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Austin Engineering is set to trial its Ultima truck bodies on 240-tonne haul trucks at an unnamed gold mine in Western Australia.

The trial has the potential to be converted into a fleet-wide body upgrade, with the Ultima truck bodies reaching payloads of 240 tonnes per load.

The gold mine initially ordered 11 bodies and ultimately the mine’s load-haul fleet was retro-fitted.

The new trial has continued from 2014 when the engineering company fitted its JEC bodies and increased payload to 230 tonnes per load at the operation – an increase of around 20 tonne per load over the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)bodies.

Along with increased payload, the JEC body change-out improved haul fleet availability and performance as they reduced the need for unscheduled body repairs.

Austin Engineering now plans to replace the long-standing JEC units with Ultima bodies, depending on the outcome of the trial, to lift payload to 240 tonnes per load.

“The new bodies would still meet all OEM dump truck specifications,” the company said.

Austin said the Ultima bodies have the potential to be a “game-change in haul fleet operation” due to its lighter construction, rigidity, durability and lower maintenance costs.

A ‘V’ profile floor, designed to actively channel the load to the centre of the tray, improves machine stability and safety, according to Austin while the floor design also reduces dump cycle times.

The new tray design reduces overall tray wear while boosting availability and improves productivity of the mine’s load-haul cycle, Austin said.

“Just as it did for the JEC units, Austin will maintain a condition monitoring program for the new bodies and advise the mine on any maintenance issues,” the company said.