Reduction in cost per journey
Longmei Engineering has around 100 trucks that yearly carry almost 12 million tonnes of excavated earth and rock from a coal-bearing seam at the Xiaolongtan coal mine in the Yunnan province of China. Every truck covers 100 000 kilometres a year, so a reduction in the cost per journey could produce substantial savings. According to Chen Hao, Plant Manager for Longmei, the company knew that they would improve the cost efficiency by redesigning the truck bodies.
Thinner and lighter Hardox plate
SSAB technicians discussed the matter with engineers at Longmei, and showed examples of how thinner and lighter Hardox plate could be used for maximizing the payload capacity of the trucks.
“We were willing to try something new. We had several meetings and discussions with SSAB, and their technical team showed us examples of truck bodies that were used in Europe. The bodies were very attractive, so we decided to run a trial with Hardox,” recalls Chen.
Scepticism was the first reaction when the bodies were delivered.
“The truck body was a shock to us at first, and our drivers refused to believe that such thin plate could cope with more load. But after a few months of service, the drivers agreed that the new Hardox bodies were up to the task,” he recalls.
The whole of the company backed the decision to carry on with Hardox, and it was then decided to switch to a U-shaped body to lower the weight and increase the capacity further. The result was a success. Chen recalls that Hardox 450 enabled Longmei to reduce the body weight from 4.6 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes.
“Since we haul earth and rock, the empty weight of the truck is of major importance to us,” states Chen.
“Many truck body manufacturers in China use mild steel with many reinforcements. But Hardox 450 needs no stiffeners, which is a major design benefit,” says Sun Mangui, Design and Production Manager at Longmei.
More load per trip = better profit margin
Since Hardox bodies are lighter and thinner than those made of mild steel with reinforcements, the new Longmei U-shaped truck bodies can carry several tonnes more load per trip.
“A Hardox body costs around eur 4 900 more to produce than a mild steel body. But a lighter truck can carry more load per trip, which results in a better profit margin. Every truck covers around 100 000 kilometres annually, so it takes only six months to recover our investment in Hardox.”