Size matters!


The introduction of the 55 t Bell B60E and Volvo A60H underlined the growing trend towards bigger articulated dump trucks.

Is bigger better? Articulated dump truck users, together with their original equipment manufacturer (OEM) counterparts, believe so, without a shred of doubt. There is definitely a big trend towards larger-sized ADTs on global sites, and Bell Equipment and Volvo Construction Equipment, are leading the rapid progression of ADT sizes with the recent launches of their 60 ton juggernauts.

It’s only some 10 years back when the largest ADT available in the market was Caterpillar’s 740 tipping in at 42 tons. At the time, the 20-30 ton classifications were the jewels in the crown for many ADT users across the globe. For an ADT operator of today, size matters!

The introduction of the Volvo A60H and the Bell B60E, both weighing in at 60 tons (55 tonnes), is testimony that the ADT market is continually convinced that this truck can tread where the rigid dump truck has over the years become the principal choice.

The market for 60-ton ADTs is definite: high production, large sites with room to manoeuvre a big truck of this nature and in challenging underfoot conditions. In the African market, quarries, open pit mines and large earthmoving operations are ideally suited for these behemoths.

To further underline the growth in demand for bigger ADTs, Bell Equipment this month celebrated the successful introduction of its E-Series Large Truck range, a radical upgrade of the previous D-Series as far as payload is concerned. Bell Equipment believes that with this Large Truck range, it has introduced machines offering better cost per tonne moved, a big driver for fleet owners operating in today’s challenging economic conditions.

The Bell E-Series Large Truck range comes with significant increases in payloads. Compared with the B35D, the B35E has gone from 32,5 t to 33,5 t, while the B40E tips in with 39 t, compared with the 37 t on the previous B40D. During comparative testing between the B40E and the B40D, Bell found that, taking into account all the variables, the B40E delivers 6-7% lower cost per tonne than its predecessor, the B40D.

While the B45E maintains the B45D’s existing 41 t payload, Bell Equipment believes this is the company’s jewel in the crown. The company notes an increase in demand for 45 t trucks globally, and the B45E, with its rated payload of 41 000 kg, a bin volume of 25 m³, and a powerful new engine, has the potential to become the most popular model in the range due to its overall value proposition.

Volvo CE has also flexed a big ADT muscle with its new 60-ton A60H. This behemoth fits the bill for high production sites. It is interesting to note that a South African coal miner became the first customer to place the first order of three A60H units at Bauma 2016. At the time, he told Equipment Africa that bigger sized ADTs offer a better value proposition than their RDT counterparts in the same size category. He also believed that the versatility of articulated trucks, along with availability of these larger machines, means they are gaining ground on rigid alternatives.

He believed that the 60-ton ADT will take 60-80 ton rigid trucks to task, especially where unfavourable underfoot conditions such as rain-washed sites, can bring rigid haulers to a complete halt. He also argued that the lure of a 40% more capacity on the A60H compared with the previous 43-ton Volvo A40G, was too good to ignore.

Growth in sizes of ADTs has been ongoing for at least a decade now, and that trend shows no sign of flagging in 2016. But, just how big will an ADT get? Tomas Kuta, senior vice-president, Sales at Volvo Construction Equipment, believes that with the 60 ton, we might have just seen the largest this truck can ever get. He reasons that the cost of componentry on the ADT, especially when it gets bigger, will make it difficult to compete with RDTs in the same class size. But, given today’s technological evolution, I wouldn’t rule out larger developments in the ADT space, especially when the need arises.

For more information on the growing sizes of ADTs, please visit our Specifications Pages!

Thina Bhebhe,

Publishing Director

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