The crisis in the worldwide extraction industries continued in the past year. With this as a backdrop, the mining division recorded a turnover of 725 million €, a slight decrease of 10 million € or 1.4 %.
In 2015 it once again proved impossible to halt the highly negative trend that has prevailed in the worldwide mining industry since 2013. There was a further noticeable reduction in the number of machines delivered. In total, the proportion of large dumper truck deliveries was distinctly higher than that accounted for by large hydraulic excavators. In 2015 as before, investments were again postponed, and many companies in this business sector undertook cost-saving measures. Enormous overcapacity in the extraction area caused severe competition on price: the collapse of prices obtainable for coal, copper and oil continued.
In Africa, Liebherr enjoyed a positive business year. Growth resulted in particular from sales of mining excavators in South Africa. In Far East / Australia on the other hand, the division’s most important sales region, turnover dropped again. In Eastern Europe and on the American continent as well, sales revenue was slightly below the previous year’s figure.
Overall demand last year was mainly centred on the smaller excavator product lines. Fewer orders were received for the larger models. Mining truck orders were primarily for the T 282 C, Liebherr’s largest model in this product area. The division’s turnover in the spare parts and service area developed positively.
A notable anniversary last year was the twentieth year of large dumper truck production: mining trucks have been built in Newport News, VA / USA, since 1995. Another recent milestone was the delivery of the hundredth Type T 282 C to Australia as part of a new customer’s major order for 14 of these trucks.
The new R 9200 large hydraulic excavator, with an engine rated at 810 kW, began testing in South Africa and Indonesia early in 2015. Following very good results from these tests, approval for the sale of pre-series models was granted in 2015.
Another new model is the PR 776 crawler tractor for mining and extraction purposes. In Telfs, Austria, this model is developed and built. It is the company’s first crawler-track model in the 70-tonne class. A special feature for a machine in this class is its continuously variable hydrostatic travel drive, as fitted to all of Liebherr’s crawler tractors.
One of the principal research and development activities concerned components and technologies for automated dumper truck driving motions. The first motions of this kind were undertaken last year. The division also undertook development projects on energy management, the efficient use of energy, machine monitoring and diagnosis, driver assistance systems and partial automation, and the use of new weight-saving materials. A further priority was the integration of the Liebherr D98 series of diesel engines. In the product development area, Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co. worked on a new dumper truck in the 290- to 300-tonne class, and Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar SAS worked on the development of dumper trucks with smaller payloads.
A centre for reconditioning mining components was opened by Liebherr-Canada Ltd. in Acheson, Canada. In Colmar, France, the mining excavator production company commissioned a prototype vehicle testing ground with a site area of 8,000 m². The Australian sales and service company, which is based in Adelaide, received certification in accordance with the ISO 9001 quality management standard.
In the current year, the downturn in the worldwide extraction industries is expected to persist and the level of investment will to therefore drop further still. Despite this, Liebherr estimates that its mining division will match the previous year’s turnover. A positive feature is an increasing demand for smaller mining excavators in the 100- to 200-tonne class, in which Liebherr supplies three models, the R 9100, R 9150 and R 9200. Existing and new products and services are also expected to boost turnover in the after-sales and service area.
The R 9200 and the PR 776 were shown to the public for the first time in the spring of 2016. The division will also exhibit new machines at the “Minexpo” trade fair to be held in Las Vegas, NV / USA, in September 2016, including the new midsize dumper truck.