Two Volvo L150G wheel loaders have been modified to withstand extreme temperatures at a molten steel mill in Bremen, Germany.
The remote-controlled wheel loaders are being used by their owner, Detlef Hegemann, to transport molten steel from the production location to the storage area.
Temperatures at the facility are particularly high; slag, for example, flows white hot at 1,200°C into 80-tonne pots.
As your average construction equipment cannot cope with such extreme temperatures, the L150G wheel loaders had to be modified by local Volvo Construction Equipment dealer, Swecon Baumaschinen.
The machine’s plastic parts were replaced to guard against red-hot flying sparks and molten splashes. The sensitive electronics beneath the bodywork were made heat resistant, the loader arm cylinders were resisted, and the hydraulic hoses and pipes were shielded with metal plates.
The wheel loaders’ central lubrication systems have been safeguarded from fire and their underbodies, front, and rear panels, have been coated with lithium greases to protect them against high temperatures. Bulletproof glass has been installed and metal sheets reinforce the hood and cab roofs.
Fixed-mount tow chains can also be used in the event of a breakdown, meaning that each machine can be hauled out of danger by its counterpart. Wireless joysticks enable the units to be operated from distances of up to 100m, keeping operators safe from harm.
The wheel loaders have been operating at the mill since the final quarter of 2013, and have proven both reliable and durable, according to their owner.
“The Volvo machines are definitely worth it because the price is outweighed by performance,” commented plant manager Holger Lammers.
“The machines are reliable and Swecon’s service is excellent,” he added.