One of the most common mistakes made when selecting an off-highway haul truck is assuming that rigid and articulated dump trucks (ADTs) are alike. Although they both have massive hauling capabilities, each truck type has specific features that are valuable in certain applications. Since an ADT’s simple, effective design can be very different from other pieces of hauling equipment, it is important that the trucks are compatible with specific tasks. Owners should first identify the tasks the ADT needs to perform. By bearing in mind the following six tips, owners can better select an ADT that excels at hauling tasks.
1. Complete tasks more efficiently
ADTs are designed to quickly move large amounts of material with the lowest cost per ton transported in mind. Compared to rigid dump trucks or other earthmoving equipment, ADTs perform well in soft ground conditions and are commonly found on jobsites in the early phases of site development, when ground conditions are not always ideal. ADTs reduce downtime because of the following features:
- Articulation joint
- Semi-independent front suspension
- Limited-slip differentials
- Inter-axle differential
ADTs can increase productivity and uptime because they are designed to operate in conditions that can limit the productivity of other earthmoving equipment. For example, some ADTs have front and rear limited-slip differentials and an inter-axle differential to improve truck performance by splitting power one-third to the front and two-thirds to the rear. A front-mounted turning ring and rear tandem bogie are two ADT features that maintain maximum traction and stability when traveling over very rough or soft terrain.
2. Match with loading equipment
The primary goal of any ADT owner is to maximize productivity by reducing haul cycles. One of the best ways to achieve this is to match an ADT with the proper loading equipment, so equipment operators do not have to wait long between loads. For most material hauling sites with good production, it typically takes an average of four to six passes to fill an ADT.
3. Minimize downtime & plan ahead for maintenance
The last thing equipment owners want to do is waste valuable time servicing their machines. So before selecting an ADT, make sure it has easy access to the engine compartment and the transmission. Like any piece of construction equipment, proper, timely scheduled maintenance will extend the life of the machine and save the owner money over time. To better predict expenses, owners should consider creating a planned maintenance (PM) contract.
With a PM contract, servicing time is typically based on the manufacturers’ optimal service schedule requirements. In addition, a PM contract ensures that any necessary maintenance will be performed as required to help minimize any machine issues that can be caused because of a lack of regular maintenance. In addition to a PM contract, ADT owners should perform three other preventive maintenance procedures:
- Inspect the auto-lubrication system, if installed, to ensure that there is no premature component failure due to a lack of grease.
- Assess tire air pressure, wear and damage on a regular basis.
- Monitor engine temperature and rpm history to prevent engine damage and major premature repairs with
Educated and dependable product support is critical for all heavy equipment. Make sure to choose a dealer that has product specialization and trained mechanics, offers a great response time and has good parts in stock.
4. Select the proper tire
When working in earthmoving applications, it is important to choose tires carefully to minimize costs.
The right tires contribute significantly to an ADT’s tractive force, which is determined by the tread design, remaining tread life and tire inflation, along with ground conditions at the jobsite. The most common tires for ADTs are radial E3 or E4 tires.
However, E3 tires offer better traction for sites that have soft soil conditions. Individual tire manufacturers can inform ADT owners and operators about which rubber compounds will provide longer life in earthmoving and hauling applications.
5. Expand versatility with multiple options & accessories
ADTs operated in earthmoving and bulk hauling applications may be equipped with options and accessories to help increase their potential. For example, a heated body kit is important, especially in colder climates, because it helps divert the engine exhaust through the channels in the dump body, keeping materials from freezing. Cold-weather starting kits and heated rear mirrors are other useful options for ADT operators working in the northern United States and Canada.
6. Consider safety features
When selecting an ADT, owners should understand the machine’s safety features. The location of the turning ring, or oscillating joint, of one ADT manufacturer helps keep equal weight on the front tires when loaded and turning. Unequal weight distribution can lead to instability. In addition, some ADT manufacturers have addressed compromised sight lines with rear sloping frames to help lower the center of gravity for more equal weight distribution and improved stability when fully loaded. The frames also improve tractive effort, minimize tire wear and lower, ground-bearing pressure. Large, well-placed rearview mirrors help give a continuous view of the rear wheels when backing up and provide more safety while on the jobsite.
By looking at the ADT’s overall performance, serviceability and safety features, business owners can make an educated decision about whether an ADT will fit into their fleets.