Keeping Australia’s mining dump trucks cool with precision

Komatsu has selected Horton’s RCV2000 variable-speed fan drive and HTEC fan for its 830E-5 and 930E-5 mining trucks. Australian Mining speaks with Horton sales manager for the Asia Pacific region, Riki Tarau, to find out why.

The demands of a mining operation don’t faze engine-cooling specialist Horton, Inc.

Miners are constantly challenged to improve their productivity and, at the same time, are under continuous pressure to meet sustainability goals. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must always innovate to provide solutions so their customers can hit these moving targets.

That’s where a supplier like Horton comes in.

Founded in the United States in 1951, the cooling systems manufacturer got its start in on-highway trucks.

It has recently delved into serving off-highway applications of all shapes and sizes, including large-bore mine haul equipment. Its customers include Komatsu, Caterpillar and Liebherr.

“In 2015, Horton launched its fan drives for the heavy construction and mining applications,” Horton’s sales manager for the Asia Pacific region, Riki Tarau, says.

“From there, many innovations came about from developing smaller fan drives for the on-highway market. Our fan drives redefined themselves and went to the next level with mining equipment.

“We have tested our clutches in the field and pushed them to their limits to see what they needed for improved durability and control. Expectations of component durability in mining is crucial and will ultimately define the success of any product.”

The latest example is the Komatsu 830E-5 and 930E-5 dump trucks, which come equipped with Horton’s HTEC fan paired with an RCV2000 variable-speed fan drive, or fan clutch.

Comprised of a Horton-exclusive thermoset material, the fan is extremely rugged and optimised for the system restrictions and air flow requirements typically found in mining equipment.

Horton’s fan is extremely rugged and optimised to suit the demands of mining equipment.

These fans have been used in Australian mining applications for the past five years and are designed to provide high airflow with fewer blades and less horsepower.

The clutch, meanwhile, only turns the fan when required and at the lowest speed needed to achieve the cooling goal, minimising noise, fuel consumption and horsepower loss to turn the fan.

“The RCV2000 clutch will disengage the engine fan via the engine ECM (engine control module), only allowing the engine fan to engage when required,” Tarau says.

“If you can reduce the parasitic load on the truck engine, while creating more power, less noise and improved fuel efficiency, that’s a big bonus.”

Reduced fuel consumption and parasitic horsepower loss helps miners reach their productivity and sustainability goals.

In some areas, such as the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, minimising noise is a requirement to continue mine operations. It also improves driver comfort.

The RCV2000 is the first ever e-viscous fan clutch solution for mining. It uses high-viscosity silicone oil to transfer torque between the engine and the fan.

A closed-loop control system integrates seamlessly with the vehicle controller area network (CAN) and ECM systems to turn the fan only when it is required for engine cooling and other systems and at the lowest possible speeds.

Horton tested the clutch at a laboratory specifically built for the trial. The results were validated by Komatsu’s own in-house trials and field testing.

In addition to its facilities in North America and Europe, Horton has a licensee and distributor in Australia, Norman G. Clark (A/Asia), which distributes Horton products from its facility in Victoria.

This ensures Australia’s mining operators will receive ground support on all of Horton’s products within Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The strength of Horton’s suite of products has since attracted another major mining OEM, with plans to add more in the future.

“It is exciting for us because it confirms what Komatsu has already seen,” Tarau says.

“OEMs will go through their own validation process with engine and machine trials to verify the benefits of optimising engine fan control with our clutch.

“We understand the mining operators are wanting products that offer more efficiency in fuel, noise and cooling from their machines. Horton provides this technology with a clutch that is designed to offer tighter control of the fan drive system.”

This feature also appears in the November edition of Australian Mining.

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