Although mining terrain and minerals resources may remain largely unchanged for years to come, the development in the technology used to extract these minerals has changed dramatically, Australian-based equipment supplier Austin Engineering noted in a press release last month.
The company added that as increased production and efficiencies affect clients' profit margins, its product offering is focused on addressing mining productivity challenges and delivering on efficiency with the company’s offering.
Over the past 50 years, there has been a significant change in truck body designs, and, with proven engineering experience in the mining industry, Austin's engineering team has led the development of mining equipment with particular focus on customer-specific requirements and site-specific challenges worldwide.
The Austin team also works closely with steel manufacturers to get optimal performance, both structurally and for its abrasion-resistant properties.
These improved properties resulted in their first light-weight body, which offered increased payload.
The company adds that computer modelling and analysis have been another important contributor to keep Austin at the forefront of product design and creation in the industry.
This software has enabled additional new concepts to come to fruition, like the ‘Gate Free’ body designs, whereby the removal of the back of the body reduces maintenance, reduces overall cost and increases capacity.
Additionally, the ‘Flow Control Body’, which reduces dust emissions, increases the stability of the truck by eliminating lift of the front axles and most importantly provides a smooth, non-stopping offload to let the material dump uniformly.
Moreover, Austin’s “next generation in mining dump bodies”, the ULTIMA, brought innovation and engineering prowess together. The ingenuity stems from removing the liner and a revised dump body design that minimises the amount of ribbing which makes it lightweight. The curved design complements the liner-less bodies.
The proven 10% to 15% weight saving does not sacrifice payload and the wide range of features of this renowned design also includes a reduction in carrying back by means of curved transition plates between the front wall, sides and floor.
Acknowledging that mining solutions are not built with a universal approach, Austin works directly with mine sites to lead to a deeper understanding of their conditions so that they can provide built-for-purpose solutions.
Engineered and built to suit customers’ unique application requirements across a range of commodities and materials, Austin’s dump truck bodies – WESTECH, JEC and ULTIMA – can haul everything from a light coal material to metal scrap, hard rock, copper, gold, and diamonds.
Further, after more engagement with its clients, the company introduced the Two-Piece Excavator Bucket. By identifying that the bottom of the bucket always wears faster than the top structure, the company designed a bucket that could split into two sections, thereby only replacing the worn-out bottom piece and saving money by keeping the top structure in place.
The bottom section is customised to meet customers’ changing needs depending on the application, resulting in a versatile high-performance bucket that is available as a liner-less option, a light-weight option for increased payload or a lined option if preferred.
Meanwhile, other offerings include the Stairway Access Tank (SAT), a revolutionary water tank that allows workers to go up and down a staircase and safely move around inside the water tank more easily than in previous designs.
“Water tanks are an essential part of mining equipment for dust suppression and firefighting. Safety for workers during confined space maintenance work is significantly improved by means of the larger baffle openings with a direct line of travel. The large access port is equipped with handrails on the stairway for the important three-point contact safety practice on mines.”
In the press release, the company adds that currently, there are almost 100 SAT systems in operation around the world.
“Austin Engineering continues to push the boundaries of innovation in the mining industry by listening to their customers, working with material suppliers, and transforming long-standing designs to provide a unique solution to mining productivity challenges.”
As a trusted innovation partner within the industry, Austin designs and manufactures customised off-highway truck bodies, buckets, water tanks, tyre handlers and other ancillary products and provides a complete service through the product’s lifecycle, offering on- and off-site maintenance and repairs.
Austin, and manufacturers of openpit mine support equipment and specialised mobile industrial equipment ETT, joined forces in February 2020 to jointly market, sell and support their products through one company – Austin-ETT Africa Limited – for a footprint that extends acrosst the African continent.