Elphinstone WR820 maximises productivity

Elphinstone, the most successful name in Australian-produced underground mining equipment, has developed a range of heavy-duty hard rock support vehicles that continue the company’s well-known 45-year legacy.

Based in Burnie, Tasmania, Elphinstone is an industry-leader in the design, manufacture and support of quality equipment for the global underground, and surface mining industries.

The company specialises in underground support vehicles comprising graders, water cannons, water tanks, agitators, scissor lifts, delivery, and fuel and lube trucks, with more variants planned for future development.

The WR820 range of underground specialised support vehicles includes a 10m³ and 8m³ agitator, and a 16,000-litre water tank fitted with rear and side water sprays for dust suppression.

Headlining the range is the Elphinstone WR820 Agitator 10m³, specialising in the bulk transport of concrete to backfill voids, continuous pours and construction.

The agitator bowl has a guaranteed maximum capacity of 10m³, mixing wet or dry products with variable speed control.

The robust, heavy-duty design of the WR820 utilises high-tensile steel to reinforce the frame in high stress areas.

The frame includes belly guard access and front suspension A-frame, with Caterpillar nitrogen-charged suspension cylinders, providing controlled axle oscillation and vertical dampening.

Elphinstone Australasia regional sales and support manager Tim Waller told Australian Mining the WR820 platform shares its design origin with the Cat AD22 underground haul truck which features the Cat C11 engine and powertrain.

The engine and associated powertrain provide haulage speeds on grade equivalent to production equipment, resulting in increased productivity across the mining fleet.

“Ensuring haulage trucks are not held up by support equipment travelling in the mine is paramount to the productivity of the mine and safety of the operator,” Waller said.

The C11 engine is also found in several other Caterpillar products and applications.

Component commonality shared across many applications, provides the highest level of reliability and durability, as well as superior parts availability and product support worldwide through the Caterpillar Dealer Network.

“This allowed us to design and manufacture a range of larger underground support machines such as the WR820 10m³ Agitator, WR820 8m³ Agitator, WR820 Water Cannon and WR820 Water Tank,” Waller said.

Safety is one of the most important aspects of any piece of mining equipment, and the WR820 is engineered according to Australian and International Standards to ensure that it complies with all relevant safety requirements.

One of the most important safety features of the WR820 is the braking system.

The WR820 is fitted with heavy-duty service brakes and an integrated automatic engine retarder and exhaust braking system which provides confidence to the operator when hauling downhill into the mine.

Other safety features include fuel water separators made of non-flammable material, firewalls and heatshields, machine interlocks, centralised isolation points, and an optional integrated fire suppression system.

Handrails and steps are designed in accordance with safety regulations, and all handrails are painted green and positioned for three-point access to the cab and other areas of the machine.

Also integrated into the WR820 is a standard ROPS/FOPS (roll-over protective structure/falling object protective structure) in both open cab and the optional enclosed cab configuration.

“All machines are comprehensively tested at the Elphinstone test facility to ensure the machine is fully operational and all safety systems are functioning as designed,” Waller said.

Onboard machine diagnostics allow operators or technicians the ability to rapid fault-find, increasing the availability and productivity of the machine.

Operator comfort and ergonomics are also important to the productivity of the machine. To be able to operate at higher speeds the operator needs to feel safe, secure and comfortable.

“Combined with the front suspension and optional air-ride seat, the ergonomic, user-friendly intuitive controls, and excellent visibility provide unrivalled comfort for the operator,” Waller said.

Domestically, the WR820 Agitator 10m³ is a proven performer with greater than 15 machines operating on sites throughout Australasia.

Large mines and high-production requirements mean miners are seeking high-productivity solutions where a single machine can replace multiple machines in the same application. This reduces mine congestion, operating costs, and environmental impact.

With the world’s biggest mining companies pledging to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, Elphinstone’s is seeing a growing trend towards battery electric vehicles (BEV).

Elphinstone sees a big future for battery-powered underground machines, but says the race is on to develop a sustainable BEV solution as technology develops at a rapid pace.

“Elphinstone are currently on the battery-electric vehicle journey, after receiving a Federal Government grant to develop BEV solutions on our current machine platforms,” Waller said.

Elphinstone has formed an experienced and capable BEV development team and foresees the design and testing of an Elphinstone BEV mining support vehicle prototype in early 2024.

This feature appeared in the May issue of Australian Mining.

Future Focus for Finning Canada & Elphinstone

Finning & Elphinstone Partnership

Finning has partnered with Elphinstone to provide a diverse range of underground mining support vehicles to suit your mining application.

With sustainability at the forefront of our clients’ minds, Elphinstone have begun developing a suite of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) support vehicles for underground hard rock mining to address the increasing decarbonisation efforts and expectations of our global customer base.

This will allow Finning and Elphinstone to support their clients achieve ESG targets as we move forward.

Finning is proud to be an authorised dealer for the Elphinstone UG product line including the UG20M Grader and the WR810 Series comprising a Delivery with Crane, Water Cannon, Fuel & Lube, 6m3 Agitator and Scissor Lift.

The WR810 Series is optioned with a Tier 4 Final version of the CAT C7.1 engine to align with Canadian emission standards.

The WR810 operator cabin is designed to seat three people in comfort with exceptional visibility. In the working environment a three-seater cabin allows for the complete crew to go collectively rather than deploying an additional light vehicle for personnel transport.

An exciting new line up from Elphinstone with the trusted service, warranty, parts and support from Finning.

WR810 Delivery

  • GVM* 28,760 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 3 (Standard)
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 FINAL (Optional)
  • Maximum Payload 11,130 kg
  • HIAB Crane Rated Lift Capacity 8.8 TM
  • Crane Outreach 7.7 m

*GVM dependent on product configuration.

UG20M Motor Grader

  • GVM* 18,000 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 INTERIM
  • Frame articulation left/right 20 degrees
  • Steering range left/right 47.5 degrees
  • Turning circle inner/outer (shortened wheelbase) 63/235 in
  • Overall length (shortened wheelbase) 28 ft 3.4 in

*Approximate only. GVM dependent on product configuration

WR810 Fuel & Lube

  • GVM* 24,750 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 3 (Standard)
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 FINAL (Optional)
  • Diesel Tank Capacity 5000 L
  • 4 x 300 L Oil Tanks
  • 44 gallon drum storage with 2 point lash down device

*Approximate only. GVM dependent on product configuration

WR810 Water Cannon

  • GVM* 28,660 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 3 (Standard)
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 FINAL (Optional)
  • Water Tank Volume 8000 L
  • Dust Suppression Road Spray System
  • Water pressure approx. 150psi

*GVM dependent on product configuration

WR810 Scissor Lift

  • GVM* 23,400 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 3 (Standard)
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 FINAL (Optional)
  • Rated capacity 5,000 kg AS1418.10 Group A, Type 1
  • Platform size 2,400 mm wide x 4,000 mm long
  • 17% machine levelling ability via cylinders

*Approximate only. GVM dependent on product configuration

WR810 Agitator 6m3

  • GVM* 29,400 kg
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 3 (Standard)
  • Engine model Cat C7.1 ACERT™ TIER 4 FINAL (Optional)
  • Volume 6 m3
  • Plant mix mode agitator bowl speed 0-19 rpm
  • Transit mode agitator bowl speed 0-6 rpm

*Approximate only. GVM dependent on product configuration

Elphinstone WR810 Series

The WR810 is the smaller of Elphinstone's two purpose built base support platforms.  Available in forward or centre mount cab configuration, the WR810 features an integrated Caterpillar powertrain delivering optimum performance and reliability in tough underground conditions.

ACERT™ Technology Caterpillar optimizes engine performance while meeting EPA Tier 3 regulations. ACERT™ Technology reduces emissions during the combustion process by using advanced technology in the air and fuel systems, in conjunction with  integrated electronics. The Caterpillar engine meets emission regulations at the combustion source rather than recycling exhaust gases.

C11 ACERT EngineCat C7.1 Tier 3 engine (Standard)

The C7.1 ACERT Tier 3 engine arrangement rated at 168 kilowatts (225 horsepower) is the standard option for less stringent emission regulations. Matched to the engine is a Cat five-speed (three-speed reverse) transmission fitted with a lock-up torque converter.
Downtime during service and maintenance is reduced through some clever engineering and design features. Quick change air filters and 500-hour oil service intervals also reduce downtime and keep machines in operation for longer for greater productivity. The on-board warning & protection system continuously checks all critical machine functions for early warning and fast fault finding, recorded for analysis.

C7.1 Tier 4 Final ACERT EngineCat C7.1 Tier 4 Final engine (Optional)

The C7.1 ACERT Tier 4 Final engine arrangement is optional, adhering to EU Stage V exhaust emission standards. The engine arrangement offers a dual horsepower configuration set at 151 kilowatts (202 horsepower) for a higher performance rating. The lower reduced ventilation rating at 129 kilowatts (173 horsepower) is possible through a simple software change performed by a Caterpillar dealer.

Cat Five Speed TransmissionCat Five-Speed Transmission

The field proven Caterpillar power shift countershaft transmission easily matches engine power to the load size and ground conditions. Electronic control makes fingertip controls possible, reducing operator fatigue and improving comfort.

Gear Application Gear ratios are designed to maximise productivity in specific cycle segments: Gear 1 provides highest rimpull capability for heavy load applications;  Gear 2 and 3 for normal loads and higher speed operations; Gear 4 and 5 provide excellent empty return and roading speeds.

Elphinstone UG20K Grader Ecuador IASA

Elphinstone secures first sale in Ecuador through IASA

Elphinstone has secured its first sale in Ecuador, delivering a feature-packed UG20K underground grader to a valued customer through local CAT dealer IASA. The UG20K makes hard work look easy – smoothing and maintaining your haul roads for increased productivity and reduced operational costs. Features include LED front and rear lighting, emergency control brake, automatic greasing system, multi-view camera, fire suppression, fast fill and more.

CSA Glencore purchase WR810 Water Cannon through WesTrac

Elphinstone is excited to deliver a WR810 Underground Water Cannon to Glencore CSA Mine through WesTrac Cat in New South Wales. It is the third WR810 Water Cannon sold within Australia, with five units delivered internationally, with both Tier 3 and Tier 4 final engine arrangements. The dual application reduces the need for multiple machines, reducing capital, operational and maintenance costs plus the amount of heat and emissions produced. The machine will be used by Glencore CSA Mine for dust suppression, ore recovery and removal of hang up.

50th Underground Motor Grader

Elphinstone is excited and proud to announce the sale of the 50th underground motor grader designed and manufactured at the company’s world-class facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

In 2017 Elphinstone identified an opportunity to expand their growing range of underground support vehicles by introducing the UG20K and UG20M haul road maintenance machines based on the Caterpillar 120K and 120M surface grader platforms. 

Elphinstone graders are currently operating in Argentina, Canada, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kazakstan, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and the USA.

WR810 Tier 4 Underground Series

WR810 Tier 4 machines hit the market in Canada

It says a lot about Elphinstone’s reputation when a dealer halfway around the world orders its machines off the plan.

But that’s exactly what happened when Toromont (Authorised Caterpillar and Elphinstone Dealer) in Ontario, Canada, learned about Elphinstone’s WR810 Tier 4 Underground Support Vehicles.

Toromont secured two of these brand-new machines – one with a flat deck and crane, the other with water sprays and water cannon – for its dealership in Sudbury, Ontario, and they have just been delivered. A third WR810 will be on its way next year.

Designed and manufactured in Burnie, the WR810 is a highly configurable, 10-tonne nominal base platform, comprising a scissor-lift, agitator (6m3), fuel and lube truck, delivery with crane and innovative water cannon.

“This is a machine built to thrive in the harshest underground hard-rock mining environments,” says Larry Widdifield, Sales & Product Support Representative for Elphinstone in North America. “In terms of operator comfort, speed and productivity, the WR810 is hard to beat.”

A 30-year relationship

Among Ontario’s mining community, the Elphinstone name has long been synonymous with quality and innovation. This eastern region is the site of some of the world’s most productive mines, containing vast quantities of nickel, platinum and palladium, and Elphinstone machines have been underground here since 1990.

Larry was involved right from the start, and has some fascinating tales about the early days of the North American business.

“I was working for a company called Crothers – which was later bought by Toromont – when we heard about Elphinstone’s products, and flew to Tasmania to see them,” recalls Larry. “Bob Calvert, and one of the dealers took us out to one of the mines and said, ‘Here, have fun, I’ll see you at the end of the shift,’ and just kinda dumped us there. But we were in great hands, because the customer just loved his machine, and we ordered one.”

That machine – an R1500 loader, serial number 106 – marked the start of Elphinstone’s incursion into Canada, and the beginning of Larry’s relationship with Elphinstone. A year later, he’d left Toromont to become Elphinstone’s first employee for Canada, the US and Mexico.

“Dale gave me a credit card and said, ‘I hope you like travelling – I want you to see what you can do to start the business here.’ Pretty soon, we were delivering 100 machines a year across North America.”

Leading on productivity

Elphinstone’s success came from the quality of its loaders and the company’s ability to address customer requirements with good solutions, says Larry.

“One of the key factors was machine productivity,” he says. “We were faster and more reliable than anybody, and we prioritised operator comfort in our cabs – they were so comfortable, operators were eating their lunch in there instead of going to the lunch room. Managers couldn’t believe the uptake of acceptance by the operators.”

Larry predicts that the WR810 will be just as popular with operators and owners. The operator station is designed to seat three people in comfort with exceptional visibility, which is ideal for training purposes as well as allowing the complete crew to travel collectively, rather than deploying an additional light vehicle for personnel transport.

Meanwhile, the oscillating hitch provides superior operator comfort, four-wheel ground contact and reduced wear on the hitch and steering components.

WR810 Tier 4 Water Cannon

In terms of functionality, the WR810 Tier 4 Water Cannon is a dual application machine, providing both production and support capabilities. “It’s pretty unique,” says Larry.

As a production machine, the water cannon uses high pressure water to blast and wash valuable ore fines from difficult to access areas of the mine. A wireless controller and base station allows the operator to position the 8m telescopic boom for high-pressure blasting of material blockages from a safe remote location.

As a support machine, the high pressure water cannon is used to unblock open stopes by blasting the fines and smaller rocks away, and dislodging the remaining material. Water Spray valves mounted at the rear and sides of the tank suppress dust from the haul roads improving the operating conditions and resulting in improved health and safety.

WR810 Tier 4 Delivery with crane

With a payload of 11,130 kilograms, the WR810 Delivery with crane ensures parts, components and maintenance personnel are transported safely throughout the mine.

The fully integrated Hiab X-HiDuo 092 ‘optimal performance’ loader crane features a rated lifting capacity of 8.8 tonne metre (TM) and a 7.7-metre outreach, providing a reliable solution for day-to-day heavy lifting.

“Our plan is to have these machines in operation in early 2022,” says Larry, adding that there’s already considerable customer interest in these new assets. “The market over here is huge and once these machines get rolling I can see considerable demand for them.”

WR810 Tier 3 Underground Water Cannon

WR810 Underground Water Cannon dispatched to Westrac

Elphinstone are very pleased to be delivering a WR810 Underground Water Cannon to WesTrac in Western Australia which will be introduced to the Goldfields.

The Elphinstone WR810 Water Cannon is a dual application machine. A wireless controller and base station allows the operator to position the 8m telescopic boom for washing down valuable ore fines or high-pressure blasting of material blockages from a safe remote location. The side and rear water sprays are for dust suppression of haul roads and are controlled from the operators cabin.

This machine features some impressive options including a proven Caterpillar power train, all-wheel drive, hydraulic front suspension, oscillating hitch, heavy-duty axles, automatic lubrication, mine water supply connection, automatic boom pack up and much more. The fire suppression system is cleverly hidden away and protected inside the rear tank.

Elphinstone Underground WR820 Agitator 10m3

WR820 Agitator 10m3 customised to meet requirements

The Elphinstone product development division is proactive in listening to the ‘Voice of Customer’ (VOC) to ensure our products meet their requirements. Elphinstone recently delivered a fully customised, feature-packed WR820 10m3 Agitator to a valued customer in Victoria through William Adams Pty Ltd. The WR820 10m3 Agitator maximises productivity via volume, speed and braking performance to deliver bulk concrete underground. The agitator bowl has a rated capacity of 10m3, and mixes either wet or dry product with variable speed control.
Front suspension, air-ride seat, ergonomic controls and excellent visibility from the air-conditioned ROPS/FOPS cabin provide the operator confidence to operate the machine at speeds equalling the production fleet. An inbuilt brake retarder and optional engine exhaust brake provide superior braking performance when hauling downhill.
For more information, please contact your local Caterpillar Dealer
Open Cab UG20K Underground Motor Grader

Elphinstone UG20K Open Cab Motor Grader bound for Mexico

Elphinstone’s engineering team design, develop, and customise underground mining solutions to meet specific site application requirements. The Elphinstone UG20K Open Cab Motor Grader is just one of many examples, modified to meet the requirements of a much-valued customer in Mexico. This machine is also fitted with many factory options such as a fire suppression system, automatic grease lubrication and upgraded LED lighting. The UG20K makes hard work look easy – creating and maintaining haul roads for increased productivity and reduced operational costs of the mine haulage fleet. Available via the Worldwide Caterpillar Dealer Network.

Third UG20K Underground Motor Grader for West Africa

The best voice of customer feedback is a repeat order. Elphinstone is excited to be delivering the third UG20K Underground Motor Grader to a much-valued customer in West Africa through JA Delmas. The UG20K Underground Motor Grader is available in multiple machine configurations to suit your budget and site application requirements. The UG20K makes hard work look easy – smoothing and maintaining your haul roads for increased productivity and reduced operational costs. Available via the Worldwide Caterpillar Dealer Network.