As more mines go underground, the need to haul more even faster grows.
Responding to this growing demand, Sandvik launched its latest additions to the TH500600 series, the TH551 and TH663 underground trucks at MINExpo in Las Vegas.
According to Sandvik "these new trucks demonstrate the latest innovations in hard rock ramp hauling, and are therefore the clear forerunners of next generation underground trucking".
The new trucks have been designed to have the largest hauling capacity per envelope size, it added.
These series' trucks will also be available with low emission Tier 4i -technology engines that provide high torque characteristics with low fuel consumption.
Following in the footsteps of the previously released TH550 and TH450, which cut diesel emissions, these new vehicles also have fewer emissions.
The TH551 and TH663 have also been engineered to match Sandvik's LH517 and LH621 loaders.
"This 'productivity partners concept' allows for a fast 3-bucket loading system, which increases the load and haul cycle efficiency, resulting in high levels of overall cycle productivity," the machinery company said.
Mark Ryan, Sandvik's product manager for truck, stated that "research in the complete underground hard rock hoisting application and customer feedback have played a major role in the design process of these new trucks".
Safety has also played a major role in the trucks' development.
According to Sandvik they have more than 60 different safety features to protect the operator, maintenance staff and the truck itself.
"The TH551 and TH663 are probably the safest hoisting trucks ever made," Ryan said.
Regarding maintenance, particular attention has been given to the replacement time of large components, such as engine transmission, which in turn results in significant increases in uptime hours and the total of tonnes per year hoisted.
Daily maintenance of the TH551 and TH663 can be done from ground level, minimising the risks related to climbing on the machine.
These underground trucks also feature anti-slip materials on the steps and surfaces as well as the safety rails on top of the truck to add to personnel safety even in cases where climbing is required.
"When designing the TH551 and TH663 we looked at the situations that involve the most downtime for our customers. What do you do when your fully loaded hoisting truck is blocking the haulage ramp due to a flat tire, stopping your whole hoisting operation?" Ryan asked.
In the case of operator comfort, the ergonomic ROPS and FOPS certified cabin is now 35 per cent larger that its predecessors, offering features as 4-point retractable safety belt for the operator seat and 3-point safety belt for the trainer seat, mp3-player, cabin refrigerator and easy to use control system display with colour coded warnings, making it easier for the operator to concentrate on the work at hand – while still making sure that warnings are easily spotted.
In addition, these trucks also feature front frame suspension.