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Weight Distribution for Compliance, Productivity and Utilisation

Weight distribution  

Shermac has been providing customised, engineered-for-purpose service vehicles to the resource sector for two decades. Customisation is critical as vehicle design must reflect the specific operational needs for the unique environment of the customer. When it comes to service vehicles, it is quite apparent that one-size definitely does not fit all. 

A good example of Shermac’s approach to customisation is the critical matter of weight distribution that can be summarised in the following schematic: 

Operating environment 

If the vehicle will be used on public highways, weights are limited by both the technical weight the vehicle can carry as specified by the manufacturer, and the legal restrictions as defined in the relevant road transport legislation. For instance, on the highway the allowable weight on a single front axle is seven tonnes but the vehicle’s technical weight limit might be twelve tonnes. Even though the truck is designed to carry the higher weight, it is illegal to do so on a public road. 

For exclusively off-road use, weights are limited solely by the manufacturers technical weight limit, and these will typically be higher than the on-road limits. For off-road applications, an understanding of site conditions is critical to determining chassis and configuration. 

Intended use 

The intended use of the vehicle will determine the number and type of tanks, the fluid volumes to be carried and the configuration of delivery systems. In addition, items such as roll-over protection, bull bars and tools all add weight that must be considered in load and distribution calculations.  

Chassis 

Once all the critical operating parameters are understood, the appropriate chassis can be determined. Off-road specifications vary greatly; for example, one 8 x 4 chassis may have double the carrying capacity of another, and this might be the difference between carrying 10,000L or 15,000L of fuel and result in significant changes in vehicle uptime and productivity. 

Custom Configuration 

A manufacturer of standard service vehicles has a severe disadvantage when it comes to weight distribution. Mounting a standard body on any given chassis eliminates the capability to optimise design and configuration, and ultimately this impacts compliance, productivity and utilisation, and, potentially, safety. 

Shermac engineers utilise technology that allows them to exactly measure vehicle load and to ensure that the load is properly distributed between the axles.  

Weight distribution and compliance is verified at several stages in the Shermac customisation process. An initial weight report is submitted at quotation, another is submitted at completion of detailed design and engineering, and a final weight report is submitted pre-delivery. This is a precise art as the smallest shift can move a service vehicle from compliance into non-compliance. 

In addition to weight distribution, Shermac engineers ensure that operator ergonomics, safety and productivity are all optimised ensuring the highest level of performance. 

Customisation requires an understanding of the specific challenges faced by any customer, a deep-seated intellectual curiosity to look for ways to solve problems and do things better, and concept-to-delivery engineering and manufacturing capabilities.   

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our commitment to compliance, productivity and safety and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected].au with your inquiry.  

MINE SPEC Industries was established in April 2014 to provide maintenance solutions for mobile and fixed plant in the mining, industrial and transport industries. Services include transport and logistics, equipment procurement, wet and dry equipment hire and project management. 
 
MINE SPEC Industries will inspect, maintain, diagnose, repair and overhaul mobile and fixed plant and equipment such as work platforms, lighting towers, material handling equipment and on / off road vehicles of all types and descriptions. MINE SPEC personnel will perform these services at client facilities, on job sites or at one of its service centres. 

MINE SPEC has experienced tremendous growth since start-up and, in part, its success has been attributable to the decisions the company has made about the equipment it uses to service its customers, and a strong focus on achieving uptime, productivity and utilisation goals. 

When MINE SPEC wanted to procure a service vehicle for its rental fleet, they were introduced to Shermac through a business associate who invited them to inspect Shermac equipment that they owned. 

Jason Tatchell from MINE SPEC said “We were extremely impressed with our findings and while we investigated multiple options, it was the Shermac product that outshone the competition, and nothing came close to the customer service and build-quality that Shermac offered us” 

Shermac has been providing customised, engineered-for-purpose service vehicles to the resource sector for two decades. Customisation is critical as vehicle design must reflect the specific operational needs for the unique environment of the customer. MINE SPEC are no different and had specific customisation requirements, and Jason commented “Shermac communicated with us constantly and implemented any custom requirements that we needed with ease” 

The vehicle was delivered in-time and on-budget, and Jason noted, “the equipment successfully solved the specific challenges and business needs that MINE SPEC wanted to address” adding, “We have been involved with the hire industry since 1991 and the Shermac product is the best on the market in our opinion and in our experience thus far. We are now experiencing less downtime due to a superior product being used in harsh and hostile working environments. Nothing else comes close” 

Jason concluded, “Shermac were professional and instrumental in seeking a fast solution to the issue at hand. This support and service has ensured that Shermac are our preferred heavy vehicle and body provider for our operations here in South Australia” 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out how our customisation process can maximise your utilisation and productivity. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry.  

We understand the high standards of purity required for the fluids in today’s diesel engines, and the need for effective filtration in fluid delivery systems.  When considering a new service vehicle, fluid filtration may not be a priority. This could cause havoc down the track. 

The team at Shermac know firsthand how serious the consequences can be when filtration is ignored, such as when filters are removed to speed up oil or diesel delivery.  A poor quality or poorly maintained filtration system opens you to the risk that grit, and small particles of dust or steel can get into the engine of the vehicle being serviced, and the consequences can be dire.  

Even where filters are intact, but clogged, there are risks. Shermac recently worked on a service vehicle on which the filters had clearly not been cleaned to the recommended service schedule. If they had been left uncleaned, fuel delivery speeds would have been compromised, at the very least. Any particles that might have sneaked through the filter could have caused the deterioration of the mining machinery or expedited wear, with potential for downstream disruptions and downtime. 

Large machinery can cost $15,000 an hour to run with the cost of rebuilding an engine reaching as high as $400,000. It is therefore more cost-effective for a vehicle to be properly maintained in the first place to reduce downtime and cost of repair. (Source: AZO Materials: Gold Mine Saves Millions in Downtime, Repair and Replacements Cost with On-site Oil Analysis) 

Asset managers of mining vehicles also need to take into consideration their compliance with ISO Fluid Cleanliness Codes. The governing standard is ISO 4406, which assists with keeping emissions compliant with national standards. 

Shermac generally sees two types of filtration customers. There are those who are not concerned about filtration and only want to tick the box. There is a second group who are more particular and want higher filtration quality. These customers know the value of filtration and want to avoid the risks associated with an inferior system. 

As well, major mining equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar require operators to adhere to the filtration standards they set, if customers want to comply with warranty provisions. 

Shermac’s answer to the thorny problem of filter clogging is to equip the filtration system with clogging alert systems, so the operator knows when a filter change or clean is necessary.  

Conversely, when the cost of a full filter change on a service truck runs to between $5000 and $6000, there is no value in completing the change earlier than necessary. Thus, the clogging alert system has another advantage – alerting the operator only when the filter needs attention. 

Safety and ergonomics for the operator is our highest priority. Filter units are all located in an easily reachable location on one side of the service truck for easy access and maintenance. 

Effective filtration on service vehicles is a key component of the smooth running of a mining vehicle fleet. The investment in a quality system at the time of purchase pays dividends when it comes to speeding up fuel delivery times and minimising both mining vehicle downtime and wear and tear.  

Speak to Shermac today to see how we can help you! 

Call 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] 

Shermac engineer safety in and hazards out

Bunding is a constructed retaining wall around an area where potentially polluting substances are handled, processed and stored for the purposes of containing any unintended escape of material from that area until such time as a remedial action can be taken. 

While service vehicles will carry large volumes of potentially polluting substances such as oils and diesel fuel, Australian standards for bunding were developed for static tanks and do not formally extend to mobile equipment such as mining service vehicles. 

Despite the lack of applicable standards, minimising unintended escape of potentially polluting substances and environmental responsibility are top-of-mind for Shermac engineers. 

In all Shermac small service vehicles and trailers, the individual storage tanks sit in a chassis-mounted collective bund with a capacity of 110% of the largest single tank. Larger mining service vehicles may have 15,000L to 20,000L of diesel fuel on board, and a 110% bund would significantly increase empty weight and would result in a 50% reduction in the amount of fuel that the vehicle could carry with a commensurate reduction in operational effectiveness. 

The risk of storage tank leakage is remote, and any spillage is more likely to occur at the delivery system – pumps, hoses and filters. Shermac optimise plumbing configurations so that pump and reel compartments have bunds of approximately 1,000L to catch potential leaks in the event of component failure. In addition to bunds, all Shermac’s service vehicles and trailers have a dedicated filter bin and all replaced filters are placed in the filter bin to drain oil into the waste oil tank. 

This is of particular significance to businesses that service equipment on construction sites where operators might be tempted to service equipment using oil drums, funnels and collection trays, and the risk of oil spills are much higher. The use of purpose-built service equipment with specialised delivery and collection systems affords a massive reduction in the risk of spills and the likelihood of public scrutiny. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to environmental responsibility and engineering safety in and hazards out and to maximise operator wellbeing, vehicle uptime and productivity with predictable lifetime cost. 

Shermac engineer safety in and hazards out 

An operator of a service vehicle will visit a number of different locations during the course of a shift and will perform a range of repetitive service tasks. The most common task is refueling, and the link between the service vehicle and the equipment to be refueled is the fuel hose, and an operator might be required to access the hose reel up to 50 times per day. 

Because refueling volumes are large, they need high capacity delivery systems and fuel hoses are often heavy and large hoses that may be 15 metres or more in length. The challenge of handling heavy hoses increases when working in hilly terrain or on soft surfaces that are common on mines sites. 

The constant need to roll-out and rewind the hose reels present a potential ergonomic risk to the operator of repetitive strain injury. The process is further exacerbated by the need to keep the discharge nozzle clean to prevent contaminants entering the fuel tank. 

To minimise the risk of repetitive strain injuries, Shermac actively optimises operator ergonomics on all its vehicles. 

While many service vehicles have hose reel access higher than shoulder height, Shermac position the hose reel as low as possible,at an ergonomic height for handling and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries. 

Lightweight hoses might have a spring rewind system, but this is not suitable for fuel hoses as the spring tension required to rewind a long, heavy hose increases the effort required for an operator to pull out.  

The typical Shermac fuel hose has a manual roll-out and hydraulic or pneumatic assisted rewind. On roll-out, the hose clutch is disengaged and the reel free-wheels for easy delivery, and the powered rewind does all the rewind work. 

Once refuelling is finished, the operator has to walk back to the service vehicle holding the nozzle-end of the hose off the ground to prevent it getting dirty and leaving a loop of hose on the ground. Once at the vehicle, the operator activates the rewind switch and manages the rewind while all the time keeping the nozzle off the ground and clean. 

While this is an ergonomic solution, there is a better option available from Shermac. Once refueling is finished, the operator can activate the rewind via a remote rewind switch on a wrist-band and simply walks the hose reel back to the service vehicle. 

Continuous improvement is part of Shermac DNA, and future fuel delivery developments potentially include the use of fuel booms with short flexible hose lengths to further improve operator ergonomics and optimise productivity. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to engineering safety in and hazards out and to maximise operator well being, vehicle up-time and productivity with predictable lifetime cost. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our commitment to operator safety and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry. 

Hastings Deering are delighted with their new custom service trailers from Shermac. The company operates over QLD and the NT, with around 500 field service vehicles and 3,500 staff in operation. With sites such as drilling camps and coal-seam gas stations, often located in harsh and remote terrains, they need service vehicles built to cope. The company found their former maintenance trucks were no longer up for the purpose, being time-consuming to load and unload, unclean in terms of their greater capacity for spillages and expensive to run. They needed a solution, and Shermac came up with the perfect answer – timesaving and user-friendly self-contained service trailers. 

When their old service trucks were retired, Field Service Supervisor, Casey Dallas, saw the opportunity to approach Shermac. Hastings Deering has purchased several off-the-shelf Shermac service trucks in the past for various business areas. Knowing this plus Shermac’s leading reputation and reliability in the industry, Casey trusted Shermac to deliver a tailored solution to fit the company’s business requirement in expanding Toowoomba’s service requirements way out to their Roma base and beyond – up to 600kms away. Having done research across several companies, he found Shermac to be not only comparable in price, but the most flexible in terms of the level of customisation they could offer. With 120 employees and 30 field vehicles, Casey approached Shermac to provide 3 new custom service trailers. 

Casey was really impressed with Shermac in terms of their proactivity and flexibility to accommodate Hastings Deering’s every need: “They were really good at being flexible and were happy to change anything that needed to be changed.” This included one trailer customised to hold a high-pressure cleaner and water tank, and another specifically tailored to service power generators. 

Shermac definitely delivered on their client’s environmental requirements, too. Multiple fully-sealed compartments of varying volume-size for various fuels were added along with dedicated hosereels. This removed any chance of spillage onsite. Environmental safety is a huge consideration for all their sites, and Hastings Deering always work closely with landowners to protect and respect the land they work on.  

Along with providing a tough, durable vehicle set up perfectly to carry everything needed for several days’ work out in the field, Shermac provided trailers that were much lighter to tow. Thinking through all the safe towing aspects, Shermac put forward and fitted out lighter poly tanks for carrying hydrocarbons – now fitted as standard across the Hastings Deering trailer fleet – and lighter doors, allowing a weight saving of at least 200kg per trailer, giving greater weight capacity for fuels and tools. 

Delivered on time, on budget and perfectly matched to their needs – branding included – Hastings Deering are delighted with their Shermac service trailers and the increase in their business productivity through significant time-savings in loading and unloading. Now their teams can be far more efficient, getting jobs done quicker and being able to move onto other jobs sooner.  

Call us at Shermac today on 1300 799 943 to discuss how we can tailor the most efficient, safe and highest quality engineered-for-purpose industrial vehicles and equipment for your needs.  

An operator of a service vehicle will visit a number of different locations during the course of a shift and will perform a range of repetitive service tasks. To minimise the risk of repetitive strain injuries, Shermac actively optimises operator ergonomics and safety on all its vehicles. 

A good example of Shermac’s thinking are the service doors which may be opened and closed by the operator countless times during a shift. The doors have traditionally been made of steel. While gas struts are used to open the doors, being heavy, the amount of effort required to overcome strut resistance and close the doors is high, resulting in the potential for repetitive strain injury. In response, service doors on Shermac vehicles are made from lightweight aluminium and weigh 66% lighter than steel doors. The benefits are obvious – being lighter, the effort required to close the doors is much less and the risk of operator injury is greatly reduced.   

Another example involves pumps and filters that are typically positioned behind the hose reel, and operator access is difficult. In response, Shermac changed service vehicle design to position pumps and filters away from hose reels and accessed from the other side of the truck. The result is that operators performing routine maintenance tasks on their vehicles are no longer working in a confined space, improving task efficiency and reducing risk. This design change also enabled Shermac to lower the level of the reel compartment to make hose access easier and more ergonomic. 

Shermac engineer safety in and hazards out

Service vehicles typically have a fold-down step to provide safe access for the operator to the deck. Like the service doors, the steps may be frequently lowered and raised during the course of a shift and present a potential hazard to the operator when folding. In response, Shermac re-engineered the vehicle to include a permanent walk-in step configuration that allowed the operator to access the service deck without handling steps.  

In addition to ergonomics, Shermac continue to refine safety systems on service vehicles, and every opportunity to optimise operator safety is relentlessly pursued.  

Grease is essential for lubricating heavy production machinery, but because of its high viscosity, grease injection systems operate under high pressure. If a grease nipple becomes blocked, the grease line may be pressurised up to 5,000psi and, under pressure, the grease gun is difficult to remove. Similarly, if a grease nipple breaks, grease may be ejected under high pressure. Either scenario is high risk, and to eliminate the risk, Shermac offer an optional remote-controlled grease pressure release system and the operator can immediately relieve pressure in the grease line and eliminate the risk of grease injection injuries. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to engineering safety in and hazards out and to maximise operator wellbeing, vehicle uptime and productivity with predictable lifetime cost. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our commitment to operator ergonomics and safety and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry. 

THE PROBLEM 

Many mining companies require the service and ancillary support vehicles working on their sites to be customised for particular tasks, conditions or needs. But this can become problematic when the company’s need is short term and it doesn’t wish to buy the vehicle outright. Or, it may not have the budget for capital expenditure, but has funds from an operational budget available for hiring a vehicle. However, finding one that exactly suits the company’s needs but doesn’t have to be added to the permanent fleet can be difficult. 

THE SOLUTION 

The solution to these dilemmas, for many mining companies, is to hire the vehicles they require instead of buying them. But given these are not run-of-the-mill vehicles that can be picked up at just any hire company, assistance from a specialised hire firm is needed.  

One such company is Western Plant Hire, based near Perth. With 50 staff and more than 15 years’ experience, WPH specialises in renting service vehicles and equipment to mining and civil companies across WA and beyond. As it has grown, so has the demand for vehicles that suit the specific needs of its customers. 

 Five years ago WPH began sourcing customised vehicles from Australia’s leading manufacturer of customised mining vehicles, Shermac, also based in WA. It now regularly uses Shermac’s customised service and water trucks to supply its clients with rental vehicles. Currently it has 15 Shermac vehicles in its fleet with more on order. 

Executive general manager Luke Mateljan says the company uses Shermac for several reasons including quality, turnaround time, support levels and personal integrity. He says, ‘Shermac design vehicles differently. They have a knack for being able to reconfigure a truck so that, for example, where additional fuel tank capacity but less oil might be needed, they can come up with a design that provides this.’  

Luke also praises the speed at which Shermac responds to quote requests. ‘They make the purchasing process easy with quotes back very quickly. Sometimes we can confirm a price back to our client and secure an order all within a few hours,’ he says.   

Because Shermac are experienced in the supply of custom vehicles to the mining industry, they know the mine site compliance and design requirements of WPH’s customers. The end product we receive is always 100% work ready and within the design limits of the vehicle.  

For instance, when a client requested a drill support truck with water, fuel, oil and grease on a 4×4 chassis, care needed to be taken to ensure that the vehicle was not overloaded but still had the required quantities of fluids on board. Standard, readily available 4×4 trucks would have been overloaded when the vehicle was full, however Shermac were able to source a custom Scania truck option with increased capacity to meet the requirements of both the client and the manufacturer. 

No matter how high the quality of a vehicle, there is always going to be a need for repair and maintenance support. Again, Shermac excels with what Luke Mateljan describes as, ‘back up second to none’ with fast response to repair needs. He says when a problem is presented, Shermac is very quick to resolve the issue, focusing on resolution, not blame. 

As well, WPH says Shermac will pull out all the stops if a customised vehicle is needed within a shorter timeframe than is usual.  All these reasons make Shermac the ideal partner for firms hiring customised service vehicles to heavy industry customers.

HOW SHERMAC BUILDS CUSTOMER FEEDBACK INTO OUR DESIGNS 

Shermac has been providing customised, engineered-for-purpose service vehicles to the resource sector for two decades. While customisation is critical as vehicle design must reflect the specific operational needs for the unique environment of the customer, it is also an opportunity for continual design improvements that increase vehicle reliability, productivity and uptime, and minimise risk for customers. 

Shermac Production Manager, Steve Ray commented, ‘Shermac has been in business since 2002 and many buyers have been in and around service vehicles longer than we’ve been in business. They’ve worked their way through the ranks from servicing equipment to senior management roles. They’ve done the job, seen what works and what doesn’t work, and they bring insights from many years of experience. As customisation is part of our DNA, we actively seek input from our customers about what can be done differently and better’   

An example of this is how Shermac addressed a customers’ concern about potential cross-contamination of fluids. A service vehicle might contain as many as eight different storage tanks with each compartment containing a different fluid. The customer was very concerned that undetected cross-contamination between, for example, coolant and engine oil would have a serious impact with huge potential repercussions if it were to occur.    

In response to these concerns, Shermac re-engineered vehicle layout to separate oil-based and water-based fluids and separated individual tanks so that any leak was immediately apparent and cross-contamination could not occur.  

Every service person would experience grease viscosity to be a problem. By designing our service truck modules so that the grease tank is adjacent to the hydraulic oil tank module, it is an effective solution to warm the grease, making it easier to transfer into the unit being serviced. It also helps cool the hydraulic oil. 

Service vehicles operate in tough off-road environments where the potential exists for the vehicle to become bogged in poor conditions. Working with customers, Shermac designed recovery systems that make it easy and safe to tow the vehicle and these have now become now standard features of Shermac vehicles. 

In another example, a standard service vehicle will require a stand-alone delivery system for each of the fluids on-board. Each delivery system will include a filter assembly to ensure the product being transferred complies with particular filtration levels, defined by ISO 4406. To assist in filter maintenance, each filter includes a pop-up alert to advise the operator when a filter change or clean is necessary. 

These examples illustrate Shermac’s commitment to incorporating customer-led design and engineering into the build of service vehicles to ensure ease of maintenance that maximises vehicle uptime and availability with predictable lifetime cost. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our customisation process and how we can help you. Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry. 

Mining companies can ill afford unplanned downtime. The costs are eye-watering – around $180,000 per incident, according to industry experts. As an example, a dump truck out of action results in 17 percent reduction in mine output per hour. A custom support vehicle would enable the dump truck to remain in service for longer, thus optimising productivity and uptime. 

Productivity of core production assets is heavily influenced by the processes and resources that are deployed to optimise their uptime. These resources include an array of service vehicles that are the backbone of routine maintenance and service needs of critical production assets. Downtime on a service vehicle can increase the downtime of a mining vehicle or production asset. 

Shermac has been providing customised, engineered-for-purpose service vehicles to the resource sector for two decades. Customisation is critical as vehicle design must reflect the specific operational needs for the unique environment of the customer. A common example would be a vehicle customised to carry a larger than normal volume of fuel, coolants and lubricants. It can sufficiently service all the mining vehicles working at a particular location. One-size definitely does not fit all.  

Customisation requires an understanding of the specific challenges faced by any customer, a deep-seated intellectual curiosity to look for ways to solve problems and do things better, and concept-to-delivery engineering and manufacturing capabilities.  

CUSTOM SUPPORT VEHICLES CUSTOMISED FOR OUTPUT AND AVAILABILITY 

In an upcoming series of blogs, we will shine a light on how Shermac’s unprecedented industry experience is reflected in everything that we do. This supports our goal to be the lowest risk supplier of service vehicles to the mining industry with the lowest lifetime cost of ownership. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring a number of critical themes:  

  • How Shermac incorporates smart design and engineering into the build of service vehicles to ensure ease of maintenance that maximises vehicle uptime and availability with predictable lifetime cost.
  • Some of Shermac’s initiatives and innovations in systematically looking at all tasks that an operator might be expected to perform and using smart design to ensure that safety is engineered in, and hazards are engineered out.
  • Operators in the mining industry get the job done over and over again. We explore how spending site time and walking-the-walk with operators and understanding workflow has resulted in meaningful improvements in task productivity and efficiency.
  • Some of the initiatives and innovations that have been introduced by Shermac to minimise downtime of production assets.

Follow us on LinkedIn to ensure you don’t miss out on this mining industry series.

Ready to find out more? Talk to our expert team to find out more about our customisation process and how we can help you.  Call our team on 1300 799 943 or email [email protected] with your inquiry.

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