New Large Trucks strengthen Bell as a global ADT specialist
ConExpo 2017 provides an opportune platform for global Articulated Dump Truck specialist, Bell Equipment, to showcase its new E-series Large Truck range, introduced globally at the end of 2016 and represented at the show by the B45E and B60E models.
The five E-series Large Truck models - the B35E, B40E, B45E, B50E and the unique 4x4 crossover B60E - follow the culmination of three and a half years of development and testing. They effectively complete the E-series range that was launched four years ago with the smaller B25E and B30E offering.
Bell re-entered the American market under its own brand in 2012 and has since continually grown market share. "Customers quickly saw the benefit that focused engineering brings to our trucks. North America, and the USA in particular, is a key market for ADTs and we are excited about the success we have had in such a short time after coming back. With our North American sales continually growing, studies have commenced with regards to setting up manufacturing in the USA. Building closer to market allows for better flexibility and quicker response, and this again improves the customer experience," comments Bell Equipment Group Chief Executive, Gary Bell.
Speaking about the E-series Large Trucks, Bell added: "At Bell we don't get to rely on our brand name. Our products need to perform and what we see with our E-series trucks are world class machines capable of taking on any of the competitors anywhere in the world."
Importantly the E-series Large Truck program has achieved its main design goal of improving on the lowest cost per ton industry benchmark set by its D-series counterparts. Comparative testing between the B40E and the B40D revealed that, taking into account all variables, the B40E delivers up to 10% lower cost per ton to Bell customers than the B40D. "Similar improvements will be seen across the entire range and this will impact directly on our customers' profitability and ability to tender more competitively," says Bell Equipment's Product Marketing Manager, Tristan du Pisanie.
Bell is particularly optimistic about its 45-toner in light of increased global demand for this truck size. With its rated payload of 45 tons, a bin volume of 33yd³ and a powerful new engine, the B45E has the potential to become the most popular model in the range due to its overall value proposition to customers.
Full production commenced during the third quarter of 2016. Early units operating at customer sites in various parts of the world have now been working long enough for Bell to start receiving feedback and du Pisanie reports that it has all been very positive. "Our machines are impressing customers with their industry-leading power-to-weight ratio, translating into good cycle times without compromising on the traditional Bell virtue of outstanding fuel efficiency. These two factors, combined with increased payloads on some models, are keys to delivering lower cost per ton."
The cab has also been singled out by operators who find it a great place to work. Designed according to ISO standards for ergonomics, the cab layout ensures that controls and features are within comfortable reach of operators of all sizes, while noise levels have been kept to a minimum thanks to efficient sealing and noise isolation. The result is an operator environment that promotes comfortable productivity.
Value adding features
Another area of positive feedback is the generous features that Bell has standard on its ADTs that enhance ease of operation, productivity and safety. Du Pisanie says: "This is an area where Bell has led the industry and we are working hard to retain our lead and stay at the cutting edge of ADT technology.
There are a number of industry firsts where Bell has set standards that other ADT manufacturers have followed. On-board weighing, for example, was introduced on Bell ADTs in 2002 and has been subject to continuous development and improvement. "On-board weighing is not easy," says du Pisanie. "Imagine jumping up and down on a bathroom scale and trying to figure out how much you weigh. Bell has reached the point where we can confidently state that we are accurate to ±5% irrespective of the loading method and loading tool. We believe that we are the only people who can claim that."
A second feature is Tip Safe, which Bell introduced in 2010, and has proven to be a safety feature that customers really value as well as a key factor in Bell securing deals in a number of instances. Due to the oscillation joint, it is possible for an operator to reverse a truck such that the rear chassis is leaning over precariously while the front is level. The Bell Tip Safe feature prevents the tipping of the bin when it is unsafe to do so.
A third feature, Neutral Park Brake, was introduced in 2009 and negates the risk of a truck rolling away when it is put into neutral and the operator takes his foot off the brake pedal, particularly when the truck is parked on a slope. A Bell ADT automatically applies the park brake when neutral is selected and automatically releases it when the transmission is put in gear and the operator applies pressure to the accelerator pedal.
Downhill Speed Control, a feature of Bell trucks since 2008, automatically varies retardation to keep a vehicle at a set speed (the speed at which the operator takes their foot off the accelerator pedal or brake pedal) while going downhill. This allows the operator to focus on steering without having to worry about controlling speed. This feature has been further improved with the launch of the B35E to B60E.
With the introduction of the B35E to B60E, Bell has additionally introduced an automatic Hill Hold whereby the brakes are automatically applied if the operator takes his foot off the accelerator pedal while driving up an incline to prevent the truck from rolling backwards. When the accelerator is activated again the brakes are released when there is enough engine torque to pull away smoothly. "The great part of this feature is that it is 100% automatic and will not allow the truck to roll backwards in an unsafe manner," says du Pisanie.
Gary Bell concludes: "The E-series range is packed with 35 years of experience in ADT design and manufacturing, combined with a research and development investment of US$60 million over seven years. As a benchmark, the development and testing of this range was about 10 times what was spent on our D-series. We've been able to move our durability and reliability up a couple of notches and our three years of experience with our E-series small trucks has shown that the reliability factor that's been built into the trucks has taken us a good way forward from the D-series. Here at Bell we look forward to our E-series providing outstanding service to our customers for many years to come."