Plant & Equipment

ADT upgrade showcases latest in safety and innovation

Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd (HCA) is the national distributor of Bell articulated dump trucks (ADTs) in Australia. Since early 2010, customers have benefitted from the leading features and benefits of the Bell D series Mark VI ADTs.
The Mark VI upgrade focuses largely on electronic upgrades and enhancements to the operator station to improve safety, ease of operation, noise level reduction, and vehicle protection.


The most recognisable change to the Mark VI ADT is located in the cab where the gear selection and bin-tip lever are now incorporated into a fully sealed switch module. This arrangement not only reduces wear and tear, it optimises the cab?s ergonomics by placing important controls within easy reach of the operator. The inclusion of a handle with the sealed switch module provides a safer working environment with the operator able to be securely positioned while selecting button controls.

An innovative addition to the Mark VI ADTs is the keyless start feature. The keyless start can be protected by a numerical code, which is entered by the operator prior to starting the truck. Different options can be set to allow easy on-site management and automatic expiry of codes, which gives site management greater control of who can operate a specific vehicle and when.

The keyless engine stop includes a standard turbo spin down feature to regulate spin downtime, according to how hard the engine has been working.

Safety features are becoming increasingly important in the marketplace and Bell engineers have incorporated simple, yet effective improvements to the Mark VI ADTs. For example, the park brake application is automatic when selecting neutral, and neutral cannot be selected at speed. Improper use of the park brake is often identified as the root cause for on-site accidents and by automating the application, the potential for operator error is significantly reduced.

A pitch-and-roll measurement device has been fitted to the rear chassis to enable additional technology to be integrated into the machine?s software. This allows for the inclusion of numerous innovations, such as the Hill Assist feature. The inclinometer measures the angle of the vehicle and cross-references this with the exclusive on-board weighing feature, with the result that the park brake will only be released once a pre-programmed engine torque has been reached to ensure a controlled pull away with no rollback, even on the steepest of inclines.

Similarly, the machine angle and payload are cross-referenced on pull away so that if the vehicle is unladen and on relatively flat terrain, it will automatically pull away in second gear. Apart from guaranteeing a smooth pull away and shifting, this feature also saves fuel by removing the unnecessary shift from first to second gear.

The roll detector can also be used on-site to set limits for when the bin-tip function can be activated. If the vehicle is positioned at an angle where lifting the bin may cause instability, the software will prevent the bin from tipping. The operator will be warned of the potentially dangerous action on the display monitor. The customer has the ability to set the maximum tipping angle permitted according to site-specific conditions, which improves safe operation of the machine.

Other new features designed for safety include an option to activate an automatic hooter, which sounds when alternating between drive and reverse and when the payload has been reached during loading.

As a preventative measure, the customer can now choose to have the vehicle automatically enter a ?limp home? mode if it is significantly overloaded. This will limit the vehicle speed to ensure safety but will still allow the vehicle to finish the haul cycle.

Along with the standard OEM features of the Mark VI upgrade, HCA has enhanced safety by including as standard numerous safety-related options like an in-cab emergency stop, lockout kits, hi-visibility mirrors, more work lights, and deluxe seating.

Operator comfort reaches a new high in the Bell Mark VI ADTs. In addition to the improved ergonomics and inclusion of deluxe seating, CD player and sunvisor, operator comfort is further enhanced by significant reductions in noise levels. This is achieved through focused changes including a new headliner, hydraulic damper and additional strategically placed insulation in the cab.


In addition to the electronic innovations are enhancements to Bell Equipment?s global fleet tracking system, Fleetm@tic. With the second generation Fleetm@tic system, Bell Equipment is the first heavy equipment OEM to offer its customers a fully global remote fleet management system with pole-to-pole coverage.

The benefits of the new system include the introduction of a unique driver identification enabling customers to create a unique ID for each driver. The ID will be reported on Fleetm@tic and customers are able to receive driver scoring reports to assist in directing focus to drivers requiring training or praise.

Other changes include shift reports as customers now have an option of up to three shift reports starting at customer-selected time intervals. For customers in the rental sector there are time bar reports to indicate when a machine has been operating.

The Fleetm@tic system provides customers with the ability to geofence a machine, subsequently restricting it to only operate in a specific geographical area with the option to limit the machine?s speed should the machine travel outside its boundaries.

As a value add, Fleetm@tic sends notification to the customer and their nearest service centre when a service is due to ensure that scheduled maintenance occurs to increase the machine?s availability.

The Fleetm@tic machine status check sends fault codes on a daily basis and also provides an automatic oil life report.
Features included in the Mark VI upgrade, coupled with the existing advantages of low fuel burn, low daily operating costs and high productivity, reaffirm Bell as the safest, most innovative ADT on the market.

Source: Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd

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