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Rokbaks rock for Oxfordshire quarry

Digger Blogger | 11:00, Thu January 18 2024

A pair of Rokbak RA30 articulated haul trucks have been at work at Gill Mill quarry in Oxfordshire for more than a year now and the drivers seem very happy with them.

“We’ve got two dedicated Rokbak dumper operators on site,” says quarry manager Jeff Murphy Jeff. “The feedback we’ve received from them is very positive, with the trucks being very manoeuvrable, easy to operate and very user-friendly.”

Since October 2022 the two Rokbak RA30 trucks have been loading and hauling primary ballast at a quarry for Smith & Sons (Bletchington), a producer and supplier of primary and recycled aggregates for Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

In the first year of their arrival, the two vehicles shifted nearly half a million tonnes of material between them at Gill Mill quarry.

“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 Jeff Murphy (pictured right). “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.

“Beneath our depot is Oxford Blue Clay, which is often utilised for restoration purposes but difficult to traverse,” he continues. “However, the Rokbak trucks have been fantastic with that great torque when moving through clay. We find them a real benefit.”

Rokbak, for those with short memories, is the new names for Terex Trucks, which changed its name after Volvo Group bought the Motherwell operations of the US construction machinery group.

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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-acre 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 tonnes of oolite limestone sand and gravel per year.

Operations at Gill Mill quarry start at 6:30am with a standard maintenance check on equipment, and run until 5pm, 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 cubic metre heaped capacity, 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 one mile per load, with each truck making between 25 and 30 roundtrips a day.

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.

“However, the mirrors easily defrost in the morning,” he adds. “In summertime it’s essential that you have good air-con, which in the Rokbak is excellent. It’s like a whirlwind going at you.”

The two units were purchased from Molson Equipment, with a 6000 hour fixed price service contract and a three-year / 5,000 hour powertrain warranty.


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