EDMONTON, Alberta--(Highvale Mine is the largest surface coal mine in Canada, covering almost 30,000 acres (120 km2) and yielding roughly 12 million tons of low-sulfur-content, thermal-grade coal each year.)--Located about 40 miles west of Edmonton, the
“We have a fairly small fleet, so truck availability needs to be very high.”
Vital to the success of this large operation are large haul trucks powered by MTU engines. Recently, one of these MTU engines gained notoriety when it far exceeded the most optimistic lifespan projections by thousands of hours, due to robust engine design and disciplined adherence to the manufacturer’s maintenance and fuel-quality recommendations.
Highvale is one of three surface coal mines owned by TransAlta, a company that operates power plants in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Alberta-based Prairie Mines & Royalty Ltd. (PMRL) operates the mine and supplies Highvale coal to three TransAlta plants.
In surface coal mining, the coal seam is exposed by removing layers of overburden. Large shovels load tons of pre-strip overburden into huge haul trucks. At Highvale, the hauling fleet consists of 10 trucks, including six Liebherr T 282 B diesel electric trucks capable of carrying 400-ton loads.
Besides hauling heavy loads, the trucks often operate in extreme cold. In the wintertime, temperatures at the mine sometimes drop to -40 degrees C (-40 degrees F), according to Jim Richter, PMRL’s truck maintenance planner at Highvale.
To meet the considerable challenges posed by operations like this one, Highvale’s Liebherr trucks are equipped with MTU Series 4000 diesel engines. These engines, which are used in several different brands of mine trucks in 12-, 16- or 20-cylinder configurations, to date have logged approximately three million hours in mining applications. Today, more than 300 Series 4000 engines are installed in Liebherr trucks and working at about a dozen mine sites around the world, according to Adam Matlock, senior service engineer for MTU engines at Tognum America.
Engine’s long run exceeds expectations
The engines in Highvale’s Liebherr trucks are 20-cylinder Series 4000 models that provide 3,650 hp for hauling heavy overburden loads. In late 2011, one of these engines was replaced after a notable four-year run during which it logged over 23,000 service hours, exceeding the engine’s maximum expected life by more than 3,000 hours.
The engine has been sent to Wajax Power Systems in Edmonton, the local MTU servicing distributor, where it will be overhauled for reuse. At Highvale, the haul truck that housed the engine is back on the job, powered by a spare engine kept by PMRL to minimize downtime caused by engine replacements. The engine now being overhauled will serve as the spare when work on it is completed.
At Highvale, long engine life is crucial because the engine overhaul has a high impact on truck operating cost. Equally important, high reliability of the engine reduces vehicle downtime, which can cost the mine tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost revenue. “Minimizing downtime is more important than anything,” said Richter. “We have a fairly small fleet, so truck availability needs to be very high.”
Download the complete story and high-resolution photos from www.cccinc.com/pr/mtuengine/highvale
Under the brand MTU the Tognum Group markets engines and propulsion systems for applications in the marine, rail, power generation, oil and gas, agriculture, mining, construction and industrial, and defense markets. www.mtu-online.com
About Tognum America
Tognum America (formerly MTU Detroit Diesel) is a Tognum Group company and is responsible for the manufacture, sales and support of MTU and MTU Onsite Energy branded products in North and Latin America.
With its two business units, Engines and Onsite Energy, the Tognum Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of engines and propulsion systems for off-highway applications and of distributed power generation systems. These products are based on diesel engines with up to 9,100 kilowatts (kW) power output, gas engines up to 2,150 kW and gas turbines up to 45,000 kW.
The product portfolio of the Engines business unit comprises MTU engines and propulsion systems for ships, for heavy land, rail and defense vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. The Onsite Energy business unit supplies distributed power generation systems carrying the MTU Onsite Energy brand. These comprise diesel engines for emergency power, prime power and continuous power, as well as cogeneration power plants based on gas engines and gas turbines that generate both power and heat. Tognum’s product portfolio also features fuel-injection systems built by L’Orange.
In 2011, Tognum generated revenue of around €2.97 billion and employs more than 10,000 people. Tognum has a global manufacturing, distribution and service structure with 24 fully consolidated companies, more than 140 sales partners and over 500 authorized dealerships at approximately 1,200 locations. Since September 2011, Engine Holding GmbH, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Rolls-Royce Group plc, has a majority holding in Tognum.