Belaz, who? I will not be surprised if you ask this question. The reason is that firstly its a company from Ukraine, a country not very well understood in India. Secondly, it makes special purpose vehicles which are used in niche industries like mining. Not many people would find a coal pit as an ideal picnic destination where they could enjoy the view of these gargantuan vehicles churning up a dust storm as they make their way up a steep incline, carrying hundreds of tonnes; yes you read it right; of rocks.

Image Courtesy BelAz

The Belaz 75131 is a series of vehicles which can carry between 130 and 136 tonnes of coal at one time. That is 52 Tata Safari SUVs at a time. The carrying capacity is dependent on the type of tyres installed on the vehicle. These trucks dump trucks are designed to operate in the mines of Africa at +50 Degree C as well as in the mines of Siberia at -50 Degree C temperatures.

The vehicle frame is made from welded high strength low allow steel. It uses cast elements at points which bear the maximum load. The chassis comprises of box section variable height side-members which are interconnected using cross-members. In effect, a giant ladder chassis. The load carrying bucket is welded and has a canopy to protect the driver and the cabin from falling boulders during loading.

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The vehicle is driven from a two man cabin. The cabin has an air-sprung adjustable driver seat and a trainee seat. The steering column is adjustable. The cabin meets the latest specifications regarding control of in-cab noise, vibration, dust protection, protection against hazardous substances etc. The in cab noise is limited to 80dB.

The Belaz 75131 is fitted with a fire fighting system and HVAC unit as standard. Buyers can opt for starting pre-heater, very useful in cold weather countries, tyre pressure monitor and telemetry system and fast fuelling system. Well it may be a good idea to go for such a system as the Belaz 75131 can carry 1,900 litres of fuel. Other options include a warning system when approaching a high voltage line, air purification system, additional bonnet, radio recorder and Air horn.

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The Belaz 75131 is huge. It is 11,500 mm long, 5,900 mm tall and 7,000 mm wide. The wheel base is more than the length of a luxo barge at 5,300 mm. The platform on which the driver cab is installed is 3,400 mm above the ground and unladen, the Belaz 75131 weighs just 107 tonnes.

To move this dumper, you don’t only need a huge engine, but two robust electric motors also as the propulsion is a hybrid diesel electric. The power to move this monster is generated by a 50.3 litre V-16 turbo-charge and inter-cooled diesel engine. The engine is provided by Cummins and produces 1,600 BHP at 1,900 rpm. It also produces 6,292 N-m of torque at 1,500 rpm. This engine is used to operate a DC electric generator. Traction alternators convert the DC energy into AC and feed the two electric motors which operate the wheel hubs to move the trucks. A gear box connects the motors to the wheels. The electric system operates at 24 V. This whole set up can move the Belaz 75131 at a top speed of 48 km/h.

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For steering the vehicle, a hydraulic power steering system is provided which turns the front wheels. The Belaz 75131 has turning radius of 13 m. A dedicated hydraulic system has been provided to operate the dumping body, steering and brakes of the dumper. This system operates at 18 MPa pressure.

The vehicle has been provided with a conventional suspension at the front axle and driving axle. It is provided with trailing arms, , central joints and transversal rods. Each axle has two shock absorbers which are pneumohydraulic with a nitrogen/ oil interface.

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To stop the Belaz 75131 it has been provided with disc brakes all round. Each brake has two disc brakes. The disc brakes are mounted on the traction motor shafts at the rear. In addition. it has parking breaks, which are again disc brakes. In fact, one of the discs of the brakes acts as a parking brake and the system is operated hydraulically. In addition, the Belaz 75131 is provided with regenerative auxiliary brakes while emergency braking system uses the parking brakes and the operable unit of the main braking system.