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.

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.

Battery Electric Vehicle Project (BEV)

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) for Underground Hard Rock Mining

Elphinstone Pty Ltd is pleased to announce the commencement of a project to develop a suite of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard rock mining to address the increasing decarbonisation efforts and expectations of our global customer base. The project will require a significant research and development investment by the company in addition to the recently awarded Australian Federal Government Grant. Leveraging its existing portfolio of underground support vehicles, Elphinstone will develop the Battery Electric Vehicles in collaboration with our customers and supply chain partners and produce these in existing product development and manufacturing facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

Encouraging Critical Skills Development

The Battery Electric Underground Support Vehicle (BEV) project will build Australian sovereign capability and international export potential, encourage critical skills development required for the future growth of domestic manufacturing, and will ensure Australia remains a global market leader in Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS). The project scope will encompass an end-to-end research, design, development, testing, validation, manufacturing and market commercialisation of an industry leading battery electric powertrain integrated into two differing base platforms from the existing range of Elphinstone support vehicles.

Present and Future Employment Opportunities

Technology projects of this calibre provide growth in highly valued skill sets across the country and will continue to provide jobs in the future. Elphinstone expects the project will create 15 highly-skilled positions to complete the development of both machine prototypes. The positions will include: a highly experienced Project Manager with a mechanical or mechatronics engineering background, a lead design engineer and associate electrical designer and mechanical designer, a software development technician, a dedicated mechatronics engineer, a dedicated literature technician, and two product development technicians to oversee a crew of highly skilled auto-electricians and heavy machinery fitters.

Growth Opportunities

Elphinstone envisage that the Battery Electric Vehicle project will also create further opportunities and growth in the state and local communities, something Elphinstone has proudly supported for many years.
Elphinstone is currently engaging with strategic partners who have indicated their interest in working closely with Elphinstone on this development project. The vision is to provide a Battery Electric Vehicle solution at the forefront of technology whilst maintaining a reputation for high quality, premium and reliable products which are well-positioned and recognised globally in the underground hard rock mining industry.

For more information or expressions of interest please direct your enquiries to BEV@elphinstone.com

Six repeat orders for WR820 Agitator 10m3

Elphinstone is proactive when listening to the ‘Voice of Customer’ (VOC) to ensure our products meet their requirements. The best voice of customer feedback is a repeat order, and Elphinstone is excited to deliver a sixth feature-packed WR820 10m3 Agitator to a much-valued long term customer through WesTrac. This machine will join three other WR820 10m3 Agitators already operating at the same mine in NSW.

The Agitator features front suspension, air-ride seat, ergonomic controls, excellent visibility from the air-conditioned ROPS/FOPS cabin, which combine to provide the confidence to operate the machine at speeds equalling the production fleet. An inbuilt brake retarder delivers superior braking performance when hauling downhill.

Optional features include a ground level fast fill non-pressurised fuel system with a machine isolation sensor in the fuel receiver cap. The system is environmentally friendly, allowing safe and accurate rapid filling by eliminating overfill spillage from the tank. The machine will not start and a warning light will alert the operator if the fuel receiver cap is not fitted correctly. Other optional features fitted include manual hand pump for chemicals to be added directly to the bowl and a camera mounted on the rails located on the right hand side of the machine for improved operator visibility.

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.”

Haulmax 3900 Service Truck

Elphinstone Haulmax 3900 and SVA partnership exceeds expectations

Designed and manufactured in Tasmania, the Elphinstone Haulmax 3900 is a culmination of over 25 years of experience and research into extended mine haulage applications.

Designed to operate on cycles of approximately 50km, the narrow width design of the Haulmax 3900 allows it to work effectively on roads 15 metres in width. The low centre of gravity and dual rear axle configuration is ideal for extended distance hauls in soft and slippery conditions.

Haulmax 3900 customers are operators with extended distance haulage requirements outside the range of traditional haul trucks. Based on tyre performance indices, the Haulmax design maximises vehicle payloads over longer distances.

The Cat mechanical drive power train and power shift transmission provides unmatched operating efficiency and control on steep grades, in poor underfoot conditions and on haul roads with high rolling resistance.

Pairing the Caterpillar seven-speed planetary power shift transmission with the C27 diesel engine with ACERT Technology, delivers constant power over a wide range of operating speeds.

The lock-up torque converter combines maximum rimpull and cushioned shifting of torque converter drive with the efficiency and performance of direct drive. The lock-up torque converter engages at approximately 8 km/h (5 mph), delivering more power to the wheels.

Other value-add features include excellent traction and stability, operator comfort and safety, serviceability, reliability, and an assured increase in productivity.

These features and more contribute markedly to a reduction in Cost Per Tonne (CPT) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the customer.

Elphinstone’s focus has always been to deliver customers a total haulage solution based on their specific haul requirements. Hence the 3900 can be optioned with different truck bodies to account for a variety of material applications.

Elphinstone first collaborated with Support Vehicles Australia (SVA) service modules in 2012 to produce a Haulmax 3900 service truck for a valued customer in Western Australia. The unit has since exceeded 50,000 hours in operation and still going strong.

Such was the success of the collaboration; the customer has since purchased an additional eighteen units stationed at numerous sites throughout Australia.

SVA worked closely with Elphinstone to design and manufacture the FSM70 service module to integrate seamlessly with the existing Haulmax chassis. The unique SVA hydraulic drive system is isolated from the Haulmax’s hydraulic system.

The module design and manufacturing processes consider the actual working conditions of the mining applications the Haulmax 3900 service truck will be operating in.

An engineering analysis of the Haulmax chassis’ axle loadings throughout a range of grades ensures weight distribution is kept within the safe working limits specified by Elphinstone.

The selection of the highest quality manufacturing materials and components ensure SVA modules provide safety to the operator and longevity to both the module and the Haulmax 3900.

Elphinstone’s most recent Haulmax service truck order was the 30th truck fitted with an SVA service module, and the 61st Haulmax delivered within Australia.

Elphinstone has delivered over 114 Haulmax trucks via the global Caterpillar Dealer Network to customers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Africa and South America. The numerous applications include a dump truck, service truck, water truck or tow tractor for a lowboy trailer.

Final two Haulmax 3900 dump trucks on route to Suriname

The final two Haulmax 3900 long haul dump trucks have left our facilities are on route to a valued customer in Suriname through Surmac in South America.

The four new trucks are in addition to the ten Haulmax 3900 dump trucks operating since 2019. Elphinstone has now sold more than 114 Haulmax 3900 trucks worldwide, all manufactured in Burnie Tasmania.

The versatile Haulmax 3900 can be configured as a dump truck, service truck, water truck or tow tractor for a lowboy trailer. With greater tyre and braking capacity, the Haulmax 3900 is designed for extended haul distances. Featuring a proven Caterpillar powertrain with a C27 engine, the Haulmax provides excellent performance, reliability and productivity for long life and a low total cost of ownership (TCO).

Please contact your local Caterpillar dealer or visit our website for more information on our products.

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 Secure Portal

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