Salt mine gets huge XD star

WHOPPER: The cab is standard size – everything else is maxed out.
WHOPPER: The cab is standard size – everything else is maxed out. David Meredith

THIS Western Star is not a truck you're going to be seeing in your rear view mirror any time soon.

Apart from the fact that your mirror is probably below the line of its bumper bar anyway, the 6900XD is a special build unit for off-highway use only.

It will never have to squeeze under the gantry at the local licensing authority and will never have a number plate other than a company number that can be read from a long distance.

AV Trucks in Perth has delivered one to a salt mine, destined for a cruel and relentless life of corrosion, where it will probably stay until it dies.

During the course of its service, the XD will pull up to 200 tonnes of product 24/7 in some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

Unlike many mine service trucks that are seriously beefed up versions of road-going trucks, the 6900XD is conceived for extreme duty.

It's purpose-built from the ground up. The engineers start with a chassis that allows a 5.85m wheelbase, and the chassis is a 9.5x86x295mm section in 120KSI steel with an additional 9.5mm inner rail.

Extreme duty crossmembers dot the chassis along its length and there's a 457mm top of rail deck plate.

The front end is not what you'd call sophisticated, but it contains a lot of steel, with a drop forged EFA-24T5 axle and 11-tonne flat leaf springs that are nearly 2m long.

The rear axles are 50-tonne SPRC-1927 planetary tandem units with Meritor driveline and interactive locks running an ultra-short 9.59 rear axle.

It all sits on Hendrickson R850 rear suspension with 1625mm axle spacing and fore/aft control rods. There are no shock absorbers.

Rear end is ready for maximum GCM off-highway.
Rear end is ready for maximum GCM off-highway.

The engine is a Cummins Signature 600, rated back to 550hp. The customer specified a single exhaust pipe for the site, and it's been supplied as a stainless steel unit.

Moving to the transmission, there's Eaton's RTLO-22918B 18-speed manual, with air-to-oil transmission cooler and an external transmission oil filter.

The cab is a conventional Western Star air-suspended steel unit, which means it looks pretty scrawny perched on top of this giant chassis.

The cab skirt and sill plates are all stainless steel.

Alan Orr is the international sales manager for Western Star Trucks Australia, which is part of the Penske organisation based in Brisbane.

Mr Orr told me the 6900XD was a particularly good fit for Australian extreme duty applications, as it has been proven in harsh conditions in Asia.

There are around 120 working in Indonesia, with tasks mixed between heavy haulage, bulk cartage and minesite service.

The trucks are built to spec in the US, then shipped to Brisbane where customer items are added before shipment to site.

We can expect to see more of these giants over the next few months.

Topics:  mining transport trucks western star

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