We had been hearing whispers around the place for a while now, and the time had finally arrived to put the rumour mill to rest and lay the cold hard facts on the table. As we drove out to the Hi-Quality Group at the Menangle Quarry, we made our way down their long curved entrance to the office where we were met by a breathtaking site. Not one, two, or even three, but four brand spanking new Volvo A60H Articulated Haulers. The sun was hitting them perfectly making them almost glow in the afternoon light. The Chinese whispers we had heard about this awesome articulated hauler just may turn out to be true after all. We joined Stewart Watt, the NSW Sales Manager from CJD equipment to help us lay down the facts on this amazing new 55 tonne articulated hauler.
50 YEARS AND 50 TONNES LATER…
So, to start with let’s go back and do a little history lesson, it was both 50 years and 50 tonnes ago that the team at Volvo launched the world’s very first articulated hauler (10 tonne) and there has been some significant developments along the way that we will look at in a bit. One thing that hasn’t changed over this 50-year period is Volvo’s commitment to power, efficiency, safety and operator comfort.
In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that sitting in the cabin of this massive beast (which by the way is the world’s largest 6×6 articulated hauler), feels more like sitting in your comfy chair at home than behind the wheel of Volvo’s most advanced hauler in their long and defined history. It’s no wonder that this hauler is the choice of not only operators but senior management around the world.
As we made the climb up into the cab, and also later up onto the front platform to pop the bonnet, it was obvious that up high on the designer’s list of priorities was both ease of entry and safety for operators and mechanics. It was impossible not to find three points of contact, it is designed so well.
The steps up onto all access areas were very well gripped. Given the fact that these machines are designed for the toughest and most challenging areas on site and are often working in the worst conditions, it’s great to see that good non-slip steps have been taken care of.
The access to under the hood for servicing is industry-leading. The front grill swings down, opening a service platform with anti-slip steps. With the release of a couple of locks the electric hood opens to 90 degrees allowing full and safe access to everything you need in the engine compartment.
The cab is mounted on rubber pads and has been made with ergonomics and operator comfort in mind. The operator sits centrally positioned above the front axle.
This positioning adds even better visibility for the operator and along with some great lighting ensures less risk to the people working around the machine. Other elements that combine to improve safety and reduce operator fatigue include superior steering, excellent suspension, low noise levels, and great space in the cab.
MOVE MORE, MAKE MORE!
As impressed as we were, it was time to really get into the nuts and bolts of this hauler.
Volvo has clearly approached the design with several key components in mind. The first that stood out was power and efficiency.
With 495kW and 6×4 and 6×6 automatically engaged drive modes, as well as a torque converter with auto lock-up and a dog-type clutch with 100 per cent diff locks in all axels, there is nowhere this hauler can’t go with its 3200Nm maximum gross torque. The power is more than impressive, it’s spectacular.
The 16 litre, 6-cylinder straight turbo-charged diesel engine with four valves per cylinder, with overhead camshaft and electronically controlled unit injectors is a beast. But what is even more impressive is the industry-leading fuel efficiency, which leads me to the second, key component. Innovative technology and vital operational data tools come together to help the A60H optimise production and control your maintenance costs, maximising your return on investment.
In a nutshell, you can carry heavier loads quicker and for a cheaper cost per load than ever before. Now that’s got the bosses out there smiling for sure.
Volvo also has a range of customer support agreements that offer preventive maintenance, total repairs and a number of uptime services. They will use the latest technology to monitor your machine operation and status to advise you in ways to increase your profitability. Thanks guys!
START YOUR ENGINES
After probing Stewart from CJD about the specs and features it was time to turn the key and put the A60H to work in the pit at Hi-Quality. The A60H is powered by the world-renowned 16-litre Volvo D16F engine.
The new hydro-mechanical steering system and active hydraulic front suspension was amazing. It felt light and smooth, designed to provide total versatility to access the entire job site and climb steeper gradients; you can feel the improvements in the drive permitting high hauling speeds in real tough conditions.
The stability of the machine offers great operator confidence in testing conditions.
When it was time to load the machine the on-board weighing system did a cracking job of guaranteeing the optimal load every time, which in turn boosts fuel efficiency and reduces machine wear. To help stay in control at all times Volvo have integrated the dump support system, dynamic Volvo engine brake and load and dump brake, which all help the operator to control the machine for extra productivity and safety. The A60H took all tasks in its stride. It didn’t have to work hard at all even when climbing out of the pit with a full load. It performed exactly how I hoped it would. It truly is a spectacular machine from all angles of power, performance and safety.
CJD Equipment takes great pride in being Volvo’s CE’s first and only authorised partner in Australia for over 25 years. They provide a full range of machinery perfectly matched to Australia’s unique industry requirements.
These machines are fully supported through a nation-wide network of branches, and carefully selected dealers and service agents, strategically positioned to ensure total support, and Hi Quality can attest the NSW team are a great bunch to work with!
• Total weight: 98,400kg
• Top speed: 54.9 km/h
• Engine model: Volvo D16F
• Max power: 495kW
• Max torque: 3200Nm
• Load capacity: 55 tonne
• Sound level in cab: 72 dBA
• Over-all length: 12,225mm
• Over-all width: 3884mm
• Anti- slip steps
• Handrails on steps
• ROPS/FOPS protected cab
• Secondary steering
• Dump support system
• Hill assist
• Load and dump brake
• Two circuit, fully hydraulic,
wet disc brakes on all axels
• On-board weighing system
• Trouble shooting diagnostics
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
After spending the day behind the wheel with the lads out at Hi-Quality, it’s no surprise that the A60H is leading the world when it comes to Articulated Haulers and is the first choice for operators. Volvo have left no rock unturned in their approach and delivery of this impressive machine. Safety, comfort, power/performance and efficiencies have all been raised to an all new level. I can see everyone from the big boss to the operators and mechanics being extremely happy with these new purchases. Great job Volvo!
[colored_box color=”yellow”]For more information visit www.cjd.com.au[/colored_box]