Oftentimes, sizing haul trucks for mining and aggregates jobs comes down to the cubic yardage of the buckets on the excavators you’re running — it can become second nature to simply pair up machine models and put them to work.
And while your dealer — or even optimization tools like Volvo Site Simulation — is your best bet to ensure you have the right machines paired up for your particular jobs, there are a few additional factors to consider that can help you boost your productivity numbers.
If you’re looking to do just that, consider these five factors that could suggest you need to size up or down to get more out of your machines.
JOB DURATION AND TRANSPORT
Job duration is a key factor for sizing articulated haulers. If you have a short job (less than 9 months, for example), it’s not practical to move a 60-ton haul truck to that job because it has to be hauled on a beam trailer instead of a lowboy — and that impacts your machine transport logistics and costs.
Different states have different hauling laws, some being considerably stricter than ones right next to them. If you’re transporting across multiple state lines or simply trying to avoid the extra permitting process, smaller haul trucks are the way to go. Typically, 40-ton haulers or smaller can be put on a lowboy and moved easily.
HILLS AND GRADES
If you’re operating in a lot of hills or on steep grades, mid-sized haulers in the 40-ton range will typically outproduce a 60-ton hauler. That’s not to say a 60-ton machine like our A60H can’t handle the grades — it just might not be your best bet depending on what you’re hauling and how long your haul routes are.
If you’re in a long-haul situation like moving material to a processor or working in frack sand mining, a 60-ton hauler is typically more productive simply because it can haul more material throughout the day.
On flat surfaces, the A60H is our most productive truck. When you get into a lot of grades and shifting up and down, that’s where our 40- to 45-ton units really shine.
For rough terrain jobsites, a hauler with full hydraulic suspension or one with front hydraulic suspension (like our A60H) will give you the smoothest ride. With a Volvo A45GFS, for example, the full suspension system provides incredible comfort for your operators, plus it reduces the level of maintenance required for your haul roads. More productive operators and lower jobsite maintenance costs can both earn you higher profits over the long term.
DENSITY OF MATERIAL
The density and weight of the material you’re moving is a key consideration as well. For example, if you’re moving a lighter material like sand over long haul roads, a 60-ton hauler is ideal because you can add sideboards to move as much volume as possible. Even with sideboards, you’ll probably never reach a full 60-plus ton capacity because the material is so light.
With shot rock and those types of materials, there are a lot of voids in the load, so oftentimes a load of rock won’t equate to a similar load of dirt — especially if the dirt is wet. Material density and the expected weight of your loads can impact which articulated haulers are best for a particular application.
What are the lengths of your haul roads? If they’re short, a 25- to 45-ton truck will likely be more productive simply because these models are faster and nimbler compared to a 60-ton truck. But if you have a long haul road, a 60-ton machine hauling more volume would likely be more productive.
These are just a few factors that go into machine pairing for mining and quarry applications. All jobsites are different, which again is why we recommend talking to your dealer about using a tool like Volvo Site Simulation to maximize the productivity of your operation and lower your total cost of ownership.
If you’re running Volvo machines exclusively, we’ve also put together an interactive excavator and hauler pairing tool to help you determine if you have the right machines working together for optimized efficiency and productivity. Be sure to try it out!