Southern Africa's first SDLG wheel loader surpasses 5,000 operational hours

1Wentzel Nel, foreman at SABT’s in-house repair and maintenance operation. (Image source: SDLG)The first SDLG wheel loader to be sold in Southern Africa – an LG958L – has surpassed 5,000 hours of demanding operations at a portside dry bulk facility in South Africa

An SDLG LG958L sold in February 2012 – the first SDLG wheel loader to be sold in Southern Africa – continues to front operations at a portside bulk-handling facility in Durban, South Africa.

The 16-tonne wheel loader – owned by South African Bulk Terminals (SABT) – is used to load and off-load the 2.4 million tonnes of dry bulk that passes through the Port of Durban per annum. It has recently clocked over 5,000 operating hours and has yet to encounter any significant downtime.

“Our investment in the LG958L wheel loader has proven to be a master stroke,” says Wentzel Nel, foreman at SABT’s in-house repair and maintenance operation. “In all the time we’ve run this machine, we’ve not encountered a single leaking hose or cylinder. I would say SDLG is far and away the best Chinese brand; the reliability and productivity is equal to anything else on the market.”

SABT is a major business unit within Bidvest Freight, the freight management arm of Bidvest Group. The company operates twin storage facilities that have a combined capacity of 120,000 tonnes. It handles a mixture of products including soya, maize, wheat, sunflower seeds and pellets, rice, fertilisers, sorghum malt for beer production and fluorspar – a particularly challenging material that weighs 1.4 tonnes per m3 because it has to be stored and handled while moist.

Prior to choosing SDLG, SABT worked with South African construction equipment dealer Babcock International to find the right machine for the job. It tested various wheel loaders but the LG958L was the only one that impressed from the outset.

“The LG958L ticked every box for us,” says Nel. “We even tested this machine in the hull of a ship and it outperformed all the other machines in the trial.”

The LG958L and two other supporting wheel loaders can load 18,000 tonnes of fluorspar onto a vessel in just three days. Similarly, when it comes to loading trucks for road transport from the port, the three machines are capable of loading 55-60 trucks in a single, 12-hour shift.

SABT was so impressed with the LG958L, that they had the confidence to buy a 6-tonne class SDLG LG918, which is now in operation at its nine-line rail yard where it is used to shunt freight wagons.

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