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Grove helps China’s largest open-pit coal mine increase output

Manitowoc’s Grove brand has been a partner to China’s largest open-pit coal mine Heidaigou since it opened in 1991. Over the course of that 22-year partnership the company has supplied a range of cranes to help the mine operate to optimal production. The first cranes Grove supplied are still at work at the facility while the latest two arrived earlier this year — a 60 t RT765E-2 and a range-topping 135 t RT9150E both from the rough-terrain crane line.

In recent years the size and number of cranes supplied to the facility has grown. That’s because in 2004 the Chinese government began a program to close unsafe mines. While making the industry much safer the initiative also reduced coal output by 40 percent in its early days. To make up for this shortfall Heidaigou and other large government-approved mines were asked to increase productivity.

Heidaigou’s output has increased significantly since the government shutdowns growing from 25 million t in 2006 to over 31 million t in 2011. Handling this increased output requires larger equipment including cranes so the Heidaigou fleet now comprises nine Grove cranes. As well as the new RT9150E and RT765E-2 the fleet includes three 120 t RT9130E cranes plus two 80 t RT990 cranes which the facility purchased in 1991 and which are still working productively today. In addition to these RT cranes two 300 t GMK6300 all-terrain cranes also operate at the mine.

The Heidaigou mine spans over 42 sq. km and is located between Inner Mongolia Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. It is state-owned and part of Inner Mongolia Jungar Energy Co. Ltd (Shenhua Group) — the world’s largest exporter of coal.

“Right from the beginning we aimed to be a world-class operation and wanted equipment that both fitted our mentality and values while offering us the latest technology ” says Lv Jianduo chief engineer of the equipment maintenance center at Inner Mongolia Jungar Energy Co. Ltd. “Grove is the leader in mobile hydraulic cranes and when we started out it was the obvious choice for us. So we purchased two 80 t RT990 rough-terrain cranes and 20 years later they are still in operation.”

The Heidaigou pit has over a thousand pieces of equipment in operation worth around $650 million including the largest dragline in Asia haul trucks with capacities of over 320 t and a shovel with a capacity of over 60 m3. Its equipment maintenance center is vital in keeping this large array of hardware and equipment running. It’s also where the Grove cranes are put to work handling maintenance and repair work. With a mine of this size the maintenance center is equally large keeping 2 200 people employed day in and day out.

“Our original Grove cranes are now veterans in our equipment line up but still keep working well for us ” says Jianduo. “It highlights the value of our original investment when we consider that other pieces of equipment that we purchased at the same time as these Grove RT cranes are no longer working.”

The company is looking forward to its new RT9150E matching the long-working lives achieved by the RT990 units. In addition to its huge 135 t capacity the RT9150E has an impressive 60 m main boom. The boom has patented TWIN-LOCK pinning which offers a lighter design for greater strength. Maximum reach with jib extensions for the crane is 95 m.

In addition to durable high performance equipment Jianduo also highlights the strong relationship between his company and Manitowoc including the support available through Manitowoc Crane Care and its offices across China.

“We have high safety standards in our pit and Grove products give us reassurance ” says Jianduo. “Their durability and strong uptime performance means that the cranes can routinely maintain our other equipment which is vital to our daily operations. Staff from Manitowoc Crane Care regularly visit our facility for training and updates and this has further enhanced our relationship and strengthened our belief in the company’s high-quality cranes.”