10 tips to maximize the life of an articulated dump truck

By |  December 23, 2020
Photo: Doosan

It’s important to size an excavator to the size of the ADT, says Doosan’s Aaron Kleingartner. Photo: Doosan

Articulated dump trucks (ADTs) are operating at their peak when a low total cost of ownership is paired with high usage.

An ADT’s performance at a quarry can be impacted by a variety of circumstances. Producers can control many of the situations that may affect their ADT. When considering their next ADT purchase, producers will want to ensure they have the proper size and that it’s matched correctly to the machine loading it.

A producer’s success with an off-road haul truck also depends on performing the proper maintenance, as well as following the correct operating procedures, says Aaron Kleingartner, product and dealer marketing manager at Doosan Infracore North America.

“Today’s equipment owners are looking to capitalize on technologies and best practices that will drive down the total cost of ownership,” Kleingartner says. “By focusing on the fundamental fleet strategies that most directly influence your assets, you can improve operating efficiencies, extend life cycles and get the most out of your ADT.”


Photo: Doosan

Whether they’re removing overburden or moving material in a pit, producers need a durable ADT. Photo: Doosan

Kleingartner recommends 10 tips to maximize the life of an ADT – regardless of make or model:

1. Select a machine correctly for the application. Whether removing overburden at mines or moving material in sand and gravel pits, producers need a durable articulated dump truck. They also need options with the capacity to match the type of work they’re routinely performing.

For example, if an operation needs an off-road truck for short hauls and owns a mid-size excavator, it would probably consider a 25- to 30-ton-size ADT. If it has to move large volumes over long distances, a 35- to 40-ton ADT would probably fit the requirements.

It is just as important to size the excavator or wheel loader to the size of the ADT. Also, using similar-sized ADTs on the same haul road, especially if deeply rutted, will usually put less strain on the driveline.

Core articulated truck specifications that should be taken into consideration include: engine horsepower, torque, payload, brake system, load over height, width of vehicle and ground pressure.

2. Properly partner options to site conditions. Match tire size, type and width to site conditions. Hard-packed haul roads or sharp-edged rocks such as shale will shorten tire life, and minimizing tire sinking will ultimately put less stress on the driveline. Impact damage or abrasion will shorten the life of the dump body, so a body liner may be necessary for hauling larger rocks.

3. Know safety requirements for the site. Many ADTs work in environments that are required to meet Mine Safety & Health Administration or Occupational Safety & Health Administration regulations. Properly equip the vehicles with the necessary safety equipment to minimize the risk of accidents that may shorten the machine lifetime.

4. Follow routine maintenance schedules. Perform daily lubrication duties in addition to other key maintenance intervals recommended by manufacturers in the operation and maintenance manual. Auto-lube systems may be advantageous to ensure proper lubrication of expensive components.

Fleet management systems – also known as telematics – are designed to help track maintenance intervals. Using telematics to check engine codes can help improve maintenance by reducing guesswork.

Routine maintenance should also include visual inspections of the tires, driveline and structural members for damage. Also, inspect for leaks and any abnormal sounds or noises. Fix these issues immediately to avoid unplanned machine downtime.

5. Modify maintenance intervals to accommodate special conditions. Extremely dusty applications may require more frequent air filter cleaning and use of engine pre-cleaners. Double shifting will require more frequent maintenance. Very hot or cold temperatures may demand special oils and lubricants for protection of major components such as the engine and transmission.

Other considerations

6. Limit excessive idling time. By reducing excessive travel time on the jobsite or between jobsites, operators can improve fuel efficiency. Likewise, limiting the amount of idling that can occur during ADT loading and unloading operations is a good practice to increase profitability.

7. Provide training for safe and proper operation of equipment. Having a solid understanding of all the various functions of an ADT not only increases productivity, but it can help avoid accidents. At the same time, by receiving hands-on training, operators can learn an ADT’s controls faster and distinguish which features will produce better results in certain applications.

8. Avoid overloading. Operators and owners should understand that there might be short-term gains from overloading ADTs, but in the long term, this will result in higher repair costs and shorter machine life. Tire life will also be adversely affected by overloading.

9. Establish machine limits. Operators who are trained in the proper operation of an ADT develop a better understanding of a machine’s limits and the consequences for activities that push machines beyond rated capacities. Operators must be aware of stability limits during dumping and when turning too quickly and abruptly, which can contribute to rollovers. Another example is braking limitations while traveling downhill with a loaded dump body. Runaway trucks can result in damage and personal injury.

10. Strive for optimum sight lines. Many manufacturers addressed compromised sight lines with front-sloped hoods, better fender design and center-mounted cabs. Views to the rear are just as important for safety, so large, well-placed and properly adjusted rearview mirrors and rearview cameras all make backing up much safer and can lead to longer ADT life.

Final thoughts

Maximizing an articulated dump truck’s life from the moment its purchase can pay big dividends through increased productivity, the reduction of maintenance surprises and safer, more efficient operation. When a highly productive life cycle is achieved in tandem with a lower total cost of ownership, it’s a win-win for producers and their customers.

Ryan Johnson is manager of strategic communications at Two Rivers Marketing. Information for this article provided by Doosan Infracore North America.

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