Cleaning dumper trucks at an oil sand mine

In Northern Canada, Syncrude, a subsidiary of Exxon, is working a surface oil sand mine. At this mine, 38 very large Liebherr dumpers are used and a huge fleet of off-road vehicles travel around the mine. Within just a few days, the undercarriage of these vehicles is covered with an up to 15-cm-thick layer of dirt consisting of oil and sand. Once it dries, this layer becomes rock hard (Fig. 1) and regularly causes damage to the vehicles.

This is one of the biggest possible challenges for the ­MobyDick OS demucking system which was developed and presented by Frutiger as a world innovation at Bauma 2013 and then shipped to Canada immediately after the trade fair. Following conclusion of trial operation at Syncrude’s main camp of Syncrude, the Frutiger engineers were able to report a resounding success to the Swiss headquarters. Full cleaning of the undercarriage, which takes up to 2 hours by hand with high-pressure lances, is completed by the system in just 10 to 20 minutes – without hot water or detergent and without requiring any dangerous and strenuous manual work (Fig. 2). The washed off dirt is sluiced with a flushing system into a tank integrated below the system and then discharged by means of a scraper conveyor. As an option, operation with recycled water is also possible.

The same concept, but with lower pressure, is also successfully deployed in Europe. Before final washing, it is worth doing a preliminary wash with a MobyDick demucking system. Without hot water and detergent, the coarse dirt can be quickly cleaned off vehicles and cheaply disposed of as it is not contaminated. This certainly pays off for the yards of large construction companies or firms hiring out construction machinery.


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