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Mining motors along more efficiently

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Of the 50 Terex Mining trucks operating at mine sites throughout Australia, Detroit Diesel engines power 42 of them.

Terex national sales manager - mining Andy McElroy says at sites such as Tom Price and Argyle, the Terex units operate at an average of up to 6500 hours a year.

“The initial service life of engines powering the large dump trucks was estimated at 20,000 hours,” McElroy says.

“The durability and reliability of Detroit Diesel engines has surpassed those expectations, resulting in an extension out to 25,000 hours, with oil monitoring and sampling from 20,000 hours onwards. This means a genuine 50,000-hour life cycle for capital equipment has become a reality,” he says.

“We’re currently looking at ways of increasing the standard tonnage of our ac drive trucks from 240 to 260t out to 400t. Now thanks to tyre technology improvements these ideas are becoming a reality,” he says.

Taking the operating parameters out to 400t will require an increase in engine performance to around 3500hp from the Detroit Diesel 20V Series 4000 and an upgraded ac system.

The electronic engine management systems controlling the Detroit Diesel 16V 4000 engines are instrumental in extending the working life of capital equipment.

Using on-site contract maintenance provided by MTU Detroit Diesel dealerships can also help extend engine life and lower whole-of-life costs.

The Detroit Diesel Series 16V 4000 is available in a range of power options from 1600kW to 2280kW, with torque ratings from 10,197Nm to 11,389Nm. With common rail injection and four valves a cylinder, the electronic engine management system manages the fuel and air systems for precise control, maximum output, and lower smoke and fuel use.

McElroy says Terex selected the Detroit Diesel 4000 series because of a successful trial program that showed significant gains in fuel economy and lower ambient noise levels compared with engines from other manufacturers.

“Up to 80% of the trucks we sell are powered by Detroit Diesels because in Australian mining this engine-truck combination suits our needs better and offers better engine performance. They are cost effective, have an excellent life, and good local support is always available,” he says.

The Detroit Diesel Series 4000 range of four-stroke diesel engines includes 8V, 12V, 16V and 20V models with power outputs ranging from 800 to 2720kW. The electronic engine management systems, an integral part of the Series 4000, also protect the engine from damage by continually monitoring fluid levels, pressures and temperatures for coolant, oil and fuel, crankcase pressure, injector response, battery voltage and emissions.

The experience of Terex Mining is similar to that of Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCMA), which provides 100 to 800t excavators as well as 100 to 315t Euclid Hitachi trucks.

HCMA general manager of mining business Peter Ross says the company fits Detroit Diesel Series 4000 engines into the Euclid Hitachi trucks and in this configuration they generate up to 2700hp for the ac propulsion system.

“The largest fleet HCMA has in operation, and all powered by the 4000 series engine, is at Biloela, inland from Gladstone in north Queensland,” Ross says.

“Anglo Callide Coal is mining in the lower Bowen Basin with eight EH4500s already operating and three more on order; all powered by the Detroit Diesel Series 4000 engines,” he says.

“The EH4500 is a 280t-payload rigid rear load dump truck with ac propulsion and costs in the region of $4m.

“Previous trucks operated at this mine with different engines, however, we have great confidence in this engine, with better fuel economy just one of the more obvious bonuses. The Detroit Diesel Series 4000s take pride of place.”

Ross says his company is testing a 4000 Series engine in one of its excavators to provide power for the gearbox and hydraulics, and he says results to date are positive.

HCMA is also developing noise-attenuated trucks for a mining operation in the Hunter Valley.

“Under measurement from the Australian Standards, we had to limit the sound emissions from our trucks to less than 113dB,” Ross says.

“The team at HCMA worked hard on the trucks and engine bays to ensure we met those standards and Euclid Hitachi trucks are now operating with about the same level of noise you would get from the average four wheel drive,” he says.

Series 4000 engines are supported through MTU Detroit Diesel Australia and its 160 dealers across Australia.

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