Heavyweight ambitions

HIGHER haul speeds, simpler maintenance and greater availability is what Komatsu is offering with its 181 tonne payload 730E-8 truck.

Staff Reporter

Designed and built to the same engineering principles as Komatsu’s ultra-class mining trucks, the 730E-8 is powered by a Tier 4 compliant 1492 kilowatt engine.

Komatsu Australia mining national product manager Michael Hall said the truck’s AC drive system was lighter than mechanical or direct current transmission systems and provided faster acceleration and higher top speeds while delivering more reliable performance and easier maintenance.

The 730E-8’s top speed is 64km/h, 15% higher than its predecessor.

It can also handle effective gradients of up to 12%.

In addition, the AC control system offers independent control of the rear wheel motors, giving better traction in wet and slippery conditions. This should reduce tyre wear and improve operator confidence.

Its GE35B AC drive wheel motors designed collaboratively between Komatsu and GE Mining, have no brushes. This eliminates flashover and gives them a higher thermal capacity.

A 2760kW retarding system provides advanced braking capacity, giving the ability to handle steep continuous descents and sharp switchbacks.

This electric dynamic retarding enhances productivity and operator confidence, while removing the need for mechanical braking effort.

Hall said the increased reliability of the AC powertrain, plus its easier maintenance, translated into industry-leading availability for the truck.

“Our 730E DC truck has delivered 90% to 94% availability to mines around the world over hundreds of thousands of operating hours,” he said.

“In comparison the industry average for this class of truck is well down in the 80% range. That additional availability – which we expect to be even higher with the AC drive 730E-8 – translates into an additional 36 weeks, or nine months, per truck over a 10-year operating life.

“Overall our diesel-electric AC powertrain is more efficient, offers better operating characteristics and is more cost effective than a comparable DC powertrain.”

Hall said the AC driven on the 730E-8 had been configured for the challenges of the future, with miners expected to be moving to smaller ore bodies in more remote locations.

“It is designed to be quickly deployed into difficult projects and then moved to the next opportunity as necessary,” he said.

Hall said the truck’s “bolt-together” design made field assembly and disassembly less complicated, reducing the need for large numbers of skilled technicians in the site assembly process.

The truck also incorporates an easily removable powertrain module.

“Maintenance requirements have also been streamlined through the use of Komatsu’s Komtrax Plus remote monitoring system, allowing the logging of data such as operating hours, component trends, machine utilisation – including idle time and fuel consumption – and production information for online analysis,” Hall said.

The 730E-8 can also be fully integrated with management systems such as Modular Mining’s Dispatch and Minecare products.

“In addition, the new truck’s cab brings the same comfort features and operator controls used in Komatsu’s ultra-class trucks, including air-ride seats, easy to use instrument panel with automatic speed control and fully adjustable climate controls,” Hall said.