All change

19 March 2008

The first in a new series of surface top hammer rigs, the Sandvik Dpi1500i, which uses the latest in

The first in a new series of surface top hammer rigs, the Sandvik Dpi1500i, which uses the latest in technology to put an end to guesswork in quarries and pits.

Like other sectors in the construction equipment world machinery manufactures active in the quarrying sector have seen their fair share of acquisitions in the last few months. Earlier this year at Bauma came the surprise announcement that Sandvik was to acquire two mobile crusher and screen manufacturers – Extec and Fintec. These two acquisitions, subject to regulatory approval, will propel the company straight into the top three mobile crusher/screen manufacturers.

According to Sandvik president Lars Josefsson, “We have an ambition to be number one in the areas in which we are operate. We have been active in mobile crushers since 2001 with the acquisition of Svedala, but as a minor player.

“We could have expanded organically, but we had the joint ownership of Fintec and had the opportunity to acquire other companies. We will extend our offering with the Fintec and Extec acquisitions. We see this market as being substantial and worth going after.”

The news followed the announcement last September that Germany's road building equipment manufacturer Wirtgen Group had acquired an 80% share in fellow German company Kleemann, which manufactures mobile and stationary crushing and screening equipment, for an undisclosed sum.

Kleemann was incorporated into the Wirtgen Group as a new business segment called Wirtgen Mineral Technologies, with Kleemann's managing director, Dr Gerhard

Schumacher continuing to lead the company.

Wirtgen has also outlined plans to distribute Kleemann products through its wholly-owned sales subsidiaries in the CIS and parts of Eastern Europe.

Award

As news of its acquisition by Sandvik broke at Bauma, UK-based Extec also announced it had been awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category for the second time in three years.

The award is in recognition of the company's outstanding success in developing overseas markets and exporting its machines for the recycling and quarrying industries, according to operations director Ian English.

“The Award is given to companies that have shown a substantial and sustained increase in export earnings to an outstanding level,” said Mr English.

This growth in export orders is a result of, “the sustained development of our global distribution network where we carefully select our partners to ensure we share a common vision of complete customer care,” he added.

Another company to have won an award recently is Austria's Rubble Master. Following awards for its RM70 Compact Recycler and its RM80 in 2007 it recently won the prestigious red dot award for its RM 100.

The red dot is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding product design, communication design and design quality, with the jury basing its decision on criteria such as innovation, functionality, formal quality, ergonomics, the instant recognition of a product and its ecological compatibility.

New equipment

Besides being bought by Sandvik Extec and Fintec both launched new equipment this year. New from Extec are the S-6 doublescreen, the compact tracked C-10+ jaw crusher and the X44 SBS, I-C13 recirculation system, while Fintec's 1440 is its flrst machine equipped with an impact crusher. The company has also redesigned its Fintec 1080 track-mounted cone crusher unit.

The 49.9 tonne Fintec 1440 is suitable for secondary or fine crushing of softer rocks or in various demolition and recycling applications and is equipped with a Sandvik PR301D horizontal shaft impact (HSI) crusher with a feed opening of 900 x 1360 mm.

The crusher incorporates a four-hammer rotor – 1.15 m in diameter and 1.33 m wide – and discharges onto a secondary pan feeder. It is also equipped with a primary feeder and a separate two-deck pre-screen, hydraulic folding wing plates, and a Stage IIIA/Tier 3 compliant, 330 kW Cat C13 engine. Maximum throughput is 350 tonnes per hour.

Optional equipment includes a remote diesel and water pump, an over-band magnet for recycling and demolition applications, and a dolly chassis for easy transport.

Also new are Metso Minerals’ LT60 track-mounted mobile crusher, which has a throughput of up to 500 tonnes/hour, and South African manufacturer Pilot Crushtec's TwisterTracAC210 mobile vertical-shaft impact (VSI) crusher.

While tracked crushers are proving ever more popular, so are mobile screens. Metso Minerals’ new ST458 four-way-split mobile screen has a maximum throughput of 400 tonnes/hour, while Powerscreen International has also launched new mobile screens in the shape of the Chieftain 1700 and 2100X, and the Horizon 5163.

Down the hole

While mobility is the key to new product development in the crushing and screening sector, automation and operator comfort and safety are pushing the envelope in the drilling sector.

Sandvik's new top hammer rig, the Dpi1500i, for example, is quieter, according to Pekka Kesseli, marketing manager for surface top hammers and down-the-hole (DTH) drills.

Other features include an air-conditioned cab with “comfortable seats” and joystick controls.

Customer demands, said Mr Kesseli, pushed most of these developments.

According to Mr Kesseli legislation and regulations, particularly when it comes to engine emissions, noise and dust levels, are also playing their part in product development. “Today there are certain jobsites where no visible dust is allowed at all,” he said. So, one of Sandvik's most recent developments in this area is a new silencer mechanism, which reduces the drilling noise by – 10 dB.

Late last year Atlas Copco also launched a “silent” rig, the Silenced ROC drill rig. Atlas Copco's Mikael Ramstr&246;m, product line manager for underground drilling equipment, said implementing new legislation, which forced manufacturers to change or redefine product is not helpful in the current ‘high demand’ climate. However, he said by complying with new engine emission regulations, increasing safety and comfort for the operators, it helped to attract much-needed employees to the industry.

Elsewhere, Atlas Copco's D-series Drill Rigs, including the ROC D5, ROC D7 and ROC D9 have been upgraded and now boast some new additions to the range including the ROC RRC radio controlled rig, and the ROC D&C/D9C Silenced SmartRig.

According to a company spokesman, “An even stronger and stifier boom design on the D-series rigs facilitates perfect collaring and stable drilling. It is designed to carry optional equipment, such as the silencing kit.”

A durable cylinder-operated aluminium feed system gives optimal penetration and drill steel life, he added, while the rigs are all Stage IIIA/Tier 3 compliant.

For the operator the cabin has improved balance and stability for tramming in rough terrain and a higher capacity air conditioning system offers improved comfort for the operator.

ROC D7C/D9C SmartRig is prepared for upgraded software and the optional silencing kit enables the rig to be used in restricted areas.

Mr Kesseli added that automation is the key for future development of the drilling sector, adding that the technology which started off in the underground mining sector is starting to break through in to surface drilling.

However, he said, “It will be a long time before the whole world accepts automation and there are places where they will always want basic machines.”

Atlas Copco has incorporated automation and operator safety and comfort features in the design of new machines and equipment. A major development in automation is the SmartRig system – a PC-based control system – intended for all kinds of automation in simpleand advanced drill rigs.

The hardware is designed to operate in all weather conditions and the software can be upgraded on site. SmartRig has built-in logging and monitoring functions together with support for diagnostics and faultfinding.

Loading & hauling

Of course quarrying is not just about crushing and screening. Loading and transporting the drilled or blasted rock is also key to successful quarry operation. And operator comfort and safety is making its mark here too.

Caterpillar's 990H wheeled loader, which replaces the 990G Series II, features a 512kW Cat C27 ACERT engine and has a bucket capacity of 9.2 m3. Features include a spacious cab with “superior” visibility to the work area. Interior sound levels are below 75 dB(A), while the Comfort Series seat has an air suspension and is adjustable to fit the operator.

According to the company, the 990H retains the Steering and Transmission Integrated Control (STIC) system that enables the operator to use small movements of a single hand to steer and to make direction and gear changes. STIC enables smooth operation with minimum e?ort.

Included for easy maintenance is Cat's Electronic Monitoring System III (EMS III), which continually monitors machine systems and provides a three-level warning system to alert the operator of problems. EMS III stores and shares information with machine systems so a mechanic can simplify diagnostics and service.

Also new from Cat are the 770 and 722 quarry and construction trucks (see iC November 2006) and the 992K (97 tonnes) and 993K (126.5 tonnes) large wheeled loaders. Both feature new Cat C32 ACERT engines, 656 and 782 kW respectively, while payload capacities are 18.1 and 22.7 tonnes.

The 992K is a perfect match for the company's 777 -highway truck, needing just five passes to fill it, while the 993K matches Cat's 777 and 785 trucks. Easy service and maintenance are key developments, as are operator comfort, said a company spokesman.

New from Volvo is the flagship L350F wheeled loader, which weighs in at 50 to 54 tonnes and can carry a 6.2 to 12.7 m3 bucket. Power comes from a 397 kW Stage IIIA/Tier 3 Volvo engine, which is augmented by new hydraulics, transmission and axles for faster cycle times and greater fuel eficiency.

Another new quarrying class wheeled loader on the market is Terex's TL450, which has a 4.5 m3 bucket as standard and a 231 kW Stage IIIA/Tier 3 engine

New on the hauler side is Komatsu's 91 tonne capacity HD785-7 rigid dumptruck. Fuel consumption has been optimised with a variable horsepower control (VHPC), which matches engine power to working conditions, and other improvements include an advanced retarder braking system and multi-disc oil cooled anti-lock brakes.

In the excavator sector there have also been some significant new launches over the last 12 months. Hyundai has moved up a weight class with its new 80 tonne class 800LC-7A, adding a machine at the top of its range, which previously stopped at 50 tonnes.

Liebherr has a similar sized new machine on the market in the shape of its 76 tonne R 964 C. Further up the weight classes, more in the mining sector, is the 250 tonne class R9250 Litronic and the PR 764 Litronic dozer, which, at 52 tonnes is the world's largest hydrostatic drive crawler dozer.

Overview

There are certainly plenty of new machines out there for quarry operators to chose from in the drilling, loading, hauling, crushing and screening spheres. It has to be said that there is more choice in the market now than ever before. In excavators for example, Hyundai now offers a genuine quarrying-sized machine, and Volvo's 70 tonne class EC 700 C, launched in 2005, is also a relatively new choice on the menu.

This is good news for the industry, which has had to contend with long leadtimes and a serious shortage of tyres for wheeled loaders and haulers over the last few years. More competition should mean these supply problems ease, and should also help push equipment prices down.

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