Aussie company develops 60t underground articulated mine truck

A twin-engine, double-articulated mine truck designed and built in Australia is set to establish a new benchmark for underground haulage efficiency according to the developers.

The brainchild of Scott McFarlane, Chief Engineer at Brisbane-based Powertrans, the new truck is powered by twin Cummins QSX15 engines.

Powertrans is the company that develops and builds the twin-engine Pit Hauler roadtrains that move large payloads – in excess of 400 t at a time – in mine applications in Western Australia.

The new Powertrans underground truck is known as the DAT60 or ‘Double Articulated Truck, 60 tonnes' and is the subject of an article in the first edition of the new Cummins Mining Magazine, published by Cummins South Pacific.

The DAT60 is said to be the most powerful underground hauler on the market today with 1,100 hp available from its 15 litre QSK15 Cummins engines.

"It's all about faster haulage speeds…increased tonnes per kilometre," says Scott McFarlane.

He points out the DAT60 was trialled at Newcrest's Cadia Valley Ridgeway mine in NSW and with a payload of 68 t, achieved 15 km/h on a 14% ramp gradient – evidence of its performance.

"As underground mines go deeper this kind of performance takes on even greater significance," he says.

McFarlane and the Powertrans team have worked closely with specialist underground mining contractor Byrnecut in the development of the DAT60, and Byrnecut has bought the first unit for operation at Newcrest's Telfer gold mine.

It is understood that going forward, Byrnecut group affiliate Murray Engineering, which worked with Powertrans throughout the design and testing, will market and sell the truck, with Powertrans manufacturing it and providing ongoing support.

With an engine front and rear and a length of 13.4 m (3.3m high and 3.4m wide), the Powertrans truck is up to 2 m longer than its competitors.

However, McFarlane argues that the extra length has no impact on manoeuvrability or swept path because of the double articulation of the DAT60. The Cummins QSX engines are both fitted with compression engine brakes retarding a total of 900 hp – significant braking effort that was fully tested at the Cadia mine with the DAT60 grossing around 108 t.

"We tested the fully loaded DAT60 going down into the Cadia mine over a distance of six kilometres and the engine brakes held the truck with the transmissions in second gear," McFarlane points out.

The Cummins QSX engines drive through Allison six-speed 4000-series transmissions to Kessler axles. The truck also has an innovative side-tipper devised by Powertrans.

Serviceability is another feature of the DAT60 with plenty of room in the engine bays for routine maintenance.

Both engines are cooled by radiators with a 1.3 m2 frontal area. Powertrans developed its own cab for the DAT60 as well as the custom dash display which incorporates two tachometers for the QSX engines.

The cab has both ROPS and FOPS protection. A CAN Bus system is also used to significantly reduce electrical wiring.

John Chadwick is Proprietor/Editorial Director of International Mining magazine –

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