Innovations enhance haul truck efficiency, safety

By |  January 6, 2017

Today’s haul trucks feature components and systems that allow operators to do things producers only could have imagined even a few years ago.

Modern haul trucks enable operators to analyze loads accurately, detect the closeness of other machines and sense hazards. Additionally, truck bodies can be customized to users.

All of these capabilities and enhancements help producers to boost efficiency levels and get more from their equipment. Here are some new introductions to the haul truck category that are designed to modernize haul truck operations further.

Predictive load

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s Predictive Load system gives customers HiVol Load Profiled truck bodies optimized for maximum payload in their operating conditions. The Load Profiled system considers the material to be hauled; types and sizes of equipment loading the material; and haul cycles to provide accurate analysis of the loads.

According to Philippi-Hagenbuch, this system serves as an accurate guideline for the body design that optimizes productivity and longevity in addition to maximizing payload.

“Truck bodies take a beating day in and day out from hauling iron ore and oil sands to rock and overburden,” says LeRoy Hagenbuch, Philippi-Hagenbuch co-founder and chief engineer. “Ensuring they can withstand that abuse so customers get the most out of their equipment and achieve their highest productivity levels requires a deep look into the design, and that’s what this patented system allows us to do.”

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s Predictive Load system allows its engineers to match each customer’s operating conditions to a specific truck body design. The engineers consider the style, composition and size of the truck body and how it contributes to optimal performance. As part of the process, engineers also work with aggregate producers to obtain information on the type of material they haul and their load cycles. This helps Philippi-Hagenbuch to determine how abrasive and impact-resistant it needs to make the body. These factors also help the manufacturer choose the proper steel that can withstand the day-to-day stress on the truck body.

In addition, the system considers the loading height and the type of loading equipment aggregate producers use such as cable shovels, hydraulic shovels or front-end loaders, as each interacts with a truck body differently. Matching the truck body to the loading height and equipment minimizes damage to the loading equipment, as well as the truck body’s sides.

This also ensures optimal load centering, which improves the life of the truck chassis and tires, the company says. In addition, it reduces damaging impacts from loads. For example, a front-end loader will throw material against the aft side of the truck body. According to Philippi-Hagenbuch, the repetitive force of the materials causes significant damage to the truck body over time.

The manufacturer also ensures the truck body floor has the appropriate configuration and is angled correctly for sufficient dumping and the greatest practical chute dump clearance, the company says.

In addition to the Predictive Load system, Philippi-Hagenbuch uses finite element analysis to pinpoint high-stress areas in the design. This allows its engineers to know where higher-strength steel and welds are necessary before production starts on the unit. According to the company, this ensures each Philippi-Hagenbuch Load Profiled truck body meets customers’ needs and offers the greatest productivity and payload without overloading or unloading the truck.

Proximity awareness

Caterpillar has introduced Proximity Awareness, a new collision avoidance system for surface vehicles. As a part of the Cat MineStar Detect capability set, the new system uses the latest peer-to-peer communications leveraged by the automotive industry, according to Cat. The system delivers fast and reliable communications between vehicles and presents collision avoidance information to operators without the need for a robust radio network covering the site.

The onboard hardware can be fitted to light vehicles and to any brand of surface mining equipment. Fewer components are required compared with the previous Cat Proximity Awareness system, which uses a Wi-Fi network. According to Cat, the new collision avoidance system requires less space, installs quickly and lowers costs.

The onboard display can store up to 24 hours of incident data. This data is sent to the office for storage and analysis by using strategically located communication hot spots on site. Incident capture, playback and reporting are independent of MineStar Fleet, Cat adds.

Cat MineStar Fleet, Proximity Awareness and Detect object detection (see below) can run on a single, in-cab display. The Proximity Awareness system also features alarm tones that operators can easily distinguish from alerts delivered by other systems. When combined with Fleet in the office, enhanced reporting includes operator performance as related to the number of safety incidents. In addition, the system retains a number of features provided by the previous system, such as avoidance zones, speed zones, highly configurable machine envelopes and projected paths, operator notifications, incident capture and playback for training or incident reconstruction.

The new system is easy for operators to use, Cat adds. The Proximity Awareness system presents information to the operator via an intuitive graphic display in the cab. The system provides three onboard alarming levels. The customer can configure the zones that define alarming. Alarming priority ranges from low to critical. Low priority indicates the projected path of a machine is on course to collide with another machine, or it’s following another machine too closely. Critical alarms occur when two or more machines have their closest zones intersect. If machines are routinely in close proximity, such as loading and hauling vehicles, alarm filters can be implemented between the machine classes to silence non-critical warnings.

Object detection

Caterpillar now offers its Cat MineStar Detect object detection systems for additional Cat machines and virtually all brands of mobile surface mining equipment. Previously unsupported Cat machines, as well as other brands of machines, can now be equipped with the cameras, radars and in-cab displays that deliver increased site awareness to mobile equipment operators.

Object detection kits are available with one to four cameras and as many as eight radars for applications ranging from small auxiliary equipment to ultra-class mining trucks. According to Cat, functionality remains the same as the proven object detection system, equipping Cat mining trucks from the factory and available as a factory option on several Cat wheel loaders and wheel dozers.

The company adds that the expanded line of retrofit kits enables enhanced safety, and it standardizes mixed fleets for the benefit of operators and maintenance technician. Object detection is wholly contained on the machine and does not require the installation or operation of any off-board infrastructure.

Detect object detection is designed to work during machine startup and when a machine is traveling at low speeds. Cat says the system employs radar capabilities to automatically detect hazards such as other equipment or vehicles within critical zones around the machine – in front, at the rear and each side. The system also presents specific camera views to show the operator where potential hazards are detected. A proximity bar on the in-cab display flashes yellow or red, depending on the distance of the detected object.

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About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at or 216-363-7930.

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