Dust, dirt, loose sand and corrugated roads are all in a day’s work for the fleet of FAW 28.280FD 6X4 tippers operating on the andalusite operation of Imerys Refractories (Pty) Ltd at the Rhino Mine site near Thabazimbi in Limpopo Province.
Fleet operator and contractor on the project, Willie de Beer and his son Michael run the fleet with their staff of 24 people deployed as drivers, loader operators, technicians and administrative support.
Since being re-assigned the contract, De Beer purchased the FAW 28.280 10m3 tippers early last year and these trucks are moving a massive quota of about 4 200 ton sand, grit and loose stone mixture a day – roughly between 108 000 to 110 000 ton a month.
Mining and moving andalusite – which is an extremely hard nesosilicate mineral – is highly abrasive on any equipment involved. This presents all the vehicles and heavy equipment with one of the toughest environments to work in. The residue sand and stone, after separating the core minerals, are no easier on the vehicle and equipment either.
The site’s major obstacles are heat, powdered dust and extreme gradients and De Beer says the FAW 28.280FD tippers have coped well in meeting these challenges.
“These tippers have exceptionally good torque – 1 160Nm between 1 400 and 1 700 rpm. They also have a strong chassis, great steel tipper bins and offer a solid payload at 28t GVM. The Weichai WDB615.50 engine has proven its capabilities over and over and we are happy with the combination of this engine and the manual 9-speed FAW gearbox giving us a gradeability of 36%@V. We are able to move quickly and efficiently with these tippers across the hills and valleys of this terrain,” he says, adding that since changing to FAW tippers, a 22% drop in fuel consumption has also been achieved.
In terms of back-up support, this is done by the FAW Pretoria West dealer with dealer principal Pieter Gerber over-seeing the servicing of the vehicles on site, the supply of parts as well as the training of the drivers.
“This is invaluable service and support when we have these types of site challenges to deal with,” says De Beer.