The Big Combo
The resurgence of iron-ore exports were strong enough to help buoy a three per cent increase of the commodity in August helping add to the $1.6 billion plus surplus posted by the country according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
With these increases in iron-ore shipping, the movement of resources in the sector continues to impact many of the transport outfits attached to it in Western Australia.
Rivet Mining Services, based in Perth, move base metals in the Pilbara and Kalgoorlie goldfields, loading and hauling lithium, iron-ore, manganese and gold ore across their imposing fleet of 120 road trains.
Predominantly occupied by Kenworth trucks, the Rivet Mining fleet also features Western Star and Mack trucks that operate on leads of five to 850 kilometres contingent on tasks specific to their region.
Multiple daily assignments run from port to mine and mine to mill on the pointy end of high payloads in both off road and on-highway applications.
In the Pilbara, the latest technology is writ large on new super quad units and colossal quin road trains in keeping with Rivet Mining’s commitment to innovation of its equipment so that it ensures operational efficiency at all times.
It’s a sight to behold a moving 194 tonne super quad trailer combination, a kind of engineering marvel unique to the Australian habitat lit up like a bonfire against the dusty gloam.
Road trains in the Pilbara are called to trying conditions, in which the equipment must, without reservation, be equal to a kind of ongoing wear with a vengeance.
Andrew Peters, Rivet Mining Services, Regional Manager WA, has been with the company seven years having worked his way up through the ranks.
In that time he has seen Rivet Mining become a player in innovation within the industry developing maxi trailer units for use in the goldfields with 175 tonne payloads and now increasing to 215 tonnes as new equipment comes on line.
“There’s been much innovation that has taken place within our fleet,” Andrew says.
“Because safety is paramount we’ve invested in-vehicle camera systems with forward facing cameras, driver facing and two rear facing cameras that are installed on all our trucks within our fleet to monitor activity and the DSS Guardian driver fatigue and distraction system to ensure our drivers welfare and safety monitoring in real time. Of course the nature and the size of the equipment changes noticeably for us during the past five years.”
This is where JOST, with its reliable product solutions, comes into play for the company.
The JSK-52 turntable, according to Andrew, has more or less been an indispensible equipment feature since early 2014.
Its use was validated by the introduction of super maxi trailers, a necessary investment, which made it possible for the bonneted American trucks to haul road train combinations of 200 plus tonnes.
“It was in finding a solution for increasing our payloads that brought about the business requiring a tough turntable like the JSK-52,” Andrew recalls.
“In that way the trailers of the super-maxis complement the JOST equipment and vice versa.”
Touted as the highest rated Australian Design Rules (ADR) compliant fifth wheel in the world, the JSK-52 is available in a variety of mounting heights, bearing types and models and is suited to extreme heavy duty work with a D-value of 400kn.
According to Andrew, the JSK-52 fifth wheel offers his business several benefits among them low maintenance costs and tangible reliabilities.
“We’ve found the JSK-52 turntables are a very good product for the application, meeting and exceeding all the requirements of the D-values for the combination,” Andrew says.
“It’s product parts are readily available for us and we get a great service life out of them with the back up parts and support from JOST to rebuild these turntables.”
Although the JOST fifth wheels were integrated into the fleet parallel with the inception of the super-maxi equipment from Howard Porter Trailers they will be used on some of the newer combinations that are being built presently says Andrew.
“They have formed a big part of the innovation of our larger combinations to innovate and meet the standards required of them,” he explains.
A qualified mechanic, who started out in the logging industry, Andrew began as a fitter at Rivet Mining Services and was the operational manager before his current position. The company employs 600 staff in Western Australia and as many as 1000 Australia-wide.
In the Pilbara, Rivet relies on quad road trains, super quad and quin 60 metre road train combinations running up to 194 tonne gross mass with 132 tonne payloads.
The quin 60-metre road trains comprise five joined trailers. In the goldfields quad road trains, super-maxi quad and triple combinations according to Andrew carry up to 215 tonnes with new equipment coming on line.
All maintenance work is completed in-house and encompasses mechanical rebuilds to air-conditioning repairs and steel fabrications.
“The goldfields road trains travel predominantly in offroad applications but they are also used in heavy haulage on-road work and meet the ADR required for those vehicles,” he says.
“The majority of them range from five kilometre lead distance to about 80 kilometres in predominantly offroad applications. They are used in some of the heavy haulage on-road stuff,” he says.
“They also meet the ADR required for those vehicles that are registered for on-road use in addition to offroad.”
Rivet Mining Services also run a number of standard 53-metre quad combinations and high payload offroad equipment. This includes a fleet of, predominantly, Komatsu wheel-loaders.
In recent years Andrew says the introduction of the driver fatigue management system by DSS is one of the biggest changes he has seen in the industry.
“The DSS system manages driver fatigue in real time giving us the ability to give alerts through a 24 hour centre that allows operations to act on fatigue and distraction events for the drivers,” he says.
“These are emailed through to us from a 24 hour centre where we can act on those immediately to insure the safety of our people.”
The DSS System picks up eye orientation recognition through an infrared system in the vehicle dashboard. It detects any eye movement from the closing of eyes, long blinks, yawning, and facial recognition associated with possible fatigue events.
An audible alarm that also triggers seat vibrations alerts the driver even if their concentration is averted at length.
The system, according to Andrew, has been introduced into the fleet over the past 12 months with all Rivet trucks and those used by contractors.
“It’s been highly successful in the coaching and mentoring of drivers in understanding when they are feeling fatigued,” he says.
“To be able to coach and mentor them through the information that we get back and show them the footage of the video or the images that have been taken of them at the time of the event helps them understand how fatigue effects them at different times. It’s also been successful in picking up driver distraction events which it shows in real time.”
For Andrew, JOST has been a partnership that has helped the Rivet Mining Services fleet rise to the challenges of its growing shipping task.
He says JOST helped introduce different configurations into its fleet by meeting the many standards required of a heavy haulage in an offroad application.
“The JSK-52 fifth wheels are more low maintenance than some of the previous turntable configurations that we’ve used so we’ve found them very beneficial in that sense increasing the life of the component and also reducing the overall running cost,” he says.
“That brings a lot less down time with some issues that we’ve previously faced with all of these combinations in the offroad application.”
Over the course of the last year Rivet Mining Services has looked to innovate by modifying their previous approaches to operations.
This includes attaining further efficiencies within the fleet to produce the right outcome for their customers by delivering increased payloads, reduced down time and by providing greater fleet utilisation if required.
“The huge changes I’ve seen happen to the industry over the last five years have been mainly for the better,” he says.
“The advancement of technology and safety systems that we’ve implemented into our fleet has created a safer work place for everyone and ensures everyone
goes home safe.”