A mining company in South America is using large shovels and off-highway trucks to remove overburden at a vast mine in Columbia.
Due to the size of the mine and the distance to the service centers, servicing these machines efficiently presented a real challenge. The company had been using pull-behind trailers for fuel and lubricants, but due to the terrain and the maneuvering room, this process quickly became very inefficient.
To keep its equipment operating and producing at peak capacity, the mine determined that it needed a highly specialized machine to accomplish the task.
The South Americans presented the problem to multiple companies worldwide. Hoss Equipment of Irving, TX, and Sparks, NV –– in conjunction with Klein Products in Jacksonville, TX, and Ontario, CA –– joined together to solve the problem.
According to Gregg Hoss, owner of Hoss Equipment, the project would require a ridged frame vehicle that could cover large distances quickly and still work in confined quarters around the equipment that was to be serviced.
The vehicle had to be able to transport all the servicing needs required to keep the machines working such as fuel, lubricating oil, filters, water and antifreeze, hydraulic oil –– essentially everything that would be found at a stationary service facility.
“After surveying the needs and requirements of the vehicle, we contacted Barry McManus of Klein Products to assist in designing a vehicle,” stated Hoss. “We have dealt with Klein Products for many years and recognize that they are the foremost designers and builders of tanker type vehicles in the world.”
The two suppliers decided that to be as economical as possible, it would be best to utilize the same brand of products that were being used at the site. After researching multiple vehicles, the Caterpillar 777 off-highway truck was found to be the best chassis for the company to use, and it also was fortunate because the company used Caterpillar nearly exclusively.
“We knew the 777 has the strongest chassis in the industry as well as being known for its durability and lack of problems with the transmission, differentials and drive train,” said Hoss.
According to Hoss, the 777 was capable of handling a suspended rear cabinet that housed all the meters, hoses and re-fill stations.
Having ascertained the overall problem, the two suppliers made a list of all the components necessary to add to the 777 to make it a KFL (Klein Fuel Lube).
“We had to take into consideration all the servicing products, the containers to hold the products and assimilate them into an efficient design,” said McManus. “We included an 8,000-gallon fuel tank, 1,500-gallon main hydraulic tank, separate 300-gallon product tanks, 2,000 pounds of grease, a stainless steel tank for 600 gallons of water and anti-freeze, a self-contained waste oil recovery system and a 90 cfm hydraulic drive air compressor.
“We also integrated safety and efficiency features into the ’Mobile Service Station’ that included rear steps, driver’s side walk around with hand rails, directional work lights, ground level re-fill capabilities for all the products, water and fuel compartments with flanged baffle duel compartments and duel pressure blow-off caps,” McManus continued. “Overall, one of the biggest challenges of the project was to take all the required equipment and products, assimilate them on the chassis and maintain a perfect weight distribution to form a low center of gravity, which we successfully accomplished.”
“Once the truck was designed, fabricated and delivered in a 150-day delivery window, we continued to perform on-site field tests,” added Hoss. “Since we knew the customer very well and that they fully understood that with a custom vehicle such as a KFL of this size, there could be certain items that might need to be adjusted and tweaked.”
According to McManus, designs that look good on the computer screen do not always work exactly as planned due to subjection to field conditions. Consequently, Klein sent one of its most proficient design engineers to the mine in order to perform on-site modifications where necessary.
“Our engineer stayed for two and a half weeks at the site, monitoring the truck to make sure it worked efficiently and to customer satisfaction,” said McManus.
According to Hoss, the buyer was so pleased that they ordered another Mobile Service Station. Klein has currently designed and tested another KFL that will work at 15,000 ft. in sub-zero temperatures using auxiliary heaters and components.
According to McManus, the design also works very well on 25-ton articulated to 100-ton straight frame off-highway trucks.
In a joint statement, Hoss Equipment Co. and Klein Products said, “We identify our customers’ needs and find solutions … this solution resulted in the ’world’s largest Mobile Service Station’ built on a Caterpillar rigid frame chassis.” CEG
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