Volvo-CE equipped Bulgarian subcontractor Globus is removing three million cubic meters of overburden a year at the largest lignite mine in South Eastern Europe.

Reaching the riches, however, is not without its challenges as the 24-hour operation puts an enormous amount of strain on Globus’ 60-strong fleet of excavators and wheel loaders.

“We used on-road trucks to ferry the lignite away from the mining site to the processing plant,” says Stoyan Rusev, general manager of Globus. “However, the grueling nature of the work required the trucks to operate long hours and in harsh conditions, resulting in excessive maintenance and repair costs, as well as operational issues due to downtime.”

Faced with an ever-mounting total cost of ownership, Globus decided that it needed suitably high performing and durable machines to meet the demands of the jobsite. Since 2015, Globus has purchased four used Volvo A40F articulated haulers, five new A40G and an L35G compact loader. All machines were supplied by independent dealer, Sigma Bulgaria, and work around-the-clock on the Maritsa Iztok mine.

To maintain continuous production, the articulated haulers are equipped with durably-designed and protected components. The heavy-duty front and rear frames, hitch and wet disk brakes reduce maintenance costs and increase uptime, making the A40F and A40G articulated haulers the ideal machines for the mine.

“When it comes to articulated haulers, Volvo is the best brand; the competition doesn’t even come close in terms of productivity, durability and fuel efficiency.” says Rusev.

Dealership Sigma constructed a €30,000 on-site service warehouse and hired a full-time maintenance engineer to ensure downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

“The haulers need to be maintained every 500 hours of operation, and when they’re working virtually all day, every day, each machine needs to be serviced every 21 days,” explains Haris Bailas, general manager at Sigma Bulgaria. “When you’ve got nine machines that means each machine needs to be serviced roughly every two days. To arrange for an engineer to travel to and from the site every few days just wasn’t practical, so we had to find another solution.”

“The warehouse contains all required spare parts and the engineer is based close to the Globus site, meaning he can be on site quickly when needed,” Bailas continues. “He doesn’t get much time off, but he’s a bit of a workaholic, so he doesn’t mind!”