When it comes to the land of large front-end wheel loaders, the ruler of this category is Komatsu Mining Corp.
Following their acquisition of Joy Global in 2017, Komatsu has amassed an impressive array of mechanical and electric drive loader options that include their electrically driven P&H L-1350, L-1850 and L-2350 loaders and mechanical WA1200-6.
With payload capacities ranging from 40,823kg through to 72,574kg, Komatsu offers miners loading solutions for the full suite of today’s mining haul trucks. In the ever-increasing world of ultra-class machines, Komatsu has a distinct leg up on their competition.
Long before the successive line of acquisitions, the LeTourneau brand was synonymous for innovation.
Established in the 1920’s it amassed hundreds of patents incorporating technologies such as low-pressure, heavy-duty rubber tyres and electric wheel drive motors long before their competitors. So high was the quality of their machines, that during World War II LeTourneau factories supplied 70% of all heavy earthmoving equipment used by Allied Forces. Taking the world by storm in 2000 at the World Mine Expo in Las Vegas, it wasn’t until 2007 that the L-2350 debuted in Australia at CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron Ore Project in the West.
Matched with Terex’s Unit Rig MT6300 (nee Cat 798 AC) this unit was able to load the 363t trucks in just over three minutes and five passes. Available in Standard Lift, High Lift and Super High Lift configurations the L-2350 is capable of lifting a whopping 72,574kg payload when fitted with a 40.52m3 bucket and today can be optioned with the MTU Detroit’s 16V 4000 or Cummins QSK60 engine.
Holding the Guinness World Record for the ‘Biggest Ever Earthmover’, the L-2350, sadly, will never be ‘mass’ marketed.
With only the largest of mines capable of operating such machines, the upside potential of this loader will always be constrained. It does however, hold a loyal following and in 2018 and 2019 maintained a consistent supply of orders.
How long it remains under the P&H marque before being completely absorbed under Komatsu Mining’s brand is yet to be seen. Regardless, one can only imagine that the electric drive technology will be maintained, if not, advanced in today’s age of technology.
This article was originally published by the Components Only team in the May 2020 issue of "@ The Coal Face" magazine.Published 26 May, 2020