Two new 10×4 dump trucks from Volvo on the FMX platform reflect technology and innovation for higher productivity and more gains.
Story by: Ashish Bhatia
Volvo Trucks entered the Indian market in 1996. It zeroed in on a site on the outskirts of Bangalore to build modern trucks. Two decades later almost, it has launched two dump trucks that threaten to blur the boundary between a 100-tonne dump truck and a 31-tonne premium heavy duty tipper. Addressing the demand for higher productivity and more gains, these dump trucks are based on the tried and tested FMX premium heavy duty tipper platform. According to a Volvo Trucks India official, they were developed to address a need for an efficient machine that was not as big or as demanding as a dump truck, nor was it as small or less accommodating as a heavy duty tipper. Born out of the Volvo’s ability and experience, on a rigid tipper chassis with five axles and a payload capacity of 60-tonne, the dump trucks are called FMX 520 and FMX 480 respectively.
Big and burly
The FMX 520 and FMX 480 are powered by a 520 hp, 13-litre six-cylinder Volvo D13 engine mated to a 14-speed fully synchronised splitter-range manual transmission with an oil cooler. This engine also powers the Volvo FH 520 puller, and puts out a torque of 2400 Nm @ 1050-1400 rpm. The 10×4 configuration means that out of the five axles, two axles are driven. The first two and the fifth axle are steerable on the FMX 520. On the FMX 480, the first three axles are steerable. Measuring 10,105 mm in length and 4,130 mm in height, the two heavy duty front steerable axles (three on FMX 480) help with not just high ground clearance but a high load carrying capability with their I-beam design. The steerable fifth axle on the FMX 520 is also referred to as a pusher axle with electronically programmable pneumatic suspension which ensures right load distribution across the vehicle under the given gross weight. Additional protective cover on the air suspension bellows make them more reliable to use in the mining conditions. A straight I-beam design, the pusher axle is steered through electronic actuation and hydraulic assistance. The rear tandem drive axle ensures optimum traction and pulling ability. The reduction at the hubs takes place via four planetary gears, and results in an uniform load distribution.
Made for a hard life in mines
The chassis of FMX 520 and FMX 480 is made up of a robust C-channel section side members made of high strength steel. There’s full length inner reinforcement, the thickness of which is 5 mm. The front section of the chassis is bent outwards to accommodate the cab and engine, and has the same thickness of 8 mm in the web and the flanges. The front closing member with a central heavy duty towing device can sustain a lateral pull or push of up to 32-tonnes. The cab, engine, transmission and chassis cross member provide extra ruggedness to the chassis for tough off-road applications.
The superstructure on the 10×4 FMX 520 measures 26.1 cu. m., and that of the 10×4 FMX 480 measures 24 cu. m. Claimed to be capable of enhancing the productivity in line with the increasing demands of coal production, the FMX 520 offers 33 per cent higher capacity compared to the 8×4 solutions available in the market. The FMX 480 offers 28 per cent higher capacity. Developed with an eye on the government’s plans to double the coal production to one-billion tonnes by 2020, unique about both the dump trucks is the cab mounting and the engine mounting. The four-point engine mounting is optimised to reduce vibrations and improve road handling. Neither of the dump trucks are expected to ply on the road; they do not conform to the 49-tonne ceiling on trucks set by the Indian government, limiting their use in mines only. The four-point cab mounting includes the use of coil springs and shock absorbers.
Also unique about the suspension is the design of the front axle. The leaves lie flush with the each other only in the middle and at the ends. These ensure that the friction between leaves is less, providing a smooth and comfortable ride. The springs leaves are made from special steel. Their dimensions ensure that the load is evenly distributed over each cross section of the leaf. Riding on 12-24 cross ply mining tyres, the FMX dump trucks, according to Pierre Jean Verge Salamon, President, Volvo Group Trucks India, are a result of significant investments in bringing in new products keeping in mind the growth in coal mining. Vinod Aggarwal, CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles, said, “We believe in creating and delivering value to our customers with our comprehensive offering to help them improve upon their productivity and profitability. The comprehensive offering also includes Volvo’s aftermarket on-site support with more than 130 touch points. Aggarwal drew attention to Volvo Financial Services, which aims to meet the customer financing requirements.
While the tipping gear on the FMX 520 is from Mithra Kyokuto, the one found on the FMX 480 is from Hyva. It is a 5-stage hydraulic tipping cylinder provided with knock off valve limiting the tipping angle to 45 degrees. This is claimed to create less hydraulic pressure in the system. Aimed at overburden application, the two FMX dump trucks are equipped with a Volvo patented Volvo Engine Compression brakes (VEB+) for safer driving. Safer driving is also taken care of with a cabin that is spacious and comfortable for putting in long working hours. The availability to Volvo’s unique Dynafleet telematics system adds to safety. It also adds to efficiency and security by enabling the driver to improve upon his fuel saving skills and for the fleet company to manage the fleet in an efficient and cost effective manner.