Volvo CE’s R100E hauler is starting to make stiff comebacks

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Volvo’s rigid dumpers have come a long way and are beginning to prove their performance in terms of uptime, efficiency and longevity. In April 2018, Volvo CE launched the R100E mining hauler at its factory in Motherwell, Scotland, an all-new 95t (100 tonne) class rigid dump truck. It combined the best of both worlds; a wealth of market and customer knowledge with proven components from Terex Trucks which Volvo acquired in 2014, plus new technologies and a striking new design developed under Volvo ownership. Since 2018, the truck has proven itself in difficult locations around the world – first mainly in Europe, Russia and Central Asia, then in South Africa and more recently in America. For regulated markets, it has been fitted with a premium Stage V/Tier 4 Final 783kW engine, for a drivetrain that delivers high torque capabilities, unrivaled traction functionality and class-leading rim pull for optimum performance. So what happened? Paul Moore, I AM The Managing Editor spoke with Volvo CE Rigid Haulers Vice President Paul Douglas in detail about product development, customer feedback and long-term R&D.

Vice President of Volvo CE Rigid Haulers, Paul Douglas

Q Can you describe the market response to the R100E since 2018 in terms of deployment?

With the launch followed by the pandemic, it was quite a rollercoaster for four years. But the truck has found its way and a place of choice in the market. Starting with the first version available, the low-throttle Tier 2 engine version that really performs and provides ease of maintenance with our mining customers. A key area for us is Indonesia, together with our dealer PT Indotruck Utama this has become a very successful market – it has a large rigid truck market for this size class – and we have had units there since 2019 These initial units were on trial against the Komatsu HD785 and the Sany SRT95. The trucks performed very well and their numbers have increased since then, most recently in the form of four units sold to PT contractor Hasnur Riung Sinergi, two of which are lighter versions where we were able to add 4t to the payload to increase it to 99 t. Interestingly, Indonesia is also a big user of our R60D rigid ton truck. In Africa, we have sold a few units in South Africa through Babcock, as well as in Zambia, but ADT is very strong in Africa, and of course we are active there as a supplier with products from Volvo and Rokbak . We have two target markets on the African continent: Sub-Saharan Africa with Babcock but also North and West Africa via SMT. They had success with the R60D in Nigeria, for example. Finally, in North America, we sold the first R100E trucks with a Tier 4 Final engine to a customer in Texas, not for mining, but for hauling scrap steel from dock stockpiles to a steelworks. Five trucks went there with large special boxes equipped with tailgates. The project was a great success and they are still running with over 7,000 hours in less than two years. The dealer there has been very engaged with our Volvo team and with the customer and the maintenance system is very well established. This project has brought the R100E to notice in North America and we are in advanced discussions with several other customers. Finally, in Latin America, where Terex Trucks was not well known, we shipped five R100Es to a mining site in Chile; with the client already looking at five more. Finally, in the European market, we had units in Sweden, Finland and Norway – in Norway in particular, we were able to develop a significant market share with the R100E and R70D, initially Tier 2 under the program approved, but ultimately the customers there will use models with Stage V engines. Again, the Volvo-owned dealership is very close to the customer. Mining and quarrying operators in Norway are very focused on emissions and ESG – there is significant demand there, and across Europe, for the R60 with Stage V engines when they become available in 2023. Beyond Scandinavia, we have also shipped units to Poland and Austria for example. Around the world, demand for rigid trucks is huge at the minute, but supply is limited and delivery times are long due to the global logistics issues we are still seeing.

Q In markets where you have units running, what has been the feedback?

We’ve had great feedback, especially when dealers are familiar with rigid haul and mining applications. These dealers have invested a lot of resources while ensuring that they have a good inventory of spare parts, the right tools and trained technicians, all close to the customer. The R100E offers availability comparable to or better than any other truck in its class. Some of our larger dealers have additionally retained some of our forwarders as part of their rental fleets. As for Indonesia, the use of a lighter design means the R100E has a maximum payload of 99t. This is 4 t more than the standard version with its 95 t payload. The bed capacity for the lightweight version is also increased, from 60.4 m3 for the regular version to 65 m3 for the lightweight version. This capacity is superior to any competing offer in the 100 ton class, allowing customers to increase their profitability in addition to the obvious productivity gains. The R100E’s V-shaped body is designed for optimum load retention and minimum material kickback, while the body tipping system ensures efficient dumping. The on-board weighing option is an integrated system that ensures the machine safely moves the optimum payload to further optimize production and minimize operating costs. The carrier also has impressive tractive effort, which means no terrain is too deep or steep. An engine overspeed protection feature automatically slows the machine within safe operating limits if the operator is going too fast. Additionally, a freewheel inhibitor and transmission retarder are included as standard to protect the truck during downhill operations. Fail-safe braking and secondary steering systems provide additional safety. Overall, there is a major difference between the performance of the old Terex Trucks TR100 and the Volvo CE R100E.

Volvo CE says the R100E offers uptime on par with or better than any other truck in its class

Q Can you tell us about the product development schedule for models under 100 tonnes?

The R60D in particular remains one of our most requested models, so after the R100 which has been our main focus, albeit interrupted by the pandemic. I can say that the next generation 60 ton is well on its way and should be launched soon. Currently we have a few pilot units running with a customer in the UK. Like the R100E, this is a completely redesigned model from the ground up. As before, we will launch a version for non-regulated markets first, followed by a Stage V engine version for regulated markets. But the time gap between the two will be much shorter this time around, partly reflecting the fact that unregulated countries are catching up in terms of emissions requirements. The new R70 will come soon after.

Q Why produce both a 60 ton machine and a 70 ton machine, do they both have distinct market niches?

It’s a good question because they overlap in terms of markets and share many components. The 70 ton is a very good and stable size of truck – and the biggest truck you’ll get in most quarries except some super quarries which in the UK for example there are only a handful. Therefore, our R70 and its predecessor TR70 have had a very good and solid footprint in hard rock mining operations. While the 60 ton rigid is also widely used in quarrying, it is also seeing high demand in mining for coal hauling, infrastructure works etc. – and in some markets, such as Indonesia and Brazil, it competes well with the number called “widebody” trucks from China – but often these trucks, as well as Chinese carriers of this class, do not have the same sales and service support over time that we would have. Back to the size of the trucks – in the market a lot also depends on the capacity of the main crusher or the dumping capacity of the hopper in the operation, which can dictate the size of truck that can be used.

Q Finally, in addition to the new generation 60 and 70 tonne trucks; can you comment on the work done by Volvo CE in areas such as the inclusion of electric propulsion or even battery electric powertrains?

The Volvo Group and Volvo CE have been very forthcoming in their commitment to decarbonisation and operational safety in the form of automation – exemplified by development projects such as the autonomous, cabless, battery-powered TA15 dump truck, which falls under Volvo Autonomous Solutions and is running at several sites including a Holcim limestone quarry in Switzerland. Larger sizes of this design are in development. Volvo has also recently started testing a hydrogen fuel cell powered ADT – the HX04 – in Sweden. Additionally, there is the option of hydrogen as fuel for the combustion engine. And it is possible to have diesel engines running on HVO fuel, powering electric wheel motors on smaller trucks, which are already dominant in larger mining trucks. When it comes to Volvo forwarders, obviously those kinds of things are also on our roadmap given Volvo’s 30% emissions reduction target by 2030 and beyond, zero emissions by 2040. I can’t say much more but I can say that for every size and class of Volvo truck, the focus is on developing an autonomous and electric version – as required by the Volvo’s climate strategy and targets. But there are many ways to get there, and like other OEMs, we haven’t put all our eggs in one basket yet.

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