To call the workplace “tough” at the Hydro Aluminium smelter near Newcastle in NSW is an understatement. It’s dusty, hot and hostile – and the plant operates 24 hours a day.
Toyota Material Handling have a contract to supply and maintain mobile machinery at the plant, so when service co-ordinator Steven Richards needed a new machine to clean up underneath the smelter’s carbon anode butt crusher, he knew they would need muscular performer.
Steven and his team chose the Schaffer Loaders 3150 – and had it customised to give it extra grunt for the task in hand. “We had extra counter weighting put on the back to make it easier to lift a carbon block in the bucket,” Steven says.
The German factory carried out other modifications to cope with the heat such as the sealing of all accessible electrics with a silica gel pack. Electric relays and solenoids were minimised by converting the machine to single-speed transmission (two-speed is standard ni Australia) and manual auxiliary control.
Tyres were made solid to improve heat and impact resistance, and a Murphy engine protection system was added to guard against overheating of the cooling system.
“It has a non-turbo Kubota motor, which is good,” Steven adds. “It’s a very robust, well-built machine compared to other makes".
“The ergonomics are great; it’s comfortable, safe, visibility is excellent and it’s easy to drive. We’ve used it non-stop with only routine maintenance and the parts back-up is excellent.”
The success of the modified Schaffer 3150 in this challenging setting opens the way for other industrial and mining usage.