Sky's the limit with this Scania for miners
GIPPSLAND'S Safetech has just delivered a huge elevated work platform fitted to a Scania XT that will help cut mining operators' costs and improve safety and efficiency.
The sky is the limit when it comes to what it costs to keep a mining operation ticking over in a productive way.
To assist a major mining company to undertake safe maintenance of its biggest machinery, Safetech in Moe, Gippsland, was tasked with creating an elevated work platform that was not only highly-manoeuvrable on rough surfaces, but which could remain in place long enough to undertake significant onsite, in-situ maintenance.
The cost benefits are easy to understand. If the big machinery doesn't need to leave the worksite, costs are reduced, and downtime shrinks.
By raising a service crew up to 11 m into the air and being able to traverse the platform laterally as much as 3 m, the 7.5 m long platform becomes a very manoeuvrable place from which to attack servicing or repair work on a variety of machinery or installed infrastructure.
A Scania XT truck with its robust, off-road-friendly construction and mining-friendly features was the perfect choice, especially because the mining operator already runs a large number of Scania vehicles in support and service roles on-site.
The EWP has been configured to be able to lift a payload of up to 1.5-tonnes. It sits securely on stout outriggers that descend directly from the chassis, rather than extending outwards, giving the platform a more compact footprint.
The front of the truck is elevated off its wheels, while at the very rear, a pair of hydraulic outriggers supports the truck as it sits on its rear wheels, or they can be deployed to lift the entire truck off the ground.
Electronic adjustment allows the truck to be levelled out perfectly before extending the platform upwards for greater stability.
This is the largest EWP that Safetech has built to date, having also used 4WDs, light commercial trucks and underground mining vehicles as the base for smaller EWP versions. The benefit of the Scania-based EWP is that the large platform can allow several technicians to work simultaneously, again helping to reduce downtime.
According to Chris White, Safetech Business Development Manager, this is the biggest EWP the company has built so far on the back of a vehicle.
"One of the benefits for the mining operators is that traditionally while working on the large mining excavators and haul trucks, the technicians have had to climb up the stairways several times each day to access the service areas, while carting all their gear and the service components. Now the platform will lift them directly to the correct height, so there will be less potential for slips, or strains.
"We have designed the safety gates to be wide enough opening that a forklift can load a pallet onto the platform. The platform can be left in an elevated position all day if necessary, allowing the maintenance crew to leave their tools and equipment in place if working on a particularly long job," he says.
The build took around three months and was assisted by a high degree of preparation by the Scania factory to ensure the chassis was ready to accept the Australian body, including for example, the correct power take off installation.
"This has been an intricate build," Chris says.
"We had to engineer the ladder system, the vehicle self-levelling system as well as the platform traverse system, the on-board controls and the hydraulics, so it has required a broad set of skills. However, we design, engineer and build many similar examples for use in mining and other markets."
The Scania P 380 XT is fitted with a Day Cab and uses a 6x4 chassis configuration, powered by a Euro 5 compliant, 6-cylinder engine. The truck weighs around 9-tonnes and platform and associated systems adds around another 6-tonnes, easily allowing for a payload on the platform of up to 1.5-tonnes.
In addition to tie-downs, control panels and safety gates, the platform also boasts compressed air lines on retractable spindles and work lights, as well as a non-slip extruded aluminium floor.
Scania's Business Manager, Mining, Rene Van Oppen, says the Scania XT was the perfect choice for the EWP mounting.
"The New Truck Generation Scania XT is designed for hard work, and it comes with a number of features that make it perfect for mining operations," he says.
"Aside from the protruding steel front bumper, the 40-tonne rated tow hitch and the high riding chassis, the cabin delivers excellent visibility for the driver. When you're backing up or parking among big machines you need great all-round vision, and the XT really delivers here.
"Working with Safetech we knew that the Scania chassis would be a good fit for the body they were designing because Scania puts a lot of effort into being easy to integrate with body control modules as well as securing a body to the chassis.
"And because there are many Scania trucks in operation on mine sites, it makes sense for mining operators to specify the Scania as the workhorse for this EWP concept," he says.
"Since beginning this project with Safetech there has been a lot of industry interest in the concept, and we are confident that other mining operators around the county and potentially across the globe, will be able to see the benefits of this EWP design.
"This gives mining operators so much more flexibility, as well as the opportunity to reduce downtime on their big machines or infrastructure, so it could literally save them millions of dollars per year," Rene says.
Safetech is a company highly-regarded for innovation-led engineering and has received commendations for its work.
After being nominated among a field of prestigious competitors, Safetech was announced as Manufacturer of the Year in the Medium Business Category at this year's Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame Awards.
"To receive this honour from our peers is especially rewarding," a company spokesman said.
"The Victorian Manufacturing Awards are judged by people involved in manufacturing and the winners are companies that have demonstrated sustained excellence in performance."
The Awards involve manufacturers, manufacturing consultants and the government agencies associated with business development - all of whom work in manufacturing and understand the challenges, the global competitiveness and what it takes to succeed in manufacturing.