On the cover: Liebherr-Africa’s Mining division is introducing the new Liebherr R 9600 mining excavator, the successor to the highly popular R 996B. Based on the successful 800 t R 9800 model, the R 9600 – equipped with some of the most advanced Liebherr mining technologies to date – ushers in a new era in safety, productivity and lower total cost of ownership in open pit mining.

After years of development, the new Liebherr R 9600 made its global debut in March last year. As with all other Liebherr products, the new machine enters the market after a long period of rigorous testing. Prior to the global launch, the R 9600 was put through its paces for a year in Australia, the largest market for 600 t class excavators.

The R 9600 builds on two popular models from the Liebherr hydraulic mining excavator portfolio, the R 996B and the R 9800. The first R 966 made its debut in 1995, before the introduction of the R 996B in 2000, which has been the benchmark of global open pit mining for the past 25 years. The R 9600 is further inspired by its 800 t big brother, the R 9800.

The two machines share a long list of components that have been proven in the market for the past 10 years. At the time of the global launch, Liebherr noted that the new 600 t machine – developed at the company’s flagship Colmar, France, excavator factory – represented the start of a new generation of Liebherr hydraulic mining excavators.

Truck bodies: changing the conversation on mine maintenance costs

Every mine plays its own game of give and take when it comes to reducing expenses. And with the beating that mining equipment — especially truck bodies — faces day in and day out, finding ways to balance longevity and productivity creates a challenge. Navigating this decision can leave many mine managers turning to different rules of thumb to help them prioritise between operational productivity and equipment durability.

For addressing cost, one popular approach promotes a heavier, durable truck body to give years of low-maintenance operation. These heavy-duty units also tend to be heavy in weight — reducing the amount of material that can be hauled — and heavy in price.

Another school of thought places emphasis on increased hauling capacity and higher productivity from a lighter weight “throwaway” body. These units are lower priced but often wear out quickly, leading to downtime and need for repairs or replacements. Even those seeking some middle ground end up without a viable option in an off-the-shelf truck body that doesn’t maximise the mine’s potential.

The only option that provides a unique, sustainable solution to the productivity dilemma is a custom designed truck body, manufactured to meet the specific challenges of the individual mine.

The rise and advantages of battery-electric capital equipment

As environmental concerns continue to grow and regulations in Europe and North America become stricter with South Africa soon to follow suit, capital equipment OEMs are taking advantage of fast-developing battery technology to produce battery-electrical equipment to rival their diesel/LPG-driven counterparts.

In South Africa, Wacker Neuson has started to test the battery-driven mini-excavator EZ17e, but the company’s international portfolio includes battery-powered rammers and vibratory plates, an internal vibrator system for concrete consolidation, excavators, wheel and track dumpers, as well as wheel loaders.

“With the Wacker Neuson ‘zero emission’ solutions,” says Dennis Vietze, MD: Sub Saharan Africa, “a complete inner-city construction site can be operated even today without direct exhaust emissions.”

Shumani MD Victor Nemukula says his company sells the Doosan and Crown brands, ranging from power pallet trucks, stackers, counterbalance, reach trucks, turret trucks and stock pickers. Shumani also supplies battery-operated cleaning machines as access equipment, while Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC) supplies equipment for every warehousing and materials handling equipment requirement, “from powered pallet jacks, walkie stackers and order pickers, to turret trucks, articulated trucks and forklifts – anything that can be lifted handled or picked, for very narrow aisles as well as for long and heavy loads,” says GLTC sales director Patrick Barber.

Articulated dump trucks: earthmoving made easier, smarter, safer and more economical

Used worldwide in earthmoving applications, the articulated dump truck (ADT) has become indispensable on construction and mining sites. In accordance with user requirements and the quest for smarter, safer and more fuel-efficient machines, the ADT has evolved to the point of autonomous operation. Capital Equipment News touched base with Bell Equipment to find out more about the OEM’s ADTs and the market in which they are traded.

Bell Equipment OEM product marketing manager Jeremiah Mokhomo says new developments in the articulated dump truck (ADT) market, which predominantly operates in the construction and mining industry, are characterised by a move towards smarter, safer and more fuel-efficient machines.

To achieve this, Mokhomo believes that machine connectivity will become a very important need among customers into the future as the wish to make datadriven decisions about all machines on the worksite becomes mainstream. Onboard telematics systems are an integral building block to providing the data as well as formatting it in such a way that allows interoperability (visibility of all machines, irrespective of brand, in one “view”). They are satisfying the increasing demand for data about equipment, which allows users to extract information about the efficiency and safety of the worksite.

Maximise the ‘cradle to grave’ CPK of your fleet’s tyres

In a highly competitive and ‘always on’ commercial environment, fleet owners and operators of medium and heavy commercial vehicles are under increasing pressure. They need to meet demanding delivery targets, maximise cost per kilometre (CPK), reduce breakdown costs and overcome challenging traffic congestion and road conditions, all while ensuring on-the-road safety of vehicles at all times.

High quality, durable and technologically advanced truck and bus radial tyres are essential for transporters and fleet owners to keep their fleets in operation. When it comes to achieving the most value and CPK from your fleet’s tyres, tyre selection, vehicle maintenance, tyre pressures and control are among the most important considerations.

Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SRSA), manufacturer of the Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken Tyre brands, offers these tips for getting the most out of your fleet’s tyres.

The plant hire industry in times of macro-economic uncertainty

Plant hire solutions can help plant-driven businesses to better manage their capital equipment, but the plant hire industry, like most others, is faced by uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment and commodity pricing, which causes bottlenecks in OEMs’ ability to deliver equipment. Capital Equipment News talks to a plant hire service provider and a heavy equipment auctioneer to find out more.

Addressing the question of how plant hire solutions help plant-driven businesses manage their capital equipment better, Rentworks Africa business manager Sumaya Rahim says plant hire is a “perfect solution” for short-term projects where the purchase of new or used equipment is too expensive to be justified in the project. She says plant hire can be an effective stop gap between time of delivery of new equipment and work commitments that need to be carried out.

“Plant hire contracts are generally regarded as off balancesheet finance and are usually very flexible, allowing customers to get out of contracts with minimal costs, whereas an equipment lease contract with a funder will always have a financial settlement to be dealt with. Depending on the age of the agreement, the settlement amount could be very significant.”

She says plant hire contracts are much easier to conclude with plant hire companies than applying for equipment finance at a bank.

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