Mastering the art of payload

Schlam has decades of experience in optimising payloads.

With more than 20 years’ experience in optimising payloads, Schlam has become an esteemed patron of the Australian mining industry. 

Schlam’s name keeps growing within the Australian mining industry as the company continues to unlock further productivity from its proven innovations.

The mining industry may be familiar with Schlam through its Hercules dump body – an ever-advancing product that heightens payload capability.

Nearly 1500 Hercules dump bodies have been designed and deployed across Australia, but don’t tell Schlam sales manager Tom Smith it’s a fixed product.

“To be honest, that perception does irk me – the perception that we’re not very innovative because our main product’s been leading the pack for so long. It couldn’t be further from the truth,” Smith says.

“We haven’t just been getting lucky for the past 20 or 30 years. The reason it’s (the Hercules dump body) remained the premium product in the market is because it’s continuously improving over time, even though the shape of the body has remained relatively consistent.”

Smith sees similarities in how the Hercules dump body has developed to the way the Apple iPhone has advanced with each model.

“The look of the phone hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, but the technology and smarts that go into it have improved greatly,” Smith continues.

“You drop an iPhone five years ago; it shatters. You drop it now and it’s far more durable even though it looks the same. I think that applies really well to our dump bodies.”

The Hercules dump body has also developed in the same ilk that Schlam has evolved.

What is fundamentally known for its weightlessness has grown in its intricacy, paving the way for a stronger and more durable piece of equipment.

“The way that we’re able to achieve such low weights with our body, it’s a very unique design,” Smith says.

“It’s flexible, it absorbs a lot of impact, and what that flexibility allows us to do is, if you can take weight out of the structural components, because the stresses are reduced with that flexibility, we keep the weight in the areas where it’s actually needed, which could be the ore-facing surface that wears out over time.

“There has been a common misconception with our body, and this myth has been somewhat dispelled recently – ‘oh the Hercules body, because it’s lightweight, it doesn’t last as long as the others’ – and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“In the critical areas, we’ve got the same materials, a lot of the time in greater thicknesses, so we actually have increased service life, increased time between needing to have wear plates installed or replace the components.”

Smith points to a Kalgoorlie case study to consolidate his point.

“We’ve got bodies out in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit that have been operating since 2010 that have got close to 60,000 hours,” he explains.

“If that’s a mine site strategy that we want these things to last forever, the bodies can be designed to do that.”

When a Hercules dump body left Schlam’s Forrestfield factory in August 2010, bound for a Kalgoorlie gold mine, it was just the ninth dump body of its kind.

Schlam has delivered up to 50 Hercules dump bodies to the same miner since that day, complementing the latter’s growing fleet of haul trucks.

With constant dialogue between Schlam and the miner, the dump body has continually evolved to meet the needs of the client’s hard rock mining environment.

As of August 2020, more than 1.1 million combined hours of operation had been achieved by this miner’s Hercules bodies.

Through Schlam’s engagement with the Australian mining industry, some prevailing trends have emerged regarding payload.

Many mining companies know their operation from the back of their hand and understand avenues to gain the upper hand.

“To be honest, I think the attitude’s been fantastic (towards payload). All major miners in Australia intricately understand the benefits of optimising payload and optimising load-and-haul strategies to maximise payload,” Smith says.

“The most important thing miners understand is the dollar value associated with improved payload.”

Schlam has payload down to a fine art, and that’s not just confined to the growing esteem of its Hercules dump body.

The company’s Bullant underground dump body is also turning heads, while its Barracuda mining bucket is known for speeding up load-and-haul operations.

Schlam also offer its Schlam Hex Tile wear plate, improving dump body durability, alongside its dedicated wear management program, an end-to-end initiative assisting mining companies as they monitor the condition of their assets. 

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