Equipment focus: Komatsu 830E haul truck
Careful maintenance means 11 1996-era Komatsu 830E haul trucks at a Rio Tinto mine in New South Wales are about to hit 120,000 hours operation — double their average lifespan.
Now part of a 47-strong fleet of 830E haul trucks at Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) mine near Singleton, the 11 DC models were delivered to the mine in 1996 under a ‘maintenance and repair contract’ (MARC) with Komatsu Australia.
This contract ran out at 60,000 hours in 2009, and since then maintenance of the trucks has transferred to MTW’s internal maintenance department.
Now, through careful management of the trucks’ repair and maintenance schedule, the Komatsu haulers are set to double the average life of a haul truck, Komatsu Australia Mt Thorley branch manager Craig Burgess says.
"Historically, customers would operate trucks such as these for between 60,000 and 75,000 hours before changing them over for new machines," Burgess says. "But market conditions have forced them to look at ways of extending that significantly."
The downturn of Australia’s mining boom means mining companies are looking to cut costs and extend service life of equipment where possible.
MTW mobile maintenance superintendent Simon Triggs says that getting the 830Es to 120,000 hours was achieved by rigorous inspection and maintenance procedures as well as a close relationship with Komatsu.
"Because we’d had the trucks for a long period, and had ongoing support from Komatsu over that time, we found it very easy to work together to develop a strategy to work out what we needed to do to extend the trucks’ chassis lives," Triggs says.
"We repowered the trucks in 2010-2011, and at the same time stripped each of them down to the chassis, then refurbished any areas that were cracking or rusting.
"We then repainted and assembled the trucks, and then continued the processes we’d applied from when they were new, including learnings Komatsu shared with us as well as those we’d gained from our site operations.
"When we did the repowers at 60,000 hours, we were confident we’d get to 120,000 hours for the trucks," Triggs adds.
Komatsu says that what MTW was achieving with the 11 830E’s was an example of how mining companies and equipment manufacturers can work together to get the most out of their machines.
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