Tractors Operate for 25 Years

Posted in: , on 11. Aug. 2010 - 19:45

Tractors operate for 25 years in bentonite mine without major breakdown

Two Steiger Tiger tractors equipped with Allison 6000 Series transmission serve Bentonite mine for 25 years; 50,000 hours without a break down or major delay.

Allison transmissions prove to be more than a match for some of the harshest conditions in the world. After more than 25 years, two of these tough automatic transmissions are logging amazing performance in Steiger broad acre tractors in a unique mining environment in the Australian outback.

The Australian outback is one of the harshest environments on the planet with soaring summer temperatures, fine powdery dust, rough country and arid sandy deserts conspiring together to create an environment that is less than friendly to equipment and machinery. The mallee scrub country in the desert to the North of the city of Mildura (1100 km Southwest of Sydney and 600 km Northwest of Melbourne) is typical of the Australian outback. Here, at the lonely Arumpo Bentonite Mine, a pair of Steiger Tiger tractors equipped with the Allison 6000 Series transmission has been toiling reliably and efficiently for more than two decades. Both have logged more than 50,000 hours without a break down or major delay.

Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate used in cement, adhesives, ceramics and cat litter. It is also used as a binding agent in the steel making industry, in clay bodies and ceramic glazes, in pyrotechnics to make end plugs and in rocket engine nozzles. Colin Bott, the contractor charged with working the Bentonite mine and ensuring the fine highly absorbent mineral is transferred from the ground to a processing plant close to Mildura says the Allison transmissions have been a key factor in the success of the mining operation. He praises their incredible reliability, the ideal traction provided and the performance in the harsh environment.

“The Steiger broad acre tractors are more than 25 years old and both the Allisons have only been overhauled once in that time, which demonstrates how incredibly durable and reliable the transmissions are,” says Bott.

The harsh conditions at the Arumpo mine are exacerbated by the fact that the mine only operates during the local summer months from October to April where temperatures regularly nudge 50°C with internal machine components often reaching 70 degrees.

“It can be very warm out here in the desert where our tractors work hard in the soft powdery soil and amongst the equally fine Bentonite, which we have to extract from the open cut mine and then spread out across a flat drying basin,” adds Bott. “If a machine can work and survive in these conditions then they will work just about anywhere. The Allison transmissions have proved themselves to be more than a match for the tasks we throw at them. They are ideally suited to this work because they allow us to select a gear and maintain a speed no matter how tough the going becomes. The work is really hard on the machinery, but the Allison transmissions have never let us down; they just keep doing the job, no matter how hot or tough the work.”

The Allison-equipped Steiger Tiger tractors were purchased as second hand units with almost 20,000 hours of operation already behind them. Since then, both have logged around another 30,000 hours; their transmissions having had a precautionary overhaul at the 40,000 hour mark.


steiger tiger 2 (JPG)

Write the first Reply