More Volvos selected for Walters Group
Friday, May 21st, 2010
Four Volvo L180F loading shovels and four ECR235 reduced tail swing excavators have been delivered for two specific long term contracts for the Walters Group of Hirwaun, Aberdare.
The four new L180F loading shovels have been deployed by Walters on long term rentals to Celtic Energy’s Onllwyn Distribution Centre located near Neath. They replace five competitive models and are now responsible for processing up to one million tonnes of coal arriving from three active Celtic Energy open cast coal sites in South Wales. “We wanted to standardise on the machines working at Onllwyn and considered the Volvo L180F’s to be the best in terms of productivity and specification,” commented Director Huw Richards. “In addition to that we’ve had many years experience operating Volvo products in many applications and their pedigree is sound in terms of reliability, good residuals and a strong support network throughout the country.”
Each shovel has been deployed around key areas at the Celtic Energy distribution centre. The prime mover has been equipped with a massive 7.8m³ coal handling bucket and is in charge of feeding 250 tonnes per hour through the reception hopper. “It’s imperative we keep the washery fed continuously throughout the daily 12 hour shift and the L180 is well on top of this requirement,” said Keith Jones, Onllwyn’s General Manager – Coal Processing and Logistics. Elsewhere on site the three remaining machines are deployed on various duties. Two are fitted with 6.8m³ rehandling buckets; one is responsible for blending coal specifically destined for the local Aberthaw power station with the other allocated to loading road and rail wagons for both the power station and the Corus steel works located at Port Talbot. The distribution centre dispatches up to ten trains per week and the L180F is required to load 1500 tonnes of coal in just two and a quarter hours. The final machine is used for various duties on site including loading local delivery lorries and stocking the finished grades of coal in the bins.
The L180F is powered by a Tier III 12 litre Volvo engine developing 318 hp at just 1400rpm. The Tier III/Stage 3 low emission engine delivers high torque at just above tick over, giving the machine excellent rimpull and low fuel consumption as well as a significant reduction in noise levels of the E series machine. Much effort has been expended to increase mid-range torque; giving better operability in the most economic engine speed range. One practical consequence of this increase in horsepower is better pile penetration and fuller buckets.
Engine power is converted into work via a new smooth shifting electric-hydraulic HTE transmission. All the operator has to do is select Forward or Reverse. The Volvo Full Automatic Power Shift (FAPS) then takes over and selects which of the four forward and four reverse gears is required – and the perfect moment to change ratio. The system is independent of both machine and engine speed. New software in the ECU adapts to the operators’ style of driving, optimizing gear changing parameters and saving fuel by always selecting the right gear. For improved operator comfort, oil-filled clutches and a Pulse-Width Modulation Valve in the transmission allow smoother shifting and minimize jolting when changing between gears. The transmission is also significantly quieter than its predecessor, and maximum speed has also been increased. The fact that all major components of the driveline (engine, transmission, axles) are designed and built by Volvo means that they work in harmony, in terms of performance, reliability and also fuel efficiency. Two of the four machines have been fitted with weigh loaders – critical for loading the correct amount of material into the rail wagons.
In all some 600,000 tonnes per annum is processed through the washery at Onllwyn and with an unprecedented demand for both industrial and domestic coal the finished product goes to local consumers as well as a large distribution network throughout the whole of the country.
At the same time Volvo has delivered four ECR235 reduced swing radius excavators for a completely different contract undertaken by the Walters Group and are deployed on the M1 widening project between junctions 10 to 13. “Again, we chose the Volvo machines for the same reasons we chose the shovels,” said Mr Richards. “The motorway widening works demanded a reduced swing excavator and the ECR235 fitted the requirement perfectly.”
The ECR235 is a 24 tonne excavator which reduces the tail swing from a standard EC210C by 1.12 metres and forward swing of the equipment by 1.65 metres. The machine can therefore slew clearly within a circumference of just 3.68 metres. Fitted with a heavy counterweight, lifting capacity is not compromised with a generous 3.1 tonnes across carriage at full reach. The machine is powered by a Volvo six litre Tier III engine developing 170 nett hp operates in conjunction with an advanced mode control system ensuring the maximum possible hydraulic horsepower available is delivered at a constant engine speed under varying load conditions.