Komatsu's WA900-3 Wheel Loader put to the test at Whyalla.

WA900-b-(1).jpgBIS Industries has recently taken delivery of four Komatsu WA900-3 wheel loaders chosen for their ability to handle higher capacities in confined spaces to handle iron ore in a ship-loading facility at Whyalla, South Australia.

Bis Industries, a leading provider of logistical support solutions to the mining and resource sectors and related industries, was recently awarded a contract by Arrium Mining (formerly OneSteel) to provide ore handling services at Arrium's Whyalla steel works.

According toHadyn Shepherd, Bis Industries' General Manager, Mining Services SA, the ore is railed from Arrium's Middle Back Ranges mine to an ore stockpiling shed at Whyalla. Here the WA900s load the ore into a hopper, which feeds a conveyor feeding the facility's ship loader.

With the ore having a density of 2600 kg per cubic metre, the loaders are fitted with 8.9 cu m buckets.

Two WA900s were delivered in November 2012, with another two delivered in late June 2013.

The loaders' hours of operation revolve around when they are required to load ships; currently they are likely to be doing 3000-4000 hours annually, but this could potentially go up to 6000 hours, said Hadyn.

Since being delivered, he said the new loaders had turned in a very good performance.

"We've had no issues with them, and the operators love them.

"We had an initial problem of 'it's not another brand', but once they started driving the Komatsu machines they were a lot happier with them they have better operator comfort, they don't bounce around as much."

Hadyn said capacity of the WA900s was a key issue in deciding to go with Komatsu loaders.

"Being inside a shed, turning circles and dimensions are pretty critical for us.

"With the Komatsu loaders, from a turning circle point of view, compared with an equivalent sized machine in another brand, the capacity is around 20% more.

"Because we are feeding a hopper, and we are contracted to feed it at a certain rate, every bit more per bucket that I can get in there, the quicker our feed rates are," he said.

"We also use WA900s in Western Australia, in another part of our business, and I got some feedback internally, which told me there was no reason not to buy them.

"Another key reason for us moving to Komatsu was Andrew Fowkes [Komatsu Australia Account Manager, Northern Area, South Australia].

"We have been predominantly another brand, but Andrew has put a lot of work in and convinced me to give these a go," Hadyn said.