Smooth operation

Two Rokbak RA30s chosen for “Quarry of the Year”

Smith & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd., one of the leading producers and suppliers of primary and recycled aggregates for Oxfordshire and its surrounding counties, has added two Rokbak RA30 articulated haulers to its fleet at the award-winning Gill Mill Quarry in Oxfordshire, with the trucks impressing with torque, manoeuvrability and low fuel consumption. Since October 2022, the pair of Rokbak RA30 articulated haulers have been loading and hauling primary ballast at this quarry for Smith & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd.

 

In the first year of their arrival, the two RA30s shifted nearly half a million tonnes of material between them at Gill Mill Quarry which was declared “Quarry of the Year” by the British Aggregates Association for its operating standards at the end of 2020. “The Rokbaks that we’ve got are integral to our operation insofar as their suitability to the site – they’re not too small and they’re not too big,” says Gill Mill Quarry Manager Jeff Murphy. “With the constraints that we’ve got on some of the roads, they suit our needs, and we find them efficient and easy to operate. They’re very operator friendly.”

 

Operations at Gill Mill start at 6:30 am with a standard maintenance check on equipment, and run until 5 pm, five days a week. Daily checks including damage inspection and fuel level monitoring are conducted from a maintenance sheet. Once completed, operations commence and the trucks bring up premium ballast to be converted into building materials. The RA30 articulated haulers, each with a 28 tonne maximum payload and a 17.5 m3 heaped capacity, currently work on load and carry operations, dumping material into a hopper, with the material then fed to the main plant through a conveyer system. The distance travelled by each RA30 is approximately 1.6 km per load, with each truck making between 25 and 30 roundtrips a day.

 

Smooth operators

“We’ve got two dedicated Rokbak dumper operators on site,” explains Jeff. “The feedback we’ve received from them is very positive, with the trucks being very manoeuvrable, easy to operate and very user-friendly.” Each Rokbak cab has pressurised capabilities and a premium performance HVAC and air flow system. Clear instrumentation and an LCD display for operational and service feedback, including fuel consumption, is intended for simple operation and service data extraction. “My personal pick is the rear-view camera, with a very big, clear screen ideal for all weather conditions, day and night,” says operator Warren Mobey. “If we didn’t have it, it would make things harder for us. Relying on just mirrors is not a way we could probably operate at Gill Mill,” Warren adds. “In summertime it’s essential that you have good air-con, which in the Rokbak is excellent.”

 

The two units were purchased from Molson Equipment, one of the UK’s largest independent new and used equipment dealers, with a 6000 hour fixed price service contract and a 3 year/5000 hour powertrain warranty. “At Gill Mill, the durability and build quality of the Rokbak haulers shines through on this well-run site,” explains Dan Guibarra, Sales Manager, Molson Equipment. “Smith & Sons feedback has been very positive on the fuel consumption, with a saving of circa 7 % compared to its previous machines. The versatility of these machines means that Smith & Sons can move them around site. The trucks have the grip and torque to keep operations running smoothly, even during the wet and slippery winter months.”

 

The RA30 has a maximum torque of 1880 Nm at 1400 r/m, which proves extra useful when operating across difficult ground and provides good traction in wet conditions. “Torque and rim pull are areas we focus on when it comes to the design of the trucks,” says Rokbak Regional Sales Manager EMEA Kenny Price. “They need to have that torque and pull when they’re fully loaded to move in an efficient manner.” Murphy adds: “Beneath our depot is Oxford Blue Clay, which is often utilised for restoration purposes but difficult to traverse. However, the Rokbak trucks have been fantastic with that great torque when moving through clay.”

 

Community service

Gill Mill quarry opened in 1989 and has planned reserves until 2035. Lying next to the River Windrush at Ducklington, a village near the West Oxfordshire town of Witney, the 135 ha plant produces a wide range of washed sands and gravels for use in many projects, from the construction of roads and bridges, to building homes and hospitals. The Gill Mill operation extracts around 450 000 t of oolite limestone sand and gravel per year, which is then sold to the local construction market. 80 % of all sales are delivered within approx. 32 km of the quarry, which has won numerous awards for achievements in sustainable development, restoration and commitment to biodiversity and nature conservation. Reducing environmental impact is a key tenet of the Rokbak brand. As part of the Volvo Group, Rokbak is aligned to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for significant improvements to carbon emissions, with specific aims including a 30 % reduction in CO₂ by 2030, a 50 % factory operations emission reduction by the same year and becoming net-zero by 2040. These commitments have influenced the design of the Rokbak trucks, the daily operation of the company’s Motherwell factory and the Rokbak sustainability roadmap. Reducing its impact on the environment has seen Rokbak employ strategies stemming from fuel consumption analysis, examining alternative fuels, extending maintenance cycles and lessening maintenance consumables. This has also led to the reduction of total cost of ownership (TCO) for Rokbak customers.

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