In December 2017, HPE Africa was awarded a tender to supply 10 specially adapted excavators to Transnet Port Terminals in Richards Bay.  This award strengthened an existing relationship between the two companies – Transnet Port Terminals are also the proud owners of several 22 ton Hyundai HL770-9S wheel loaders. These Hyundai HL770-9S wheel loaders have performed faultlessly loading heavy materials in the demanding Transnet port environments since they were purchased almost 4 years ago.

For this new project the 26 ton Hyundai R260LC-9S excavator was specifically chosen by Transnet as it was the only excavator that provided both the required performance (6 ton lifting capacity throughout the required working cycle) at the required minimum speed (12 rpm). As part of HPE Africa’s commitment to proudly support South African business – an incredible 35% of the project value was outsourced to local businesses within KwaZulu Natal (far exceeding Transnet’s local content requirement for this tender).

A uniquely demanding work environment

To improve efficiency in the port, Transnet required the Hyundai R260LC-9S excavators to be mounted onto mobile straddle carriers. These specially adapted straddle excavators would then unload arriving Transnet Freight Rail cars containing coal, chrome and manganese destined for export customers around the world.

According to Prakash Ramsumuj, Transnet Project Manager for this project, “reducing the time taken between the arrival and unloading of a freight train is key, as this then improves efficiencies within Transnet Freight Rail and reduces lead times to export customers”. He continues “due to our unique operating requirements and the extremely corrosive environment in the port, Transnet and HPE Africa engaged in a joint design review process after the tender award”.

An Optimised Design

To match the Transnet requirements, the Hyundai excavators were supplied with an enhanced operator cab, featuring an improved suspension seat, operator friendly cluster, reverse camera and Hyundai’s Hi-Mate telematics system. Besides being repainted Transnet red, a centralised greasing and fluid maintenance system, VEI load weighing system, operator presence and engine protection system, LED lighting and bucket cylinder protection system were then added to each excavator.

A large Richards Bay based engineering company was chosen by HPE Africa to manufacture the straddle structures for the Hyundai excavators. According to the lead design engineer at the engineering works, their unique straddle design is pinned instead of bolted – allowing reduced maintenance and greatly improved assembly time. The straddle design was further refined during the consultations between Transnet and HPE Africa to maximise operational safety.

The design that was finally approved allows both a locomotive and rail carriages to pass safely beneath the structure. In addition, the design only allows the operator to enter and leave the straddle if the excavator is orientated at 35 degrees to the tracks, preventing an unattended straddle being struck by a moving train. The excavators were also fitted with specially designed 1.6 m³ heavy duty buckets and 2.5 m³ coal buckets that maximise railway car unloading speed.

A successful conclusion

The collaboration between HPE Africa and Transnet enabled the assembly of all 10 specialised excavators before the Transnet operational deadline of the end of August 2018.

Get an unfair advantage over your competition with the Hyundai R260LC-9S, an excavator that offers best in class power and speed at a competitive price.

HPE Africa, exclusive distributors of Hyundai Construction Equipment, McCloskey screens and crusher and Soosan hydraulic breakers in Southern Africa, operates a countrywide network of well-equipped sales, spares and workshop outlets. Contact HPE Africa for solutions tailor made to your unique earthmoving operation.