Haulers: long haul aims

06 April 2016

A Bell B30E

A Bell B30E

With Bauma finally happening this month, equipment manufacturers across the world have the chance to showcase their latest products in face-to-face with their customers, and both articulated and rigid haulers will be spread across the 605,000m² of space, with new machines, and new updates to existing machines on show in Munich.

First, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its articulated hauler, is Volvo Construction Equipment (CE).

This year marks five decades of transporting earth, gravel and other materials over rough, muddy, slippery, steep or otherwise impassable terrain.

And, this year, Volvo CE will launch its new H-Series range, which will include its biggest ever production articulated hauler – the 55-tonne capacity A60H. As it is a Bauma year, there could be details of the new machines at the show

The H Series is the culmination of 50 years of Volvo engineering and creation. The A60H boasts a higher payload – a 40% increase on Volvo’s previous largest hauler in the shape of the A40 – which significantly lowers the cost-per-tonne ratio for hauler customers.

The new size also offers an alternative to rigid dump trucks and construction trucks operating on soft, uneven or steep roads, allowing a similar amount of material to be hauled in a shorter cycle time.

Good stability, comfort and high hauling speeds are ensured by the H-Series, said Volvo CE, thanks to matched drivetrain, automatic drive combinations, all-terrain bogie, hydro-mechanical steering, and active suspension.

Looking back at the 50 years of Volvo CE’s articulated hauler, 1966 was the birth of its first creation – the DR631.

Nicknamed Gravel Charlie, it may have only had a 9 tonne payload, but it set the stage for greater things to come.

Only a year after its launch, in 1967, the company introduced the DR860, which claimed to be the first articulated hauler with a bogie, meaning that the material in the load body remains level and stable, while the wheels cope with very uneven road surfaces.

The first hauler with a turbo-charged engine – the DR860T – arrived in 1970, and in 1979, things started to speed up, with the launch of the 5350. Capable of 50km/h, the Off-road Express was able to maintain new high speeds, thanks to a suspended front axle and an automatic transmission. Traction was further increased with the addition of a six-wheel-drive system.

The company has since gone on to produce the A20, A35, A40, C-series, D-class, and many more.

New versions

Doosan Construction Equipment has launched new versions of the company’s DA30 and DA40 articulated dump trucks (ADTs) meeting Stage IV/Tier 4 Final engine emission regulations.

The DA30 and DA40 models feature an articulation hinge positioned behind the turning ring to provide equal weight distribution to the front axle, even during maximum steer articulation.

A free-swinging rear tandem bogie ensures equal distribution of weight to each wheel and guarantees permanent six-wheel contact and drive for equal power distribution on difficult terrain, said Doosan.

The low fuel consumption is achieved by Scania selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (ECR) diesel engines and a new ZF EP transmission, improving the transfer of power from the engine to the wheels for outstanding traction.

The specially-shaped body and sloping frame on the DA30 claims to offer a low centre of gravity, while its combination with the free-swinging tandem, ensures low ground bearing pressure.

This can be further minimised by the use of high flotation tyres on Doosan machines such as those purchased by UK company Total Plant Hire (TPH).

Two of Doosan’s DA30 ADTs have been hired with drivers from TPH, which is based at Trafford Park in Manchester, for work on the project to build the new Mersey Gateway Bridge across the River Mersey near Liverpool, also in the UK.

Thomas Halligan, owner of TPH, said, “Since we started purchasing Doosan ADTs in 2014, we have seen very good utilisation, especially for the trucks with high flotation tyres on projects across north-west England.”

The two new Doosan ADTs have joined eight more DA30 models that already form part of the hire fleet at TPH, all of which were purchased from Norwest Plant, based at Wigan in Lancashire, the authorised Doosan and Bobcat dealer for North West England and North Wales.

Work started on the Mersey Gateway Project on 7 May, 2014, to build a new six-lane toll bridge over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.

When it opens in autumn 2017, it will help to relieve the congested Silver Jubilee Bridge further up the river.

Caterpillar has launched its new C2 Series ADT range, including the 234kW 725C2 and the 274kW 730C2 and 730C2 EJ with ejector-type body.

The 725C2 has a rated payload of 24 tonnes, while the two larger models have a rated payload of 28 tonnes.

Standard automatic traction control ensures efficient operation of the new models, with increased productivity, lower operating costs, and added retarding capability, compared with its older models.

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) and SCR system provide exhaust aftertreatment for Tier 4 Final/Stage IV models.

Smooth shifts

The Cat 6F/1R power-shift transmission electronically modulates clutch engagement pressures for smooth, positive shifts and incorporates the Caterpillar advanced productivity electronic control strategy (APECS) system, said Caterpillar.

The APECS system improves acceleration, maintains torque converter lock-up during shifts, provides automatic speed holding, and modifies shift points to match operating conditions.

Other benefits, according to the company, include high productivity, optimum control, and increased fuel economy.

For controlling downhill speed, the 730C2 and 730C2 EJ employ an engine-compression brake that provides 60% more retarding force than previous models.

The 725C2 uses a fluid retarder with four operating modes. Both systems manage speed and minimise service brake application for extended brake life.

All three new C2 Series models feature six-wheel drive and are equipped with wet disc clutch locks in the cross axle and inter-axle differentials.

Automatic, on-the-go application of the locks is fully proportional, engaging only the required amount of lockup to maintain traction in adverse conditions, with no input from the operator.

Operator comfort is high on the priority list in this market, and the C2’s spacious two-person cab features a multi-adjustable air suspension seat for the operator. There is also a full size, forward facing seat for the trainer, as well as a tilting/telescopic steering wheel, and what Cat describes as a convenient wraparound dash.

A multi-purpose colour display provides pertinent operating information, as well as the feed from the rear-view camera when activated.

All-around visibility

The low, sloping hood of the new models, coupled with the operator’s central position and extensive glass area, ensures excellent all-around visibility. Intuitive, low effort controls contribute to safe operation and operator convenience, said Caterpillar.

Meanwhile, when a project calls for the regular transportation of heavy loads, it’s imperative that the uptime of haulers is maximised.

With its recently revamped TA400 ADT, Terex Trucks has focused heavily on the increased
durability and protection of components, including upgraded hydraulic hoses, electrical interfaces, transmission mountings and brake pipes.

In order to prolong the life of hydraulic components, the company has introduced magnetic pressure filters that reduce the risk of contaminants entering the system, and keep the hydraulic oil clean.

The TA400 also features force-cooled multi-disc brakes, an electronic activated exhaust brake and a six-stage modulating transmission retarder.

Terex Trucks claims the ADT’s high-performance oil extends service intervals to 6,000 hours and says the truck’s drivetrain, with longitudinal and limited slip transverse differential locks, is able to maintain traction, even on the most difficult ground.

Operator comfort has been said to have been improved again, now Terex Trucks has included anti-vibration mounts for both engine and cab, as well as cushioned stops on the steering cylinders.

Machine performance information is also said to have been improved, with diagnostics including oil quality, oil levels, filter life and various fault codes.

The TA400 Gen 10 will be launched at this year’s Bauma. It will be available globally as Tier 4 Final in Europe and North America, and in a Tier 2 format for lesser-regulated countries.

The company promises further models in its articulated hauler range later this year, while more models are expected to be launched in 2017.


Elsewhere, Hitachi is claiming unfailing strength and reliability in its range of rigid haulers.

It is offering the EH1100-5 65-tonne class hauler to compete against the big ADTs on construction sites and quarries.

The hauler boasts either a Tier 2 Cummins 567kW engine or an MTU series 2000 engine, as well as an Allison H6620A automatic transmission.

The EH1100-5 has an active traction control system which Hitachi said had been refined to control wheel spin in wet and muddy conditions.

Another new technological feature added is a transmission Optimum Shift Range, which has been developed to alter the transmission range automatically according to payload results provided by an onboard payload weighing system.

Also, all EH1100-5 trucks are equipped with a DLU (data logging unit). This allows remote monitoring of the truck via satellite, wi-fi and Wenco.

Another interesting software feature that Hitachi offers is a speed limit feature that automatically restricts the truck top speed to a customer determined limit. This feature will automatically apply the retarder to control the set speed limit if the limit is exceeded while travelling downhill.

The EH1100-5 boasts new rear wet disc brake which now include an integral Wet Disc parking brake, said Hitachi.

The steering filter is now located outside the frame, which allows servicing to take place at ground level.

The two high-capacity batteries have also been moved to the front bumper for ground level access.

In terms of usability, the cab’s dashboard has been replaced by a 25cm screen, which can also be used to troubleshoot and diagnose machine issues.

Offsetting the LCD display slightly right of the steering column is said to allow the lowering of the dashboard in front of the operator for better visibility to the front of the truck.

‘Improvement on rigid’

Bell Equipment first introduced its own 60 tonne class ADT, the B60D, in 2013, which it claimed was in many ways an improvement on rigid haulers of the same capacity, given its ability to perform well on variable haul road surfaces.

At its launch, it said it signalled a blurring of the lines between rigid and articulated machines, with Bell claiming it was confident that the B60D would win the argument, as a result of its manoeuvrability on difficult terrain.

Hauling on roads, therefore, require less maintenance, significantly lowering costs.

The B60D has two driven axles, giving it a 4x4 capacity. Its rigid truck frame style, adds to its strength, both literally and as a USP (unique selling proposition).

While the biggest articulated machines do battle with rigids, the lower-capacity ADTs are largely having things their own way, with sales of rigid haulers in construction seen to be falling away somewhat over the past three years.

Scottish firm McFadyens Contractors has been using the Bell B30D ADT for five years and, after signing a contract to work on a forestry roads project, the company has opted to buy a second used B30D, as well as a new B30E.

The company’s managing director, Billy McFadyen, said, “Our existing Bell dump truck has proved its reliability, while operators have confirmed that they like the comfort and functionality within the cab.”

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