Chile is one of the most prosperous countries in South America, and one reason for this is a valuable resource – copper. This is primarily extracted in the El Teniente mine in Rancagua, the world’s largest subterranean copper mine. Estimates suggest that 100 megatons of fine copper lie underground in this location. A network of 3,000 kilometres of drifts has been developed to access this valuable major export, and around a half a million tons of fine copper are produced from the ore mined each year. However, ore, rock and soil first need to be transported to the surface, and this calls for a haulage company with vehicles designed to do the heaviest of work and continuous operation.
80 MEILLER tippers in use at TAMBO
TAMBO is one of these companies. Established in 1988 by Mauricio González Urrutia, the business is now managed by his son, Camilo González Pendola. The fleet has grown over the years, but the focus has remained the same: mining. The family enterprise today has 120 trucks and 90 diggers at its disposal. 80 of these vehicles are fitted with MEILLER superstructures. Camilo González Pendola puts his faith in two powerful 4-axle vehicles, the Classic rear tipper H436 and 50-tons P450 which, with a nominal volume of 20 and 22 m³, can be relied upon to perform under even the harshest operating conditions. Heavyweights such as the P450 are a rare sight in Germany, as trucks weighing 50 tons are generally not permitted to use public roads.
High demands on people and machines
New business models have for some time now been transforming the haulage sector in Chile, with major construction companies no longer investing in their own equipment and preferring to lease vehicles. TAMBO has taken advantage of these changes in recent years. The company relies on its own vehicles and drivers to transport soil, concrete and rubble. One new core business is the leasing of equipment, including the option of trained drivers should this be requested. The demands TAMBO makes of its personnel are indeed high, with professionalism a prerequisite and regular training measures broadening the know-how of employees. This means that drivers with the necessary knowledge are available, along with mechanics who can remedy problems relating to vehicle superstructures on site, thus drastically reducing downtimes.
It is with more than a little pride that Camilo González Pendola describes his fleet as the most modern in all Chile. Vehicles are replaced every three years, with earth moving equipment being renewed every five to six years. When it comes to tippers, Camilo González Pendola’s exclusive preference is for robust tippers from MEILLER.
Robust technology from Germany ensures low failure rates
“Quality has paid off in the shortest possible time, proving the superiority of this equipment to that of other manufacturers”, stresses Camilo González Pendola. “In addition to the excellent workmanship of these vehicles, the service provided with regard to wear and spare parts is far superior to that of other competitors.” Transport companies can only exploit specific time windows for accessing the mines. The repair of vehicles on the mine site is prohibited, and a breakdown can easily mean that the tipper is out of service for two days. This does not apply to MEILLER tippers. “On the one hand, we’ve experienced a lot fewer technical problems since we’ve been using MEILLER vehicles and, where a small repair is necessary, waiting times until the spare part is delivered are also practically negligible”, explains Camilo González Pendola.
As the company now also has a secondary line of business in the sale of used vehicles after a certain period of use, resale value is also an important issue, as Pendola explains: “After three years of use, MEILLER tippers are in a significantly better condition than tippers from other manufacturers. Practically no investment in maintenance is required prior to sale, and repairs are also unnecessary. That’s not the case with other vehicles.” After years of trials and testing under practical conditions, Pendola is convinced of the quality of MEILLER vehicles. He has already been at the IAA in Germany and visited the plant in Munich and Slany in the Czech Republic to see where his vehicles come from and how they are manufactured, an experience that impressed him greatly.
Delivery capability and quality for TAMBO’s success
An opportunity arose in 2013 that also drove many lessors of transport vehicles to the limits of their capabilities. Bechtel, the US construction company, initiated an ambitious bidding process for its copper mining project in the Antofagasta Region. The company needed 160 construction vehicles for a period of two years, but the challenge was to provide the majority of the equipment within two weeks. No supplier was prepared to respond to a call for bids of these dimensions. Generally speaking, chassis are purchased in Chile and, following consultation with the customer and depending on the application, the appropriate superstructure is also fitted in the country. It takes up to four weeks until a truck is operationally ready. This was far too long for Bechtel. Then came MEILLER and its tippers. As the vehicles are assembled in the plant in Germany, they can be used directly after delivery. At the time, these optimum conditions were the reason TAMBO was awarded the contract. It was also a formative moment in the cooperation between TAMBO and MEILLER. Ever since, the Chilean transport company has put its trust in the tipper specialists from Munich.