Hitachi AH500D

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World's largest ADT put to the test

Hitachi AH500D
Hitachi AH500D

The world’s first 50-tonne-class articulated dump truck (ADT), the Hitachi AH500D, is the largest available in the market.

Powered by a 510hp* Mercedes Benz engine capable of producing 2147Nm of torque, and with a 45,400kg rated payload, the Hitachi AH500D moves more earth quicker, resulting in improved productivity and superior agility, according to New Zealand distributors CablePrice.

Due to its articulated design, the AH500D can go where rigid dump trucks cannot, and with its superior payload ability over other ADTs, it is fast becoming an attractive proposition for a growing number of operators around the world. 

For the first time in New Zealand a number of quarry and mining customers from across the county were given an opportunity to experience its ability in a hands-on working demonstration at J. Swap’s Taotaoroa Road Quarry, outside Hamilton.

In a sign of confidence in both the Hitachi AH500D and the quarry and mining industries, on November 12-13 CablePrice invited a selection of quarry and mining operators and owners to test drive – in real working conditions – the advantages of the newly introduced AH500D model. 

The AH500D, and with one of its smaller relatives, the 30-tonne Hitachi AH300D, were loaded at the shelf face of the quarry by a 65-tonne Hitachi ZX670LCH-3 and 34-tonne Hitachi ZX350H-3 excavator, respectively. Each truck travelled a 3km circuit pulling fully loaded uphill to the dump site, with many customers choosing to complete a return trip fully loaded downhill also, to test out the trucks’ integral retarder. 

The trucks have been manufactured under a strategic partnership between Hitachi Construction Machinery and Bell Equipment since 2002, and representatives from both companies were present at the Waikato demonstration to engage with guests.

Asia Pacific ADT marketing manager for Bell Equipment, Owen Kees, says, "we needed to introduce the AH500D to New Zealand as it’s the only articulated truck in the 50-tonne class and is a very productive tool. It’s also very fuel efficient and adds real value to the bottom line for the customer."

Bell Equipment says the benefit of the AH500D lies with its ability to move more tonnes per litre of fuel burnt. 

"With the fuel prices as they are today" says Kees, "you actually want to maximise your tonnes moved for every litre. If you can get your machinery match right, you can reduce a lot of overheads and utilise your people better too, which all improves productivity and adds to the bottom line."

Unique to the Bell /Hitachi articulated dump truck is the combination of onboard weigh scales and an intelligent computer that records all vital machinery information from the truck, including fuel usage, travel distances, tonnes moved and so on. Kees says, "with all the computerisation on it, you can get all your results at the end of the day, and not at the end of the month". 

Such information can be a very powerful tool for owners who want to maximise the productivity of their machinery and staff, especially in tightening economic conditions. 

With perfect weather prevailing across the two day demonstration, CablePrice could not have asked for a better platform to showcase its new trucks. Between the weather, quarry facilities and the level of access J. Swaps kindly supplied to CablePrice, conditions simply could not have been better.

Each customer had the opportunity to operate both Hitachi trucks, and many also took the opportunity to have a go in the Hitachi excavators (owned by J. Swaps and permanently operating out of the Taotaoroa Road Quarry), but it was without doubt the AH500D that most came to try, and from the comments received, they were impressed.

Stepping down from the AH500D after a run, Stephan Jamison from Birchfield Coal Mines in Reefton comments, "it was very smooth. When you’re dropping the bin the hoist catches itself so you don’t have to manually catch it with the stick." He also thought the onboard scales were a good idea.

"Knowing what you can carry, especially for mining purposes like where we are in the coal mine, and looking at how much comes out of the pit and be able to compare it with how much goes out the gate, would be very handy."

Also attending the demonstration from the Birchfield Coal mines, co-owner of the family business, Gary Birchfield agreed with his colleague, saying he felt the AH500D "was certainly smooth and rode really well". 

Like Stephan, Gary also appreciated the onboard weigh scales, noting he was able to identify immediately that his load was overloaded with a 52-tonne payload, yet says "it still climbed the steep haul road easily". 

Another customer flown in for the demonstration, Lynn Cotton of Cotton Earthmoving based in Nelson, says he was very impressed with the industry’s newest and largest articulated dump truck. 

"I like the computer set up with the on-board scales, the counting of the loads and the like. The guess work’s gone out of the sheet counter. It can be all downloaded from the office – it’s quite amazing." 

Standing next to the AH500D as the bonnet was being hoisted to show of the accessibility to the 510ph* V8 Mercedes Benz engine, Lynn says "in two passes we were just under 100-tonne for the two loads – quite amazing".

When questioned on how it pulled under those weights, Lynn comments, "she’s got it there, that 510hp Mercedes has it there. I do like it".

As part of the demonstration, the trucks were running up against a selection of competitor 40-55 tonne rigid dump trucks as well as 30 and 40-tonne ADTs, with Hitachi conducting productivity tests against them. Although precise data was not able to be gained from the competitors trucks, Hitachi was able to present its guests with comprehensive figures detailing the vital measurements on both Hitachi dump trucks performances over the two days. 

*Gross power (SAE J1349)

For more information contact Andrew Crane, national equipment sales manager, ph 04 568 4289 or Glenn Croasdale, national marketing brand manager, ph 04 568 0879.

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