A powerful support system
“In addition to all the specs, after sales support was a big factor in their decision. Vale was impressed with our expert field service, along with the inventory of genuine mtu parts and overhaul kits. We have a specialized technician available 24/7 for Vale,” says Marcio. “We’re committed to customer satisfaction. If one piece of equipment is out of operation, it leads to high financial losses. So we do everything we can to speed up the service process and keep downtime to a minimum.”
mtu presented the repower plan to Vale in May 2016. Shortly after, it was finalized and approved. Success would depend on teamwork, utilizing mtu expertise and resources across the globe. mtu America supplied the Series 4000 engines. mtu Brazil provided mechanical kits. mtu South Africa supplied electronic kits, and supported mtu Brazil with additional field service and engineering. The repowering process was handled quickly and efficiently in order to keep downtime to a minimum. In September, installation began. In just two weeks, the first truck rumbled back to life and was ready for field testing. The project went so well that the second Komatsu 830E truck was repowered. In December, it passed a thorough engine examination and reported for work.
Springing to new life
Revitalized and repowered, both Komatsu 830E trucks are now performing at a higher level. Compared to the previous engines, the Series 4000 engines are a dramatic upgrade. “The trucks are operating faster, more reliably and with lower maintenance costs,” says Marcio. “The biggest advantage is lower fuel consumption. With the new engines, the trucks are close to 10% more fuel-efficient. For an operation of such a large scale, those savings are going to really add up.” “The second repowered truck started operating on Dec 15th, and after 135 days of continuous activity, our engine completed exactly 3,000 hours. These numbers gave us a daily average of 22.2 hours a day, which is an extraordinary fleet availability,” says Marcio. Vale is happy with the results, and has confirmed to mtu the approval of the repower project. Two more repowers with mtu engines are planned for the future.
In its previous life, the Komatsu 830E was showing signs of age, on the verge of a breakdown that would cost Vale truckloads of money. Today, under the broiling Brazilian sun, it rumbles along the winding dirt roads and switchbacks of Carajas Mine with new life. Unburdened by heavy loads, it powers across the red earth at speeds up to 40 mph. Fully loaded with 240 tons of ore, it makes the climb back to the top of the mine nimbly and swiftly. Perhaps the location of the Fountain of Youth is not a mystery at all. It’s right here in the Brazilian rainforest.