By Vladislav Vorutnikov
Belarusian OEM believes this is the best time to introduce new ideas and has made a substantial investment in its production facilities
At the end of September, Belarusian engineering firm BelAZ, which manufactures mining machinery, unveiled the 450-metric-ton (mt) BelAZ-75710 haul truck—the industry’s largest hauler. More than an engineering achievement for BelAZ, the haul truck has also caught the attention of several major multinational mining companies.
But, the space required to house two 2,500-hp diesel engines makes the recently unveiled BelAZ 450-mt hauler appear nose-heavy from the front.
“At BelAZ, we create our equipment based on two main principles: the amount of mining will only grow with time, and the capacity of mining equipment will increase constantly and steadily,” said Alexander Egorov, general designer and head of research and development for BelAZ. “Accepting these principles, we concluded that we should create a machine with the largest capacity. Prior to this project, BelAZ had successfully made and marketed 360-mt haul trucks. Several mining companies in Russia are currently using these trucks.”
The BelAZ-75710 is the first in a new class of heavy-duty trucks, according to Oleg Stepuk, chief engineer for BelAZ. The designers of the new machine decided early in its development process to move away from the traditional concept of haul truck production. With this project, the designers wanted to achieve reliability, compactness and a significant capacity increase of truck in conjunction with all applicable safety standards, according to Stepuk.
The new truck has several unique features. In particular, the designers achieved the record capacity through the use of eight tires. Egorov said BelAZ attained the maximum possible weight of the truck.
“The design of every haul truck begins with the tires,” Egorov said. “The tires that were used for the development and construction of the 75710 have the highest capacity created so far, so the idea was to increase the capacity by increasing the number of tires.” According to Egorov, the tire industry is able to offer tires that can withstand a maximum load of 102 mt. Eight wheels with radial tubeless pneumatic tires located in pairs on the two axles can support 816 mt. The weight of the fully loaded BelAZ-75710 will be about 810 mt.
Using a combination of experience and innovative technical solutions, BelAZ managed to confine the new trucks to the same limits, such as haul road width, under which current 320- to 360-mt haul trucks operate. Trucks are useless, however, unless they can move about freely and the designers achieved acceptable maneuverability through the use of two articulation points—both axles steer. The turning radius for the new truck is 19.8 m, compared to 17.2 m for the 360-mt model.
At first glance, the 450-mt (500 st) capacity BelAZ-75710 haul truck looks like any other haul truck from the back.
Special attention was devoted to ride comfort through an improved suspension system. “To make the driver feel comfortable on the tight turns, we introduced a special element, the anti-roll bar. It is also an original development,” Egorov said.
The truck is equipped with a 2-seat cab with ROPS protection. The cabin meets all standard requirements for internal sound levels, vibration and dust. Noise level inside the cab is not more than 80 decibels (dBA).
“As far as propulsion, the truck relies on two diesel generators. Siemens helped us with the development of electric propulsion systems and it was designed almost from scratch, due to the fact that we used all-wheel drive,” Stepuk said. “Also due to the high capacity of the machine, the system of tipping and unloading appears to be the most powerful in the world.” The total capacity for the power modules is 3,430 kW (4,600 hp). For more information on the drive system, readers should refer to October 2013 E&MJ, Developing the Drive System for the World’s Largest Haul Truck (p. 76-77).
The company is estimating fuel consumption for the new truck to be 1,300 liters per 100 km. At the same time, the company emphasized that fuel costs are site-specific. To optimize fuel consumption, the designers implemented an electrical retarding system, which generates electricity while braking.
Two of the more distinctive features of the new haul truck are the all-wheel drive and the dynamic dumping system, which was achieved through the use of extremely powerful hydraulics. According to BelAZ, the 75710 can overcome a protracted longitudinal gradient of up to 12% (and short-term gradients up to 18%), while the maximum speed of the truck can be up to 64 km/h. According to the company’s calculations, the 75710 is 25% more productive than the best haul trucks currently available.
Market Prospects for the Machine
Kirill Kozachenko, director of marketing for BelAZ, emphasized the importance of the physical configuration. “The size of this model does not differ much from the haul trucks that are already on the market,” Kozachenko said. “So these new trucks will be able to easily work within the existing infrastructure for mines operating 320- to 260-mt trucks.”
The new 75710 has two articulating axles with four tires each.
Also, the significant increase of the capacity, according to preliminary tests, does not create any difficulties for the driver who will operate the machine. According to Egorov, no additional training to control the machine will be required.
As far as maintenance, BelAZ will supply its dealers (or customers) with a list of wear parts and supplies they should stock in the warehouse. In the case of a new model, the mining companies that are already using the 360-mt BelAZ haul trucks will not have to buy many new items because many of the parts have been standardized.
According to Kozachenko, one of the largest Russian coal producers, SDS-Coal, has agreed to buy the first batch of new haul trucks. It plans to test the first unit at the Cherepovets mine. BelAZ will supply SDS-Coal with three new haul trucks.
Kozachenko believes this is a good time to introduce a new haul truck. “Consider conservative markets such as Australia, South Africa and Chile. When the markets are at a high point, it is difficult to enter, even with the new technology, for one simple reason: the mining companies are already happy with everything even without new technologies. They basically do not think about this as much as growing production. In the current situation, however, when the market is soft, they begin to consider the costs and that’s why this is the best time to enter the market with a new machine,” Kozachenko said.
Alexander Egorov (left) and Kirill Kozachenko.
According to Kozachenko, the most likely buyers of new truck for now will be large Russian companies. Currently, about 65% of the trucks BelAZ makes are delivered to Russian mines. However, Kozachenko noted that BelAZ is currently seeking to expand the geography of its sales markets. According to him, producers in Canada, Chile and South Africa currently are showing interest in the new model. He suggested the approximate cost of the new haul truck would be about $8 million to $9 million, but the final decision on the price has not been made.
For the moment, Yegorov does not believe BelAZ will build a larger haul truck. The only way they could consider it is if the tire makers provide tires with a greater maximum load. “For the large haul trucks, they should not have more than two axles. Maneuverability will be lost. Two pairs of two wheels on the two axles works quite well.”
The New BelAZ Facilities
Along with building building bigger haul trucks for the mines, BelAZ has also increased its entire production capacity with a large-scale investment that improves operational efficiency. The program was launched in 2011 with a goal of increasing production (and sales) of haul trucks with capacities that range from 90 mt to 450 mt by 2014. The company constructed new production facilities, modernized existing facilities and, most importantly, created the new workshop for the production of new heavy-duty trucks with extreme carrying capacity.
BelAZ recently constructed a 23,500-m2 addition to build ultra-class haul trucks.
If the project goes according to plan, by 2014-2015, the company would have:
• New capacity to ensure production in the planned volume of 838 dump trucks in the 90- to 450-mt range;
• To bring all operational enterprises of the company to the new level of quality, high performance, stability and flexibility of production processes; and
• To raise the level of automation of technological processes in machining and welding blank production, as well as the implementation of a number of other tasks.
The total cost of the program implementation will be more than $440 million—which includes the cost of developing the new truck. The project provides the purchasing of more than 700 items of new German, Japan and Czech equipment and much of this equipment will be automated.
The program also involves several construction projects:
• A new 23,500-m2 production site for the development of heavy-duty mining trucks; and
• A new 3,800-m2 facility for run-in and finishing of the haul trucks.
The new production site will allow the company to independently manufacture heavy machinery, providing specialized areas for cutting sheet material, welding, machining large parts, painting components and general assembly of the haul trucks. According to preliminary plans, the new production sites will build three BelAZ-75710s per month.
BelAZ plans to build three 75710s per month.
The smaller facility will provide an area for the break-in and pre-sales training of the haul truck, to increase the preparedness of products for delivery to the consumers.
Currently, BelAZ has already completed construction works at both sites: load lifting and collateral equipment are fully installed, the largest part of the process equipment is set and currently it is carrying out the commissioning works.
Today, BelAZ is the largest manufacturer of mining equipment in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and a significant player on the world stage. During 2012, BelAZ supplied mining machinery to 31 countries.
Based in Moscow, Vladislav Vorutnikov is a freelance writer who specializes in heavy-industry trade reporting. He contributes regularly to E&MJ and can be reached at: email@example.com.