Keep Scrapers Running Strong
Select the right machine for the job and maintain it according to plan to achieve the lowest owning and operating costs and the lowest cost per ton.
W heel tractor-scrapers have great utility in quarry and aggregate operations due to their ability to move high volumes of material over long distances without the need for traditional loading tools. These machines frequently deliver the lowest cost per yard when moving materials that aren’t rocky.
Wheel tractor-scrapers efficiently remove soils and other non-rock overburden and stockpile it far away from the mining face for use in reclamation. The same machines haul those materials back and spread them during reclamation. In some sand and gravel operations, scrapers function as primary overburden removal tools. In large operations, a self-loading elevating scraper often works with the haul road construction and maintenance fleet to carry materials to road construction and repair sites and to pick up windrows created by motor graders during blading activities.
Selecting the optimum wheel tractor-scraper
Having the right machine for the application is critical to keep maintenance costs down. Because wheel tractor-scrapers are available in several different configurations, mine operators have the opportunity to boost production and lower costs by selecting the right machine.For example, Caterpillar offers single- and dual-engine machines, as well as a push-pull arrangement that teams tandem-powered scrapers. Loading configurations include open bowl and elevating. The best scraper for the job depends on the site conditions.
When grades are gentle and underfoot conditions are good, a single-engine scraper can operate at maximum speed and lowest cost. With the help of a push tractor, the single-engine scraper loads quickly and hauls to the fill, while carrying minimum iron and using minimum fuel. The push tractor provides the primary loading power, but loading cost still remains lower than systems used to load trucks.
If the site presents grades steeper than 5 percent on the haul and 12 percent when returning empty, tandem-powered scrapers are the answer. The higher horsepower-to-weight ratio allows twin-engine scrapers to climb grades as much as 35 percent. Also, four-wheel drive powers such scrapers through underfoot conditions that stop two-wheel-drive machines. The ability to operate in poor underfoot conditions can assure more workdays per year from the twin-engine scrapers. Tandem-powered scrapers can cut cycle times, because they have better gradeability and higher usable rimpull. Acceleration is faster out of the cut and away from the fill. Even though higher owning and operating costs partially counter the increased production, tandem-powered scrapers may still produce the lowest cost per yard.
Push-pull arrangements allow two twin-engine scrapers to hook up and assist each other in loading. A pair of scrapers can operate as a team or they can separate and work individually with a pusher. The push-pull system offers high production and the lowest cost, because the two scrapers can load in less time than two standard scrapers working with a pusher.
Elevating scrapers provide work-alone capabilities and eliminate the need for push loading. They are most economical on hauls with lower rolling resistance and in favorable material. The elevating mechanism breaks up chunks, which eases dumping and enhances compaction in the fill.
All wheel tractor-scrapers are built for durability and long life, and the advanced age of many scrapers still operating in fleets in North America is testimony to that. But their capabilities — loading, hauling, and spreading materials — require many moving parts that must be maintained properly to ensure reliable operation and high productivity.
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