Front Shovel Excavator
Through production analysis of operations within our Renewals plain
line track renewal work sites, ballast excavation was identified as the
slowest operation and formed a bottle neck on the critical path of
renewals plans. A study of ballast excavating techniques was therefore
undertaken by a joint team, involving plant and delivery specialists to
determine alternative methods available on the market for undertaking
the excavation process.
Statistics demonstrated that the typical excavation rate for a
standard back hoe excavator is 146 tonnes per hour per machine. This
rate includes allowance for train movements and other interruptions
that may occur on site. The target for the new excavation method was
240 tonnes per hour.
After much research, the decision taken was to introduce the Front
Shovel Excavator (FSE). The FSE combines the versatility of a back hoe
excavator with the bulk digging and side tipping capability of a Drott.
Main Advantages of the FSE
- High excavation rate due to unique front shovel and side tip operation (approximately 3 tonnes per load);
- Prolec laser system enables excavation to a more accurate level –
resulting in quicker excavation rates whilst reducing the chance of
- Improved track quality due to the excavation action (pushing into spoil rather than pulling it back);
- Fewer machine controllers on site meaning less risk and safer operations
Since implementation the FSE has worked on numerous sites and has
exceeded the predicted business case output of 240 tonnes per hour and
is achieving average rates over double that of a standard back hoe
excavator - in the region of 300 tonnes per hour.
This innovation success has increased the excavation rates to the
point where it can now comfortably replace two back hoe excavators,
which in turn drives down costs, improves safety and helps towards
meeting industry efficiency targets.