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Wheel loaders work on fertile ground

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Two new Volvo L220E wheel loaders are playing a crucial role in keeping materials on the move for WMC Resources’ fertiliser storage and ship loading/un-loading facilities at Townsville.

WMC Fertilizers’ Queensland Fertilizer Operations (QFO) is the only Australian producer of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP). QFO can produce about 1Mtpa of DAP and MAP.

QFO has facilities at the following three sites:

The plant at Mount Isa uses sulphur dioxide emissions from Xstrata’s smelting facilities to make sulphuric acid, which is railed to Phosphate Hill for use in fertiliser production

Phosphate Hill is the site of the Duchess phosphate mine and plant for phosphate ore processing, ammonia production and granulation, used to make ammonium phosphate fertiliser

Townsville, where QFO has built its storage, and ship loading and un-loading facilities.

It is at the Townsville facilities where two new Volvo L220E wheel loaders are used in a critical logistics function.

WMC Resources Ports Facility co-coordinator Geoff Brown says choosing Volvo wheel loaders has proven beneficial.

“We already had two of the older ‘D’ series Volvos and were happy with their performance, and the product support, but the role of the new loaders is so critical to this facility that we just had to evaluate all brands,” Brown says.

“The new ‘E’ Series from Volvo really stood out. It was priced competitively and was so much better suited to our operation than all the other brands. Its superior load capacity, fuel economy and cycle times make it incredible value for money.

“Most importantly, these stand-out features ensure it will enhance our intense application. The two wheel loaders handle 1200tph and when they are loading a 40,000t ship, they load it in four 12-hour shifts. With their large buckets and impressive power, these new Volvos really churn through the work,” Brown says.

Power for the Volvo L220E comes from a new turbo-charged and electronically controlled 12L diesel engine that produces 92% of maximum torque: 1530Nm at 800rpm and maximum torque at 1200rpm.

Volvo says this provides “excellent” rimpull and full hydraulic power just above engine idle speed, which gives fast response, low fuel consumption and low emissions.

The L220E’s load-sensing hydraulic system produces a constant oil pressure and variable oil flow. At the heart of this innovative system, a variable piston pump directs the oil flow where it is needed the most.

Consequently, no oil is pumped unnecessarily and when there is no need for oil flow, engine power is re-directed to the drivetrain.

With the operators spending 10 hours of a 12-hour shift at the controls, ergonomics was key decision criteria closely evaluated by WMC.

“The operators are very impressed with the cabin of the Volvo E-series. The climate control is excellent, which is critical up here. But the feature that they highlight is the joystick control that allows the operator to control all key functions with their arms simply resting on the armrest,” Brown says.

“For me, the most pleasing aspect of going with Volvo is the support we get from CJD Equipment.

“Whenever we did have an issue with the older models, we were never let down by CJD. When we are loading a ship, it is obviously a major issue if a wheel loader breaks down.

“CJD’s Mackay branch understands the time critical nature of our work and they also understand what real customer service is; they do whatever it takes to ensure machine uptime,” Brown says.

The Volvos have 9.6m3 production buckets and an 8.2m3 high dump bucket.

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