That the LiuGong wheel loader, especially the 856H model, has made its mark in the local mining sector, is no overstatement. However, it is in the coal handling sector where it has largely established itself. In a major development for the brand in its quest to further grow its footprint in the hard rock mining sector in Africa, South African and Namibian LiuGong dealer, Burgers Equipment & Spares, has delivered eight 856H wheel loaders to the MKO JV, a contract mining joint venture between M Civils and MKO Pallet Services, for use in a chrome handling application. Tiaan Burger, MD of Burgers Equipment & Spares, agrees that chrome handling, which is known to be an unforgiving mining application, will push any piece of equipment to its limits, but is adamant that the LiuGong wheel loader has ‘paid its school fees’ and is ready for the task at hand. He also believes that this is a major breakthrough for the brand in its quest to prove its capabilities in the local mining sector.
Reino de Kock, operations manager at M Civils, tells Modern Mining that the scope of the project is a material handling operation for Samancor’s Western Chrome Mines. The five-year project, with an estimated 1,5 million tonnes per annum of various types of material to be handled, commenced on June 1, 2020. It is a 24-hour operation that will see the contractor deploying seven LiuGong wheel loaders round-the-clock, with the eighth loader being a backup machine. The LiuGong wheel loaders are being used to load chrome ore onto eight 18 m³ FAW tippers acquired at the same time as the LiuGong loaders, as well as two Bell dumpers. The machines delivered
mining-ready were handed over to the client on May 27, ahead of their deployment to the site on June 1.
The CLG856H LiuGong wheel loader is a 17 t machine with a 5 t lifting capacity and comes standard with a 3 m³ bucket. The machine is equipped with a ROPS & FOPS cab, ZF transmission, and ZF limited slip differentials. Due to the short turnaround time between the delivery and the deployment of the machines to the site, the client requested that Burgers Equipment & Spares deliver the loaders ‘mine-ready’. The machines also came with several custom features to suit the customer’s needs for the particular application. “Because they are handling a chrome product, which by its very nature has a higher density than several other ores, we reduced the bucket size from 3 m³ to 2 m³,” explains Burger. “Because chrome is also quite abrasive, we have added a high abrasive wear package to increase the longevity of the buckets.” The machines have also been equipped with mine spec LED lights. Burger says LED produces stronger light, and the lifetime is so much longer
than the normal halogen. This comes in handy in a 24/7 application where downtime related to any light-changing exercise is out of equation. “Burgers really came to the party and suggested changing all the lights to LED, which works much better in a mining environment,” says de Kock. As part of the mine-ready requirement, de Kock
says the machines had to come installed with the Loadrite L3180 SmartScale loader scale. This was a specification from the mine, to ensure quality control systems on tonnages from one point to the other at any given time. The mine, however, didn’t specify any specific loader scale brand. “We did our market research on what would work best and all recommendations pointed towards the Loadrite system from Loadtech Load Cells. We also took advice from Burgers on the best load weighing system we could install on our wheel loaders,” says de Kock. Another mine-specific requirement was the proximity detection system (PDS) from Schauenburg
Systems, which were installed onto the loaders on the day of delivery. The mine already uses this technology on some of its own trackless mobile machinery in line with the Department of Mineral Resources’ safety regulations. “Burgers also upgraded the tyres from an L3 to an L5 radial, to make sure we have a higher quality tire that can last longer, given the uptime demands of a 24/7 operation,” says de Kock. Burger adds: “The L5 tire can take more punishment than a normal L3 tire.” Additionally, the machines have been delivered with the BEKA-MAX automatic lubrication system from BEKALube South Africa, the sole importer and distributor of BEKA products in Southern Africa. “Due to the 24/7 nature of the project, we requested an automatic greasing system which will make sure that the machines are well-lubricated all the time. For greater longevity of our capital equipment, we believe that it should be maintained in the best possible way,” says de Kock.
A major factor in the decision to purchase LiuGong loaders was the price. De Kock believes the LiuGong offering is better priced, yet it boasts a range of tried and tested components that make it competitive in arduous mining conditions. “The powertrain, for example, comprises a 6LTAA9.3L Cummins engine, Kawasaki pumps and a ZF drivetrain. These are not foreign to us; these are components we understand and trust and are well equipped to service them,” says de Kock. “We are quite confident that the product is the right fit for the task at hand.” Market research, adds de Kock, was also conducted prior to the acquisition of the LiuGong
wheel loaders. Several independent references approached by the MKO JV sang praises of the LiuGong wheel loader. “We did a bit of our own market research by investigating other companies in the area and there were two strong references who expressed great satisfaction with the LiuGong product. For us, these are the first LiuGong machines we have purchased, but we are happy with what we have seen thus far. However, we will have a good picture of the nature of these machines in the first six months of operation,” he says. Product support was also a key consideration. De Kock says every machine is as good as its support. The establishment of its local subsidiary, LiuGong
South Africa, has allowed the LiuGong brand to be a force to be reckoned with in the African yellow metal equipment sector. Burgers Equipment & Spares as the sole dealer has also given the brand the supporting muscle which has been central to the acceptance of the brand in the mining sector in recent years. As a key example of going the extra mile for the customer, Burgers Equipment & Spares will issue a consignment stock of critical spares to the customer, which will be kept at the customer’s premises. “We will, on a monthly basis, check what we have used and get invoiced for that, which will really assist in keeping machines running all the time. That was also a determining factor, apart from the independent references,” says de Kock. Burger concludes: “We want to offer the local market earthmoving and construction machines that are cost-effective, easy to maintain, and fuel efficient. We want to ensure that every job gets done with the highest productivity and minimal downtime. Customer support and satisfaction are our key priorities. We want to ensure customers are always informed, valued, and appreciated by our team of experts. I am also extremely proud to say that LiuGong is the largest wheel loader manufacturer in the world, based on units sold per year.”