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Bell mark 70th anniversary with autonomous truck demo

Bell Equipment demonstrated its autonomous B40E articulated dump truck at Hillhead 2024

To mark its 70th anniversary, and 40 years as an articulated dump truck (ADT) manufacturer, Bell Equipment went full throttle at Hillhead 2024 where its latest innovation, an autonomous B40E ADT, took part in live quarry demonstrations.  

The B40E is the same machine that Bell UK customer Chepstow Plant International (CPI) has been using at Sibelco’s Cornwood china clay quarry, in Devon, since March 2024, when it was launched as the first autonomous ADT in the United Kingdom.  

“We were excited to be able to demonstrate our autonomous ADT at Hillhead and also have a static display so visitors could see exactly how the hardware is incorporated into the machine,” says Bell Equipment product manager Brad Castle. 

Supplied by technology platform specialists xtonomy, the hardware includes robust radar sensors, high-precision GPS, multi-channel communication systems, and on-board processing hardware to create a drive-by-wire B40E solution.  

Environmental benefits

“We’re pleased by how our autonomous ADTs have enhanced operational efficiencies on the sites where they are working by being able to operate for longer periods, deliver really accurate tipping results, and improve productivity,” says Castle. 

He says that further benefits associated with autonomous trucks include extended component life, reduced wear and tear, and environmental advantages due to improved fuel efficiency from enhanced operational efficiencies. 

“CPI’s autonomous B40E takes environmental benefits a step further by using HVO fuel instead of diesel, making the machine almost carbon neutral, which is a significant achievement in the current quarrying and mining industry,” says Castle. 

‘Autonomous ADTs also improve site safety, as borne out by our two Bell B30E 6×6 test trucks, which have achieved over 1,000 hours of safe autonomous operation in a quarry in the Austrian Alps, without any incidents.” 

Other machines on display at Hillhead 2024 included the EU-marked Bell B30E 27,000-litre water tanker, designed for dust-suppression duties on mines and construction sites, and the Bell tracked carrier, a robust solution for short-haul applications in soft underfoot conditions. 

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