SA Bulk Terminals

SABT delighted with the performance of the SDLG LG958L

The very first SDLG wheeled loader to be sold in southern Africa by Babcock has now amassed some 5,000 operating hours in extreme conditions at South African Bulk Terminals (SABT) in Durban. Despite the workload already under its belt the LG958L continues to front operations around the clock at the portside facility where some 2.4 million tonnes of dry bulk is loaded/off-loaded per annum.

SA Bulk Terminals

At SABT Diesel Workshop (the company’s in-house repair and maintenance operation) Workshop Foreman, Wentzel Nel says: “SABT’s investment in the SDLG LG958L wheeled loader has proved to be a master stroke. In all the time we’ve run this machine we’ve not encountered a single leaking hose or cylinder. I would say SDLG is far and away the best Chinese brand without question and the reliability and productivity is equal to anything else on the market.”

SABT's operations
SABT operates twin storage facilities with a combined capacity of 120,000 tonnes, handling a mixture of products including soya, maize, wheat, sunflower seeds and pellets, rice, fertilisers, sorghum malt for beer production and fluorspar – the mineral form of calcium fluoride.

Fluorspar is SABT's most demanding product. It weighs approximately 1.4 tonnes/m3 and has to be stored and handled while moist. In this respect, the performance of SDLG LG958L really comes into its own. With the support of Babcock, SABT extended the bucket to a capacity of 4.9m3 and in this configuration the single SDLG machine matches the productivity of two alternative 9.5 tonne loaders.

SDLG outshines the rest
SABT trialled various wheel loaders before making its purchase decision. The SDLG LG958L impressed from the outset. “We even tested this machine in the hull of a ship and it outperformed all the other machines in the trial,” says Wentzel. “Unfortunately, at 16-tonnes operating weight it was just too heavy for the ship cranes, so regular operations are limited to portside.”

Wentzel and his team have fitted LED working lights and mounted the oil cooler on swivels so that it can quickly and easily be swung out for cleaning. The storage bunker enronment is incredibly dusty, so regular maintenance and cleaning is imperative.  The radiators and filters are cleaned with compressed air daily. They are also pressure washed and then blown out with compressed air every 250-hours. With fluorspar in particular, it is essential to keep all critical components clean because if the material is left to dry it becomes rock solid and would trash items, such as a radiator, instantly.

Original parts, service & support
Another key driver to reliability has been the company’s dedicated use of original SDLG parts according to Wentzel. “I’ve made the use of original OEM parts standard practice here at SABT,” he says. “I firmly believe this policy helps us to avoid problems and prevents a snowball effect towards greater issues at a later date."

SABT now operates a second SDLG machine, a 6-tonne class LG918, at its 9-line rail yard where it is used to shunt freight wagons. Throughout the company’s ownership of the SDLG wheeled loaders, Wentzel says the service and support provided by Babcock has been exceptional. “I think it’s fair to say that Babcock has mastered the art of looking after customers,” he says.

In port, SABT is a round-the-clock operation at which the SDLG LG958L and its two supporting 9 .5 tonne wheel loaders can load 18,000 tonnes of fluorspar onto a vessel in just 3-days. Similarly, when it comes to loading trucks for road transport from the port, the three machines are capable of loading 55-60 trucks in a single 12-hour shift.

“Through a combination of our experience, our ownership of the entire process and the use of highly productive equipment such as the SDLG LG958L wheel loader, we have achieved a market leading position in this business,” enthuses Wentzel.

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