Nearly 1,500 Hercules dump bodies have been designed and deployed across Australia, and that number is growing by the day.
The design may not have changed much over the years to an untrained eye, but nothing could be further from the truth, according to technical sales manager Tom Smith.
"To be honest, the perception that we're not very innovative because our main product's been leading the pack for so long does irk me," said Tom.
"We haven't just been getting lucky for the past 20 or 30 years. The reason that the Hercules dump body has remained a premium product in the market is because it's continuously improving, even though the shape of the body has remained relatively consistent."
Smith sees similarities in how the Hercules dump body has developed to the way the iPhone has advanced over the years.
"The look of the phone hasn't changed a whole lot over the years, but the technology and innovation that go into it have improved greatly," said Tom.
"If you dropped an iPhone five years ago, it would shatter. You drop one now, and it's far more durable even though it looks relatively the same. I think that's a great metaphor for our dump bodies."
The Hercules dump body has also developed in the same ilk that Schlam has evolved.
What is fundamentally known for its weightlessness has grown in its intricacy, paving the way for a more robust and more durable piece of equipment.
"The way that we're able to achieve such low weight in the Hercules body is due to the unique design," said Tom.
"It's flexible. It absorbs many impacts, allowing us to take weight out of the structural components because the stresses are reduced with that flexibility. However, we keep the weight in the areas where it's needed, which could be the ore-facing surface that wears over time.
"There has been a common misconception with our body, and this myth has been somewhat dispelled recently, is that lightweight means less durability. That couldn't be further from the truth.
“In the critical areas, we’ve got the same materials, a lot of the time in greater thicknesses, so we actually have increased service life, increased time between needing to have wear plates installed or replace the components.”
Smith points to a Kalgoorlie case study to consolidate his point.
"We've got bodies out in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit that have been operating since 2010 that have close to 60,000 hours," he explains.
"If that's the operator's mine strategy, then we can make them last forever."
When a Hercules dump body left Schlam’s Forrestfield factory in August 2010, bound for a Kalgoorlie gold mine, it was just the ninth dump body of its kind.
Schlam has since delivered up to 50 Hercules dump bodies to the same miner since that day, complementing the latter’s growing fleet of haul trucks.
With constant dialogue between Schlam and the miner, the dump body has continually evolved to meet the needs of the client’s hard rock mining environment.
As of August 2020, this miner's Hercules bodies achieved more than 1.1 million combined hours of operation.
Through Schlam’s engagement with the Australian mining industry, some prevailing trends have emerged regarding payload.
Many mining companies know their operation from the back of their hand and understand avenues to gain greater payloads.
“Major miners in Australia intricately understand the benefits of optimising payload and optimising load-and-haul strategies to maximise payload,” Smith says.
“The most important thing miners understand is the dollar value associated with improved payload.”
Visit our main HERCULES PAGE for more information about the Hercules and to download the latest Hercules Case Study.