Since 2004 Kalgoorlie based mine haulage specialist, MLG Oz, has been using FUWA K-Hitch unitised hub disc brake axles on its trailers. Without fail the units have been exceeding a one-million kilometre lifespan in spite of the trying conditions under which they are operating.
MLG Oz provides an integrated platform of mine site support services comprising the supply of construction materials, crushing and screening services, bulk haulage – both on and off-road – and export logistics.
The company currently operates at 29 sites across regional Western Australia and the Northern Territory, servicing a diverse range of domestic and international mining companies.
According to Murray Leahy, Managing Director of MLG Oz, since switching to FUWA K-Hitch unitised hub axles the company has seen a dramatic reduction in axle-related maintenance on its trailers.
“We’ve used FUWA K-Hitch unitised hub disc brake axles exclusively across our entire on-road fleet of between 350 and 400 trailers and 200 dollies for the best part of 17 years,” Murray says. “Prior to this we were using drum brake axles and we have found the K-Hitch disc brake axle with WABCO PAN 19-1 callipers to be far superior.”
Murray says not only did the disc brake axles provide a huge improvement in braking performance, but reliability and uptime were also maintained at a high level, with a corresponding dramatic reduction in maintenance.
Murray explains that MLG Oz uses two FUWA K-Hitch products on its trailers – the K-Hitch unitised disc axles for on-road applications and the 17-tonne drum brake traditional application axle on the off-road trailers.
“Our haulage fleet is roughly 50-50 on-road and off-road and the on-road fleet spends about 35 per cent of the time on sealed roads and 65 per cent on unsealed but well-maintained haul roads,” Murray says.
“Both the unitised disc and traditional 17-tonne drum axles have been consistently reliable and given us good service across the fleet.”
Murray elaborates that the company works in fairly arduous conditions and that the unitised hub has eliminated the need to do regular bearing repacks that were necessary with the earlier axles.
“A full bearing repack on a quad roadtrain is a several-day job and finding quality tradespeople to do this work is getting harder these days,” he says. “When you extrapolate that out across the whole fleet it amounts to a huge saving in labour costs.”
Murray stresses that from the time the company started using the unitised hub axles there was an immediate increase in operational time due to the corresponding drop in trailing equipment maintenance.
He adds that there was a need to train workshop staff in new preventative maintenance procedures necessary to ensure longevity of the disc brakes in the dusty environments in which the trailers operate.
“Regular rim tap-outs to remove the accumulated layers of dust at regular intervals is imperative,” Murray explains. “and if a brake starts chattering or shuddering then it’s necessary to check the calliper slides for issues such as inadequate lubrication.
“Once you have your workshop staff understanding these principles its really easy to keep everything operating smoothly, and the regular maintenance is simple too,” Murray says – adding that the K-Hitch products are very straightforward in design and operation, which is a great advantage.
“They are not hard processes to understand and learn, so once you lock them in it’s basically set and forget,” he says.
Murray expounds on the K-Hitch one-million kilometre warranty, saying that when the company first offered it there was scepticism in the industry about the products being able to last that long. However, he says they have delivered on their promise.
“The first sets of trailers we had with the unitised axles did 1.3 million kilometres without having the bearings touched,” he says. “These days we change the bearings at one-million kilometres and we know they’ll be good for another million. We have complete confidence in the product because we know it can do the distance – we can’t fault it.”
Similarly, with the 17-tonne drum brake FUWA axles, Murray says while the maintenance is a little higher compared with the unitised axles, the product is very robust and reliable under the harsh operating conditions.
“We’re running them hard – consistently heavily loaded to around 16.5 tonnes per axle in harsh off-road conditions. But, again, it’s simple and parts availability is spot on – the product is well supported and fits our operating model very well.
“FUWA K-Hitch has been very thorough in ensuring the utmost in quality control in the manufacturing of the axles and this has given us supreme confidence in the products for our applications,” Murray says.
“All up, they are great products that are well priced, with back up and support from the team at FUWA K-Hitch in Perth that’s second to none.
“We couldn’t ask for more.”
Fast Fact: MLG Oz runs a large fleet of on- and off-road quad roadtrain tipper combinations fitted with FUWA K-Hitch axles. Since transitioning to K-Hitch unitised hub disc brake axles with a one-million kilometre lifespan, the company has realised a dramatic drop in trailer maintenance requirements.