which delivers high breakout force and excellent parallel movement throughout the entire lifting range. The loaders are also equipped with Volvo’s OptiShift technology, which combines the company’s patented Reverse by Braking (RBB) technology with a lockup torque converter to boost productivity and efficiency in all applications and reduce fuel consumption by up to 18 %.

The introduction of the new L350H comes hard on the heels of two other major new models from Volvo CE that arrived in South Africa last year – the Volvo A60H articulated dump truck and the 90-tonne Volvo EC950E crawler excavator, the biggest articulated dump truck in the world and the largest excavator that Volvo has ever produced respectively. Both these machines have done extremely well in the marketplace, particularly the A60H, 13 of which have now been sold to customers in the Southern African region.

“The Volvo CE range is steadily expanding into the higher end of the mining market with new machines such as the A60H, the EC950E and the L350H being capable of working in even the biggest and most demanding of mining applications,” says Vaughan. “Soon we will also be able to supply the Volvo R100E rigid hauler as well – which is particularly significant since trucks in this class form the backbone of many large-scale mining operations. The message to Babcock’s customers is that we now have a Volvo CE line-up that is able to meet virtually all their needs in terms of excavating, loading and hauling in both quarrying and mining.”

Looking at prospects, Vaughan says that Babcock is very positive. “We’ve enjoyed an excellent 2017 – it surpassed expectations,” he says. “We believe the coming year could be even better. The world economy is doing well, there are strong signs that mining is recovering, and certainly most of our customers are very bullish, with many of them planning to renew their fleets. We definitely see 2018 as a year of further growth for Babcock.”

Contact Modern Mining

Title: Editor
Name: Arthur Tassell
Email: mining@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Bennie Venter
Email: benniev@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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