OUTSIDER. That word summed up BELAZ both literally and figuratively at the huge MINExpo show in Las Vegas. Actually make that highly ambitious outsider.
While there was no room for BELAZ’s 75603 360-tonne-payload haul truck inside the main pavilion – where Caterpillar, Komatsu, Liebherr, Hitachi and Joy had parked some of the biggest ‘iron’ ever seen at the Las Vegas event – it had the main outside area to itself. Well, in terms of heavy mobile equipment, anyway.
Belarusian Autoworks (BELAZ) general director Petr Parkhomchyk wasn’t making any big statements about sharing the Vegas spotlight with the industry’s recognised major OEMs in 2016, but he did outline an aggressive new product development program which, if delivered, will ensure the company figures even more prominently at the next expo.
“Over the next 3-5 years, BELAZ will be recognised as the manufacturer of the most complete line of earthmoving equipment and mining trucks in the world,” Parkhomchyk declared. “Our line is already strong, but the actions we are announcing [at MINExpo] will fill product line gaps and provide customers with the ability to choose product capacity and power train components to precisely tailor BELAZ equipment to their operational and budgetary requirements.”
Parkhomchyk said the company planned to invest (a very precise) $US644 million in 2013 to “dramatically increase production capacity”, continuing expansion programs started in 2011. A further 20,000sq.m facility was being added near Minsk in Belarus to produce 320-450-metric-tonne-payload ultra-class trucks. Additional capacity would be created by moving some 90t truck production to a JV with Russia’s SBU organisation.
Among the other significant plans outlined by Parkhomchyk during a press conference at MINExpo were:
- A program to appoint new sales and service organisations to serve markets in the Americas, Africa and Asia. He said the process started with the appointment of Australasian Pacific Engineering Group (APEG) in New South Wales, Australia, as BELAZ distributor in Australia, and Michigan-based BELAZ Trucks Americas as the agent for North America and some of South America.
- A commitment to offer MTU and Cummins engines, AC/DC electric drive system options from Siemens, GE and Russian manufacturers, as well as BELAZ-designed and manufactured wheel motor gears (standard) on all its mining trucks.
- Start of a new engineering design program to develop 220-240t truck model electric trolley configurations (with 2015 production availability targeted).
- Development of further capability in the area of centralised remote control of dump trucks. Parkhomchyk said the first BELAZ system was operational and undergoing “test and refinement” at the BELAZ Research and Development Centre. Commercial availability “is expected in 2013”.
- Development of BELAZ designed and manufactured proprietary hydro-mechanical transmissions for 60t and 90t trucks.
- Development of a “full line of underground trucks and LHDs”. Trucks of 22-60t-payload and LHDs from 9-16t payload would be offered with commercial production again being marked down for 2013.
As if that lot wasn’t enough, BELAZ has also embarked on a program to deliver the world’s first 90t-payload electric drive truck.
Parkhomchyk said gaps in the existing mining truck portfolio would be filled with the expected release in 2014 of 170-190t (2000hp) and 260-290t (2700hp) trucks, both with MTU or Cummins engines and “the complete array of electric drive systems”.
Finally, BELAZ “officially confirmed the existence of their program to design and bring to market the largest series production mine truck in the world”. Parkhomchyk said the 450t-payload truck was aimed at meeting the need for “ever increasing hauling capacity and the resulting reduction in hauling cost per tonne. The truck would boast 4600 horsepower engine capacity, matched to Siemens drive systems.
“The programs announced here … clearly demonstrate the commitment of BELAZ to be a world leading supplier to the earth moving and mining industries,” Parkhomchyk said.
“We will have the industry’s most complete product line, the capacity to meet our customers’ delivery requirements and a team dedicated to quality, innovation and customer satisfaction.”
HighGrade is Australasia’s weekly online mining magazine delivering to readers the high-grade cut of mining industry news from around the region, and the globe.