Sandvik Prototype Sets New Standards in Australian Operational Trials


A prototype of the world’s newest underground hard rock mining haul truck is currently in full production trials at a gold mine in Western Australia and, during the first three months has set new standards in productivity, safety and performance.

The truck, Sandvik Mining’s 63 t TH663, has already impressed everyone involved in the trial – from mine management through to operators and maintenance staff – with its speed, productivity, safety features, driver comfort and outstanding fuel economy.

Kimmo Martin, Sandvik Mining’s international field-test supervisor, and Barry Martin, a member of Sandvik Mining’s national product support team in Australia, are supervising the trials. Together, they have trained operators and maintenance staff, are giving ongoing technical support and providing feedback to Sandvik’s truck manufacturing plant in Turku, Finland.

There, a second prototype has been set up to adopt recommendations from the Australian trials to ensure that production models incorporate “real-world” mining experience gained in what are some of the world’s toughest hard rock mining conditions.

The TH663 has already demonstrated its capacity to significantly lift productivity at the mine. In July, of a total of 56,000 t of ore hauled by the on-site fleet, the Sandvik TH663 alone moved 24,000 t. In that month it logged 480 hours, hauling 54 t/h at close to its rated 63 t payload.

Power from Cummins QSK19 diesel engine has seen the TH663 climbing the mine’s steep grades at speeds of up to 12 km/h. Full or empty, the truck – which is 8,000 kg lighter than its TH660 predecessor – trams at speeds up to 50% faster than the other Sandvik trucks in the mine’s fleet.

The trial is showing the new truck is not only fast – it is also highly fuel-efficient. Over the three months of the trial to date, its average consumption has been 50 l/h. This compares with more than 70 l/h used by the older Sandvik trucks on site, while other makes of truck in the 50- to 60-t class typically burn diesel at rates in excess of 100 l/h.

Sandvik Mining is confident the TH663 will also deliver higher-than-average availability levels, due in part to its sophisticated Vehicle Control and Management (VCM) system. This system provides operators with instant warning of potential or actual problems, such as low tire pressure or loss of hydraulic fluid. VCM also helps maintenance crews to make fast and accurate diagnoses, which further improves vehicle availability.

What the trial has proved so far is that, by current industry standards, Sandvik’s TH663 is faster, safer and more economical than other trucks in its class, with the potential to significantly increase productivity, while at the same time lowering operating costs.

Source: Sandvik Mining

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