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Underground Dump Bodies – aftermarket options

3 Mins read

Underground dump trucks have a hard life trawling up and down the 1:7 decline drives that are mined beneath the earth’s surface. An essential part of the cycle is efficiently removing blasted dirt from active areas to free up space for future mining activities. When tramming up and down the decline repeatedly, you always want to achieve the highest capacity load possible for each truck.

I have previously covered Loadscan and its ability to monitor, track and report dump truck loads – it adds clear value to miners looking to keep a close eye on material movement. Yet, could an aftermarket dump body (truck tray for some out there!) also be worked into the haulage mix to offer reduced total dry weight of the truck, coupled with extra volumetric capacity?

Some of the value that specialised after-sale underground trays can possibly offer are:

  • Reduced overall unloaded weight of truck – due to smarter design and alternative materials utilised in manufacturing
  • Smooth profiles sweeping through the trays bottom, reducing carry back of material and increasing real material moved
  • Larger material payload capacity through smart, alternative design of dump body
  • Increased dump angle to ensure gravity acts to dump as much of each load as possible
  • Improved working life of body due to increased strength & structural integrity

Aftermarket dump bodies, or truck trays, have been manufactured for a number of decades but what are some of the latest options available to you if you want to explore options beyond your underground OEM provided solution?

SCHLAM – Bullant Underground Mining Dump Body

The team at Schlam in Forrestfield, Western Australia have been developing mining accessories since the mid 1990s. They notably deliver the Hercules dump body to the Open Pit mining market, a very popular aftermarket accessory of surface haulage fleets. The Bullant is their foray into the underground market and the sleek Bullant trays deliver up to 12% increased payload capacity.

Improved payload capacity isn’t the only trick the Bullant has up its sleeve – flow analysis and precision design of the trays bottom allow for significant reduction in carry back in the tray, ensuring the truck is fully loaded with new material for every load.

The smooth design of the Bullant trays install allow for reduced carry back of material (Source: Schlam Product Brochure)

Originally started as a precision welding business focused on the mining industry, Schlam now offers a wide range of services to the mining sector, with multiple facilities across Western Australia.

MURRAY ENGINEERING

I recently saw that Murray Engineering, a subsidiary of underground contractor, Byrnecut, has developed a method of converting an underground dump truck into an underground water cart! This switches the tray based load to a water bowser and spray system.

You could, through this type of reconditioned unit, utilise older trucks that are coming close to the end of their years of service. The water truck would been an occasional use tool to improve visibility and reduce dust for the rest of your truckies on the decline. This kind of rebuild & conversion is the first I have seen and would make good financial sense for underground mines as they mature and want to keep capital costs to a minimum.

TH117 after a hard life down the hole…
DT047 emerges as a reconditioned and new addition to a mining fleet.


AUSTIN ENGINEERING

Austin Engineering delivers a fit for purpose range of underground dump bodies to fit multiple OEM truck chassis. They have a real focus on design and have the ability to conduct software based flow analysis during the concept stage of any size of tray. Durability is another focus in their marketing literature, which is delivered through a reinforced assembly and side impact plates, for when the truck may skid off the decline walls! Their operations span the globe with a large facility in Perth, as well as Head Offices in Mackay, Queensland.

An Austin Engineering low profile underground tray hoisted for dumping a load (Source: Austin Engineering Website)

Conculsion:

There are several options for underground miners to improve efficiencies or extend the life of some of the older trucks within their fleets. I learnt multiple things about underground truck design and limitations whilst researching this piece. Let me know if there you have any further learnings about this small, yet important part of the haulage cycle.


If you like my content and discussions on underground mining, please follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook. I continually strive to offer new and interesting content for those exploring new technologies and ideas for underground mining – so please send me an email if you would like to get involved.


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