Date: June 9, 2021
Articulated trucks have been around since the 1960s and they have been a regular addition in range of different projects, from construction to mining. Their 360 degree rotation hitches and four-by-four or six-by-six drivelines, are among some of the features that such machines also known as ‘artics’ are becoming ever more popular here in the Middle East. But, to get the desired level of performance from the machine, you would need to look at a few things. Let us take a look at how you can operate your articulated dump truck optimally.
Understand the Difference
Articulated trucks are different than your off-road trucks. Understanding this difference is crucial for optimum maintenance. This machine is built for speed and floatation. But they might not be as rigid-frame and tolerant to abuse as most off-road trucks are. So, if you operate your artic truck in a similar way then that would lead to issues. So, be careful and always follow the operational recommendations as set forward in the operational manual.
Predict the Average Lifespan of Your Machine
Whether you have invested in a new or a used articulated truck in UAE, it is important that you make an accurate prediction about the life of the machine. The life of the machine would depend on the way that you use the machine and the conditions to which it is subjected to on a daily basis. You would need to take into consideration things like soil abrasiveness, road and site conditions, maintenance schedules, use of differential and axle locks and certain other factors as well.
Although it depends on the make and the model, but generally, rental articulated trucks average about 1,500 hours use per year. On the other hand, brand new trucks from brands like Cat® will give you a significantly higher number. Cat machines are known for their durability and long hours of usage.
Maintaining the Engine
Needless to say, the engine is one of the most crucial parts of the machine. They are expensive to rebuild and replace. So, proper care of the engine is a must. If you are not taking care of them properly and abusing them like there is no tomorrow, then in just about 8,000 hours you might have to replace engines. On the other hand, it is not unnatural to see well-cared engines to last beyond the mentioned timeframe.
Now, in the typical lifecycle of the engine of Caterpillar articulated trucks would include several intermediate steps before you would need to replace the engine completely. These so-called ‘intermediate steps’ might include replacing a turbo cartridge at 5,000 to 6,000 hours. Later, at 7,000 to 8,000 hours of usage, the engine might have to undergo a rebuild with rod bearings and main bearings. After 12,000 to 13,000 hours, another rebuild with a set of rings new rod and main bearings and liner packs and reconditioned cylinder heads. At Al-Bahar, we offer complete services for Cat® engine rebuild and maintenance services. Contact our team to know how you can get better performance from the engine of your artic truck.
Looking After the Articulation Hitch
When you are talking about articulated trucks, you need to look at the articulation hitch. After all, this is what differentiates the machine from others. Greasing the hitch reduces the chances of encountering any issues. You can use an auto-lube to make the process easier for yourself and the team. If that is possible, then make sure that you grease the hitch at least once daily. Otherwise, you would have to replace it well before the machine hits 10,000 hours of usage.
Transmission of articulated dump trucks have come a long way in terms of both their durability and performance. Nowadays, most of the machines come with transmission that last easily for 10,000 hours depending on the operating conditions. Under harsh conditions, you can still expect to last for 8,000 hours. Most of the other components of the drive line like the torque converter, differentials, drop box and final drives have similar lifespans.
Cat® has its own innovative transmission components fitted into its articulated trucks. For example, the Cat® 725C2 gets the Advanced Productivity Electronics Control Strategy (APECS) which gives a smooth shifting transmission, with improved acceleration & higher productivity.
At Al-Bahar, we offer an exclusive range of Caterpillar articulated trucks, available in bare chassis and three-axle versions. As the exclusive dealer for Cat® in UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman & Qatar, we also offer complete maintenance solutions including Planned Maintenance (PM) Kits and Equipment Protection Plans (EPP).
Visit our articulated trucks page to know more.