Two new major developments from Sandvik at MINExpo 2012 cover a new energy saving approach to comminution as well as two completely new underground trucks, designed following extensive feedback from customers. First is the Vibrocone, a crusher that Sandvik states has “grinding performance which changes the rules for comminution and opens the way for major energy savings.” The two new trucks are the TH551 and the already mentioned TH663, with 51 t and 63 t capacities respectively – sized exactly to match the popular Sandvik LH517 and LH621 LHDs for three pass loading of the trucks.Sandvik believes that the Vibrocone crusher represents the next generation of crushing technology, combining the best of conventional crushing and grinding principles to produce an unprecedented amount of finely crushed product. The innovative Vibrocone crusher enables up to 30% energy savings in downstream processing. Over 10,000 hours of 24/7 commercial operations in copper, gold and iron ore mine sites are proof of the technical and operational reliability of this revolutionary comminution technology, says the group. “The product from the Vibrocone crusher opens the possibility for new eco-efficient comminution alternatives. For example, in existing comminution circuits with rod and/or ball milling stages, the Vibrocone crushers can replace the rod mills or act as pre-grinding units for the ball mills. Vibrocone comminution will considerably improve the efficiency and cost of the downstream grinding process.” A greenfield case study of a 10 Mt/y copper operation in South America done by Ausenco, has shown that the Vibrocone solution is the lowest cost option, with energy savings in the range of 20% relative to the SAG mill alternative.With over 63 different safety features to protect the operator, maintenance staff and the truck itself, Sandvik believes that the TH551 and TH663 are probably the safest underground trucks ever made. Through intelligent design, the TH500-600 series’ trucks also offer maximum operator comfort. The trucks have been designed and built with high reliability and ease of maintenance in mind. Particular attention has been given to the replacement time of large components, such as engine transmission, resulting in significant increases in uptime hours and the total tonnes per year hauled. A few examples of the vast array of novel features available on this new series: the ergonomic ROPS and FOPS certified cabin is now 35% larger than its predecessors, offering features such as 4-point retractable safety belt for the operator seat. Daily maintenance of the TH551 and TH663 can be done from ground level, minimising the risks related to climbing on the machine. That said, the anti-slip materials of the steps and surfaces, together with the safety rails on top of the truck, further add to personnel safety even in cases where climbing is required.Perhaps the most interesting feature of the TH551 and TH663 is that they are now equipped with an optional onboard jacking system, which allows fast and safe tyre changing instead of prolonged downtime. This feature is another example of the importance of overall uptime (tonnes moved per year) and reflects the fact that overall speed is not the only factor involved in underground haulage truck productivity. The TH551 will be available in mid 2013 and the TH663 in late 2013. The trucks will also be available with low emissions Tier 4i -technology engines that provide remarkable torque characteristics with low fuel consumption. Significantly reducing the costs caused by underground ventilation, the environmentally friendly engines also markedly improve underground working conditions.