Tech Talk

Lighter wheels, bigger payloads

When Fenix Newhaul JV (Fenix Resources and Newhaul) partnered up to move 1.3 million tonnes a year of high-grade ore from their Iron Ridge project to the Geraldton port, they needed reliable and durable equipment for the project.

At some 490km, the haul distance is longer than other mines. And a longer haul distance means more maintenance and increased costs.

Elevated operating costs across the mining industry due to those long distances on tough roads and in harsh conditions makes optimising payload capacity an important decision.

Bruce Rock Engineering is no stranger to servicing this industry and was contracted by Fenix Newhaul JV to build a fleet of PBS approved side tipping quad axle triple road trains.

With a payload up to 120 tonne carried on three trailers per truck, these road trains haul iron ore from the Iron Ridge Mine, 67 kilometres north of Cue (in the Merchison), to the port of Geraldton.

The trailers are engineered to keep payloads up and maintenance down, and boast quick and easy operation with simple, accessible hydraulic systems that help keep trailers on the road and down time to a minimum. With tare weights ranging from 6.5 to 8.5 tonnes, the tippers have been customised to suit what Fenix Newhaul JV was looking for.

Bruce Rock’s road train trailers are built and rigorously tested to weather some of the harshest environments encountered by the heavy hauling industry, especially the mining sector, and this is factored into every aspect of their design and build – right down to the wheels.

Howmet Wheel Systems, the Australian Distributor for Alcoa Wheels – which has recently released its lightest wheel in the market, the Ultra ONE wheel – was approached to supply the 18kg wheels for the trailer build.

This is a great fit with Bruce Rock Engineering’s dedication to manufacturing trailers and other custom transport equipment with some of the lowest tare weights in Australia.

The only way to boost payload capacity is to take weight off the trailer, and using lighter wheels that meet gross axle weight rating requirements can make a difference by a couple of hundred kilos, depending on the number of axles (and therefore wheels) on the rig.

“Optimising tare weight of our trailers is a cornerstone of what we do at BRE,” said Keenan Verhoogt, Bruce Rock Engineering’s Tyre & Mechanical Manager. “Using lighter, stronger materials like Alcoa’s Ultra series of wheels means significant productivity gains for our customers.”

Combining lightweight, strength and durability is behind Howmet’s commitment to helping fleet owners and OEMs optimise their bottom line.

Alcoa Wheels are forged with MagnaForce alloy – the strongest alloy on the market yet – making them 17 per cent stronger than the industry standard alloy, which allows for lighter wheels without compromising on their strength.

The wheels’ patent-pending Hub Bore Technology, which reduces the hub-to-wheel contact area by up to 64 per cent versus other aluminium wheels on the market, means there is less surface area exposed for corrosion to form, therefore adding to the equipment’s reduced maintenance labour cost, with wheel removal becoming quicker and easier too.

Teaming up with OEMs like Bruce Rock Engineering to bring reliable equipment to market supports Howmet Wheel Systems’ drive to help fleet owners and OEMs optimise its and its customers’ bottom line.

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