Rokbak haulers hailed for positive impact at award-winning quarry

SMITH & Sons (Bletchington) has paid tribute to two Rokbak RA30 articulated haulers operating at its award-winning Gill Mill Quarry in Oxfordshire.

Since October 2022, the trucks have been loading and hauling primary ballast. In the first year of their arrival, the two models shifted nearly half a million tonnes of material between them.

The Gill Mill aggregate processing plant was named ‘Quarry of the Year’ by the British Aggregates Association for its operating standards at the end of 2020.

“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,” said quarry manager Jeff Murphy. “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.”

The RA30s currently 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 truck is around one mile per load, with each model making between 25 and 30 round trips a day.

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

Each cab has pressurised capabilities and HVAC and air flow system. Rokbak said ‘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,” explained 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.”

The two units were purchased from Molson Equipment, with a 6,000 hour fixed price service contract and three-year/5,000 hour powertrain warranty.

Dan Guibarra, sales manager, Molson Equipment, said, “Smith & Sons feedback has been very positive on the fuel consumption, with a saving of circa 7% compared to its previous machines. The versatility of these machines means that Smith & Sons can move them around site. The trucks have the grip and torque to keep operations running smoothly, even during the wet and slippery winter months.”

The RA30 has a maximum torque of 1880 Nm at 1400 rpm, which is said to prove extra useful when operating across difficult ground and provides good traction in wet conditions.

“Torque and rim pull are areas we focus on when it comes to the design of the trucks,” added Rokbak regional sales manager EMEA Kenny Price. “They need to have that torque and pull when they’re fully loaded to move in an efficient manner.”

Gill Mill quarry opened in 1989 and has planned reserves until 2035. The operation extracts around 450,000 tonnes of oolite limestone sand and gravel per year.