Huge Mine Requires Oversized Support Equipment

Huge Mine Requires Oversized Support Equipment

Haulmax trucks handle critical tasks at New South Wales coal mine

People say that everything in Texas is bigger—probably because they haven’t been to Australia.

In Australia, Peabody Energy’s Wilpinjong coal mine in New South Wales is truly larger than life. Operating 24/7, Wilpinjong, spread over 11 square miles, produces millions of tons of saleable coal every year.

Named for its local Aboriginal heritage, Wilpinjong Mine is an open-cut mine located 25 miles northeast of Mudgee. The mine produces a high-quality thermal coal for both export and domestic markets. It operates some 330 pieces of equipment ranging from small generator sets and lighting plants up through the Cat® D11T dozers, huge wheel loaders and front shovels. Wilpinjong is one of the lowest-cost coal mining operations in Australia.

Haulmax truck fleet aids mine production

Maintaining fleet efficiency and peak production requires oversized support trucks that refuel and maintain equipment, move machines efficiently around the site and minimize haul road dust.

Maintaining fleet efficiency and peak production requires oversized support trucks that refuel and maintain equipment, move machines efficiently around the site and minimize haul road dust.

A fleet of Haulmax 3900 off-highway support trucks, designed for extended distance hauling and reliable performance in soft underfoot conditions, operates at Wilpinjong. They include three water trucks with 19,000 gallon Kador water tanks; two Haulmax service trucks with 16,350 gallon capacity Bard service modules that dispense fuel, lubricants and compressed air; and one Haulmax truck with a 162-ton capacity lowboy trailer for moving larger equipment throughout the huge mine.

Trucks conquer mine conditions

The inherent low ground pressure of the proven Haulmax truck design enables them to get into areas in the mine where other equipment cannot go. Thus, they have performed well in this application.

Because distances between pit faces being worked can be considerable, the mobility of the Haulmax units is a real benefit, since all the Haulmax trucks are able to travel those distances easily and efficiently.

The powdery, soft underfoot conditions at Wilpinjong can create clouds of dust that are effectively minimized for better visibility and safer operation by the Haulmax 3900 support trucks with Kador water tanks.

The Haulmax 3900 support trucks with Bard service modules move throughout the widespread work areas to refuel machines and provide the necessary fluids and lubricants to ensure all heavy equipment is fully serviced and ready to operate for each shift during the mine’s around-the-clock operation.

For relocating larger assets, such as the massive 125-ton D11T Coal Dozer, the mine calls upon its Haulmax 3900 support truck with lowboy trailer to efficiently transport the machines between work areas.

Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency on the Haulmax trucks has been quite good. The water trucks burn about 13.2 gallons per hour and service trucks burn approximately 7.1 gallons per hour. Both figures represent a significant cost savings over the previous haul units.

Why Haulmax trucks were chosen

Wilpinjong chose the Haulmax units over other makes because an asset must precisely fit the purpose and be supported by a reliable OEM, and a dealer with skilled technicians and full warranty coverage, as these units are.

The Haulmax units provide simplicity for the maintenance workforce because the Haulmax units use many Cat components and on-board systems that are identical to the Cat machines, such as the Cat power trains in the more than 60 Cat machines at Wilpinjong. This component commonality simplifies the learning curve and speeds diagnostic analysis for their Service Technicians and also reduces parts inventories.

The design of the Haulmax trucks enables ground-level access to all the service points such as fluids and filters. This easier access also reduces the risk of injury to service technicians, simplifies the maintenance process, and shortens preventive maintenance durations.

Technology simplifies fleet management

With the Haulmax trucks as with the other machines, the on-board diagnostic systems are used for condition monitoring. They perform regular downloads of the data for analysis and to help guide fleet maintenance efforts. Because the diagnostic systems on the Haulmax trucks are Cat systems, the technicians are familiar with them. The systems improve equipment uptime and also drive operator behaviors to comply with established Peabody operating initiatives.

Cat dealer support

Local Cat dealer, WesTrac provides equipment support to the Wilpinjong mine.

Initially, Cat dealer experts assisted Wilpinjong staff with operator and service training involving the mine’s four separate shifts of work crews.

When maintenance is necessary, Wilpinjong uses a mixture of new and reman components. Plus, they leverage the dealer’s parts exchange program when needed. Wilpinjong maintains an on-site inventory of critical parts that were supplied by both Haulmax and WesTrac that cover about 90% of the most critical parts needs.

The value-added package from WesTrac provides both for warranty support and any future needs such as component repairs. Such strong support by the dealer instills confidence in the customer that the product will perform and continue to perform throughout its useful life.

WesTrac provides a project manager on site for product and warranty support plus two technicians per crew, for a total of eight technicians to support the Haulmax units at Wilpinjong. Plus, there is a local WesTrac field service representative who can also be called upon, if necessary.

Service life

The Haulmax units have been operating at Wilpinjong for close to two years and based upon all the current machine health indicators, such as fluids analysis and electronic data, they are expected to achieve their projected service lives in accordance with the OEM lifecycle model originally provided with the machines.

Based upon fuel burn, the Haulmax water truck engines are projected to run for 15,000 hours before rebuild; while the Haulmax service module engines, which experience more idle time, are projected to achieve 20,000 hours before rebuild.

WesTrac’s closest branch store located at Tomago, NSW is about four and one-half hours away. If additional service technicians or parts are required, they can be delivered to the mine in timeframes as short as six hours.

Customer feedback has been very positive in regard to accessibility and ease of service. Haulmax truck operators cite excellent visibility from the cabs and good maneuverability in and around the pit. Both Haulmax and the dealer have provided strong support.

Haulmax trucks continue to deliver reliable performance and strong return on investment wherever applications demand extended distance hauling from rugged trucks.  

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