Western Star claims the truck can be up to 35% more cost efficient than traditional off-road haulers when haul distances exceed one mile. It starts with the purchase price. Chuck Whitehead, Western Star, indicates a traditional 45-ton rigid frame haul truck starts around $450,000, while the Western Star 6900 XD dump comes in at around $375,000.
"We use much simpler components that have the same durability and focus on the efficiency," he states. "The truck stems from on-highway truck technology and engineering, which is based almost solely on fuel efficiency."
Whitehead says much of the efficiency is due to power parasitic drag. "In the transmission, there is no parasitic loss in the torque converter because you are in lockup. We use dry, drum-type brakes, so there is no inherent drag. Then instead of going with 35-in. low-pressure tires, we are using high-pressure tires at 145 psi. So we have almost no rolling resistance to our truck."
Low-pressure tires add a lot of rolling resistance, Whitehead asserts. "We are using Michelin earthmover tires with an earthmover tread, so they can get into some pretty nasty conditions," he notes. But this needs to be put into context. "It will not go where an articulated 6x6 will go."
Another advantage over traditional rigid-frame trucks is the footprint on the ground. It has a 6x4 configuration vs. the 4x2 configuration of traditional rigid haul truck. This is a benefit when backing to the dump area, says Whitehead.
The ability to customize the truck for your operation is a further differentiating factor. While it can be purchased as a standard, optimized package, there are many options available.
Whitehead admits there is a perception issue with traditional heavy equipment owners. But the truck has proven itself over many years in the mining industry. "There is nothing new about it," he states. The only difference is the truck is now being marketed as a package for the earthmoving industry.