Joy Global introduces a new line of loaders
4LD offers improved ergonomics and serviceability
Joy Global is introducing a new line of underground loaders beginning with a four-tonne, 2.5-yard unit called the 4LD.
The new loader replaces the popular LT350 and includes several modifications aimed at improved operator comfort and serviceability, said Bill Maki, senior product manager for loaders and trucks.
Sudbury-based Mining Technologies International began working on updating the LT350 prior to being acquired by Joy Global in April 2014. The improvements were based on suggestions from customers, including Vale, Glencore and Stillwater Mining Company.
The 4LD features an operator’s cabin that’s 20 per cent roomier and Z-link bucket function instead of direct dump with a hydraulic cylinder, said Maki.
“The Z-link bucket function gives better mechanical advantage and allows us to take the dump cylinder, which used to be right in front of the operator, and move it away to allow for a larger operator’s compartment.”
Safety and serviceability were key design considerations.
“It’s a cleaner layout,” said Maki. “We have a hot side and a cold side, meaning the sources of heat are away from the sources of fuel. The exhaust is on one side and air filters and daily or weekly maintenance components on the opposite side.”
The design allows for ground level maintenance.
“There’s no climbing on top of the machine to check any of the fluids,” said Maki. “The operator just does a basic walkaround. We do away with a lot of dipsticks. To check the transmission, for example, there’s a little sight gauge. It’s very easy to access.”
The unit features a standard Mercedes or Cummins diesel engine and the same drive train as the LT350.
The first 4LD off the production line began a six-month trial at Glencore’s Fraser Mine in Sudbury July 6th.
“We needed some real world testing with real operators, so they’re putting it into production as they would any other machine,” said Maki. “They have a number of LT350s over there already, so it will be easy to compare the 4LD’s performance with the other machines.”
Two additional 4LDs are being built for delivery to Joy Global’s dealer in Mexico.
The LT350, of which there are some 300 in service around the world, has a reputation for ruggedness, durability and reliability, said Maki.
“We have LT350s in Mexico running with 50,000 hours on them, so it was important to us to maintain that reputation with the 4LD.”
The new 4,000-tonne loader is the first of several models scheduled for upgrading. The next model to be released is the 7,000-tonne (3.5-yard) 7LD, which will replace the current LT650 before year-end 2016.
Similar upgrades are scheduled for the entire lineup of Joy Global’s underground loaders for the hard rock mining industry.
Business has been sluggish in Canada and the U.S., noted Maki, “but we’ve been very fortunate because we have a lot of business in Mexico and Latin America.
“Latin Americans like our machines because they are rugged and simple. They don’t have a lot of computerization or other bells and whistles. They’re very basic machines and competitively priced.”
Joy Global is also introducing a new underground loader family this year featuring Switched Reluctance (SR) Hybrid Drive technology. “The SR Hybrid Drive system allows power generation that is fully regenerative, resulting in efficient machine operation and reduced fuel consumption,” according to the company. “ During braking or retarding, electrical motors become generators and feed power back into the generator connected to the engine.”
The 4LD is being manufactured at Joy Global’s facilities in Sudbury, while the hybrid loaders are being manufactured in Texas.
Also on the drawing board and scheduled for release within the next 12 months is a line of battery-powered loaders, said Maki.
Joy Global chose to go slow on the introduction of battery power “because we wanted the operators to see the benefits, not the disadvantages. We want to come out with battery-powered machines that will provide at least six hours of runtime without the need for a battery changeout.
“We could have a battery solution today, but it would be the same as everybody else’s. We wanted to go the extra step.”
Tagged Bill Maki, Engine & Powertrain Systems, Glencores Fraser Mine, Hybrid Drive technology, Latin America, Mexico, Mining Machinery & Equipment Manufacturing, Mining Technologies International, Stillwater Mining Company