mtu Africa gives mining trucks a new lease on life
Posted on May 08, 2019 by Wolfgang Stolba, Images by mtu
Eight Komatsu and Hitachi trucks in Africa are currently being converted to mtu Series 4000 engines.
mtu Africa, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, has already successfully retrofitted multiple mining trucks with mtu engines and has recently added another eight projects to the list, converting three Komatsu 960-2KT and five Hitachi EH3500-AC2 mining vehicles. These were first-time retrofits on both types of vehicle. Last December and March of this year, staff from South Africa and Zambia worked on First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel Mine in Zambia to repower the first of three 960-2KT Komatsu trucks. In the rebuild, a competitor engine that had reached the end of its service life was replaced by a new 20-cylinder Series 4000 engine. The third project is to follow in May. The results of the first project once again confirm the classic virtues of mtu products: “all truck operators at the mine now prefer to drive the repowered truck”, which boasts outstandingly fast response characteristics at lower engine revolutions per minute. Other quintessential mtu strengths now gained by the repowering project are greater reliability and robustness, longer maintenance intervals and lower fuel consumption. The truck fleet used at the Sentinel mine includes not only the Komatsu trucks but eight Liebherr T284 mining trucks, also powered by mtu’s 20-cylinder Series 4000 units, and two LeTourneau front-end loaders. mtu Africa has excellent credentials in mine-truck repowering, especially on Komatsu vehicles, and has in the past retrofitted Komatsu 730E, 860E-1K and 930E-4 trucks with mtu Series 4000 engines.
mtu Africa personnel were furthermore engaged by operator First Quantum in Zambia at its Kansanshi mine to replace the competitors engine of a Hitachi EH3500-AC2 mining truck with a mtu 12-cylinder Series 4000. The Kansanshi mine is the largest copper mine in Africa, and five trucks in total are to be repowered there over the next few months. The tried-and-trusted mtu 12-cylinder Series 4000 is already powering two of the Hitachi EH3500-AC3 trucks at the same mine.
Over 800 Series 4000 retrofits worldwide
It is always a compliment to mtu engines when they are retrofitted to mining trucks – especially when they replace other manufacturers' engines. Since the launch of the Series 2000 and Series 4000, they have been fitted to over 800 mine trucks as well as excavators, front-end loaders and surface blast hole drilling rigs worldwide, with the Series 4000 accounting for the lion's share. Each project confirms the outstanding strengths of this series, in particular in terms of excellent fuel consumption, performance, reliability and uptime, long maintenance cycles and customer service quality – all superb customer benefits. The engines used are always bang-up-to-date versions. One major driver of lower total cost of ownership is the excellent fuel consumption. “As consumption accounts for around 80 to 85% of TCO, this is a key purchasing criterion for many customers,” emphasized Robert Wagner, Senior Manager Mining /Oil & Gas in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.
Mine trucks usually need new engines after three to five years. Rolls-Royce Power Systems supplies what it calls Repower Kits for this purpose. These are pre-assembled drive modules consisting of an engine, a generator and a radiator all mounted on a base frame. They also come with an electronic engine management and monitoring system. mtu engineers are happy and skilled to the task to tailor-made technical adjustments where necessary.
Across the world, the most potential for repowering with the Series 4000 can be found in Russia, the US, Australia, Chile, Peru, Africa and China. As one of the latest developments in Europe, the company is currently opening up markets in Bulgaria and Serbia.