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The TIPPING point - Solving the issue of overbalanced trucks

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Overbalanced haul trucks present a risk to the operator, and damage suspension. 

It is not rare to see overbalanced haul trucks on site.

The sudden weight of the load leaving the tray has been known to tip it backwards, making the truck stand up on its rear wheels.

While it may seem like a funny occurrence, it causes serious damage; both to the truck, the driver, and the miner's bottom line. 

And as long as truck bodies remained the same, the issue remains a problem. 

With this issue in mind, Australian company Austin Engineering created a new haul truck body designed to give miners back control over their material flows. 

Speaking to Austin Engineering's Joe Kelly, he explained that "it started when Peabody Energy came to us, as they found that when discharging their loads their trucks' front wheels would come off the ground and damage suspension when coming down and putting an operators' safety at risk". 

The solution to this weighty issue was relatively simple: "[Austin Engineering's subsidiary] Westech solved the problem by creating a new flow control body design," Kelly said, adding that "the body goes up at an angle, and has multi-level kicks which work to create a pocket of material in the tray, so it stops all of the material flowing out in a single heavy load that slides out from the bottom".

He went on to say that "instead it now has a continual flow that starts from the material on the top, unloading it at the same speed as before, this not only negates the tipping risk the truck faced as it removes the overbalance issue but also the problem of damaging bins it is being unloaded into; creating less wear on both the bins and the truck's tray."

The kicks in the tray are at angles of 12°, 22°, and 8°, he added. 

In addition to reducing wear "the continual flow instead of a single material dump also reduces dust on site, increasing the mine's green footprint," he said.

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