DIGGING DEEP | Truck Review – Scania XT

Scania Australia reveals the new XT mining and construction range – Words by Ed Higginson

Scania launched its new XT mining and construction range as part of its ’New Truck Generation’ in November at the IMARC Expo in Melbourne,. For XT, read “Xtra Tough”, heralding the introduction of some impressive features to enable these models to cope with extreme environments.

Originally launched in 2017 in Europe as part of the broader rollout of the ‘Next Generation’, the XT mining and construction range delivers a robust set of solutions for a wide variety of applications. It can be configured to an operator’s requirements utilising one of three available cab sizes – P, G or R.

Like their on-highway siblings, Scania XT models are fitted with side curtain rollover airbags as standard, providing industry-leading driver and passenger protection in the event of a crash or rollover. Scania should be commended for being the only truck maker to offer this potentially life-saving feature as standard fitment across the range.

With a long history in mining, exploration and construction, both here and overseas, Scania has proven its ability to make tough trucks. A good example of this is the production of some of the largest on-highway mining trucks available, such as the impressive 730 hp 10×8 truck pulling 220-tonne roadtrains in the NT. When considering the state of some inner-city roads, the XT might find itself at home in the urban environment, too.

The Scania XT features a distinctive and rugged look, from its heavy-duty steel bumper that protrudes 150 mm ahead of the front of the cab, to its elevated ground clearance, impact-resistant mirror cases, unique headlamp protection grilles and slip-proof steps.

As well as looking tough, these features serve a purpose, with the steel bumper incorporating a 40-tonne tow point with an increased approach angle. The steps also swing back if they hit rocks, and the light protectors will stop small rocks from breaking the LED lights – the aim being to prevent downtime from everyday bumps and scrapes.

The off-road credentials also benefit from an elevated ride-height and all-steel parabolic leaf sprung suspension, front under-run skid plate, and upright exhaust to reduce dust spray – all of which make it an ideal option for site work.

The XT is available with the full range of Scania’s Euro 5 or Euro 6 SCR emission engines across its well-established 9.0-litre 5-cyclinder, 13.0-litre 6-cyclinder, and 16.0-litre V8 engines.

If you want to stay with Euro 5, the engines are rated from 280 hp with torque of 1400 Nm, up to 620 hp with 3000 Nm of torque. For those wanting to take the jump to Euro 6, the range of power is much wider, starting with 220 hp and 1000 Nm of torque with a new 7.0-litre 6-cyclinder engine, up to a whopping 730 hp and 3500 Nm of torque in the V8, whilst also claiming substantial fuel savings of 7-10 percent.

For the transmission, the choice comes down to Scania’s Opticruise with four performance modes of Economy, Standard, Power and Off-road, enabling better traction control when driving in rough terrain and on surfaces with high rolling resistance.

The infamous Scania Retarder interacts with the cruise control, exhaust brake and wheel brakes to provide total downhill speed control. In addition, the retarder is available in two performance steps for different driving conditions.

To improve its off-road credentials further, the XT can be optioned with a clutch-on-demand function. Scania used to fit a clutch with its auto, finally removing it about 10 years ago. Understanding that there remain some applications where a driver might prefer the sensitivity of a clutch pedal, the manufacturer has decided to bring the option back for the XT, expecting some customers may prefer it for off-road control.

Rather than using a ‘Rocking’ function on the auto ‘box like some of Scania’s competitors, the clutch-on-demand function should improve the control when pulling away on slippery surfaces. Once traction has been obtained, the driver can ignore it the rest of the time and let the Opticruise work as a full auto.

Scania offers a wide range of steered and fixed axles. Starting with on-road applications, the front axle can carry a load well in excess of Australian maximum limits for a single axle. For specific low-speed, off-road applications this could be as much as 12 tonnes. Also on offer are driven steer axles, with or without permanent all-wheel-drive, which gives excellent mobility and traction on soft surfaces such as mud, sand, and snow.

This extensive choice also extends to preferences for rear axles, both with and without hub reduction. Bogie axles with hub reduction can carry up to 32 tonnes for on-road applications and up to 42 tonnes for site operation. Non-steered tag axles have a capacity of 10 tonnes, whereas steered tag axles can carry up to 9 tonnes.

As for axle and chassis solutions, Scania is introducing a number of new features that are particularly relevant to applications in construction operations. For example, the new generation allows an electronic brake system (EBS) to be combined with drum brakes on three-axle vehicles, adding appeal for some customers.

Another innovation is the option to combine disc brakes with a 26-tonne bogie, and a choice of RBP735 or RBP835 with hub reduction. Scania has also switched to helical gears in the planetary gears for hub reduction, which contributes to a reduction in noise levels and increased service life.

Some features add significant extra kilos  – up to 500 kilograms. For applications where you need every bit of payload – such as tipper work – purchasers will need to select options carefully. Scania can offer lightweight specifications as an alternative, making its range highly configurable, depending on the application involved.

Prior to the XT launch, PowerTorque was invited to meet with Claes Erixon, Scania’s Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development, plus Mikael Jansson, the new Managing Director of Scania Australia.

“We spend a lot of effort in R&D and production to make sure we can configure the trucks for each customer,” Claes said. “There are a lot of choices to make when specifying the truck. We prefer that the customer and the sales person sit face-to-face so we build the truck to meet the operational needs”.

It’s not always easy to specify a truck months before it needs to hit the road, Mikael acknowledged. “We have a lot of local content with a great list of suppliers to assist with customising stock vehicles,” he said.

“This has been a great point of difference when it comes to the mining sector and resulted some years ago in a separate division being set up to design, build and deliver tough trucks. The XT will add to this with a ready-made package, whilst still being highly customisable”.

Scania’s experience with sending its trucks into remote areas has also led it to configure a service arrangement where factory-trained technicians can attend in-house or temporary on-site workshops to maintain the vehicles, rather than having to return them to a dealership.

The service arrangement can also include having a nominated Scania fleet manager to support the planning, coordination and administration of all fleet services. They will work to detect potential problems in advance, and optimise the fleet service plan to achieve maximum uptime.

Scania’s unique one-on-one application-based driver coaching is offered at the customer’s site, linking the driver to the new truck’s abilities. Having experienced the training myself, it is a great opportunity to learn the capabilities of the trucks.

With trucks today having so many advanced features, manufacturers need to communicate how to get the most from them safely, whilst reducing wear and tear, stress, and fuel consumption.

XT at Work

Scania’s New Generation Truck  XT models are already at work, with these two  NTG G 450 8×4 twin steer chassis fitted with new, higher-capacity 40,000-litre Shermac water cart bodies operating for a Western Australian mining customer  in the Pilbara.

The tailor-made Shermac bodies are more than double the capacity of those fitted to traditional road-going trucks used on mine sites and are designed to replace mine-specific road train combinations.

The NGT G 450 XT 8×4 can handle a payload of 40,000-litres for a GVM of around 66-tonnes.

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