Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc.

Hitachi Ltd. completed a long-planned goal in January, transferring 26 percent of its Hitachi Construction Machinery stocks to Itochu Corp and investment fund Japan Industrial Partners.

The announcement follows other strategic corporate moves.

In August 2021, Hitachi Construction Machinery and John Deere dissolved their 33-year joint venture agreement for the manufacturing and distribution of excavators in North, Central and South America. Following the announcement, Hitachi Ltd. received several sales inquiries from trading companies, large-scale mining distributors and small and medium-sized construction distributors in the Americas.

In October 2021, the company announced a corporate name change from Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders America to Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas (HCMA) to reflect its organizational changes and plans for growth. HCMA is focused on the sales and service sectors, as the regional headquarters handling all construction machinery products, including wheel loaders, compact and large hydraulic excavators, ultra-large mining excavators, and mining dump trucks.

In November 2021, the company shipped its first hydraulic excavator built in Japan after the Deere split for the North American market.

And starting in March, Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas will manufacture all of its construction and mining equipment in Japan and then import the products to North and South America, selling them through its own distribution network.

Hitachi Ltd. will maintain a relationship and retain its shares with the construction equipment unit, as there are synergies with the group’s Internet of Things platform, Lumada.

In addition, Hitachi Ltd. will continue to contribute to the Hitachi Group vision of achieving net-zero emissions in the mining market by providing engineless, fully electric dump trucks, which are jointly under development with ABB Ltd.

For Itochu, the deal means an expansion of its overseas sales network. The Japanese trading house sells construction equipment in the U.S., Japan and Indonesia, as well as other markets. It also has a joint venture agreement with Hitachi Construction Machinery in Indonesia to oversee sales and offer financial services.

For Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) and Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc. (HCMA), the announcement offers unprecedented opportunities.

“This shareholder announcement is part of HCM’s long-range plans to support HCM growth in North America and Latin America,” says Al Quinn, CEO, Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc. “It will not impact HCM’s working relationship with Hitachi Limited. But, by adding a solid financial partner in the capital-intensive equipment industry, HCM will have greater independence to chart its own future, including supporting our growth initiatives in the United States, Canada and Latin America region.”

Quinn noted the JIP Consortium SPC understands Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc. (HCMA) markets and the needs of dealers and customers. Itochu has distribution networks including land and sea transportation spanning between Japan and the United States, and warehouses, logistics and materials centers in North America. In addition, Itochu and its group company each own companies providing financial services in the United States.

“Over the past several months, our HCMA team has been diligently preparing for March 1st, when Hitachi branded excavator and mining product lines will be consolidated and sold through HCMA’s dealer partners,” Quinn says. “It’s been an exciting process with several major announcements, like this one, along the way. We are staffing up and finalizing our dealer network. We look forward to presenting new Hitachi products and services to the North America and Latin America markets.”


From Execution to Implementation

March 2022

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas now manufactures all of its construction and mining equipment for import to the North America and Latin America markets, where the equipment is sold through the company’s own distribution network

November 2021

The company ships the first hydraulic excavator – the ZX210LC-6 – built in Japan for the North American market

October 2021

The company announces a corporate name change to Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas to reflect plans for growth, as well as a focus on sales and service sectors

August 2021

Hitachi Construction Machinery and John Deere dissolve 33-year joint venture agreement for the manufacturing and distribution of Hitachi excavators in the North America and Latin America markets

Meeting the ever-increasing demand for iron ore and steel worldwide, mining is the main economic activity in West Australia. Most of the continent’s iron ore is mined in the Pilbara region, where Roy Hill runs a 55 million tonne per annum (mtpa) mining, rail and port operation, currently rising to 60 mtpa. Here, Hitachi equipment plays a vital part in supporting the business export to key international markets.

As a margin-focused business, Roy Hill aims to maximise the return for each tonne of ore produced. This focus means the operation is not simply concerned with the amount of iron ore dug from the ground, but rather the sustained, low-cost production of iron ore, of consistent quality and grade.

Roy Hill’s iron ore travels 344km along its dedicated railway to Port Hedland, where the product is loaded onto ships at the port. Roy Hill’s first shipment was exported in December 2015. A constant supply of cargo has left the two-berth wharf ever since, bound for Japan, Korea, China and beyond.

The bigger, the better

The Roy Hill mine fleet includes 24 of Hitachi’s largest rigid dump trucks, the EH5000AC-3, as well as three of Hitachi’s largest excavators, the EX8000-6. This is in addition to five EX5600-6s, four EX3600-6s and a single EX1200-6 excavator.

All of these models are manufactured to the highest standards at the Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd factory, Hitachinaka-Rinko Works, in Japan. Here, they are assembled, painted, checked and tested, then disassembled for shipping to customers around the world. The factory is conveniently located next to Rinko port, and delivery to Australia takes approximately one month.

Hitachi dump trucks and mining excavators are designed to work perfectly together and share proven Hitachi technology and components. The dump trucks for example, include an advanced AC drive system developed for Japan’s high-speed bullet trains. Key electrical components are designed and manufactured at Hitachi Ltd’s Omika Works factory, located approximately 15km away. These include the control cabinet, rectifier and IGBT. Travel motors are manufactured at another Hitachi facility, Yamate, also located nearby to Rinko.

“The fact that Hitachi dump trucks have been rigorously tested in Japan gives us confidence.”
Ian Wallace
Head of Mining, Roy Hill

Long-term reliability

To ensure Hitachi machines are developed with high levels of quality, safety and durability, they are tested rigorously 24/7. This takes place at the Urahoro test site on the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, Hokkaido, where temperatures can reach -30°C in winter.

A 5km-long track has been specially developed for the dump trucks, with a 1km straight, and varying degrees of slopes to simulate mining conditions. During testing, Hitachi examine aspects such as the brakes and steering to ensure that they conform to the appropriate ISO standards. Tests on the Hitachi Drive Control System (consisting of slip side control, pitch control and side skid control) are designed to ensure stable haul cycle times, and high levels of productivity, safety and efficiency.

Further examples of tests at Urahoro include the peripheral vision system Aerial Angle, and software updates to the machine’s integrated computer systems. Such stringent procedures are a vital part of the development process at Hitachi. They ensure its equipment continues to meet the requirements of customers such as Roy Hill.

At Roy Hill’s mine site in the Pilbara, the process starts with clearing, removing and storing topsoil for progressive rehabilitation once pits have been mined. As part of Roy Hill’s environmental compliance, the land will be returned to its original state once mineral extraction is complete. Once the topsoil is removed, the remaining earth is drilled and loaded with explosives.

After drilling and blasting, an excavator loads the Hitachi AC-3 dump trucks with bulk waste, which is taken to various dumping locations. The ore product is transported to the crushers, where it is screened and sized.

Once processed, the ore is washed, dried and stockpiled ready to be loaded onto train wagons for the 344km journey to Port Hedland. Twenty-six locomotives are used in various driving configurations with up to 236 ore cars hitched together.

At the purpose-built port facility, the ore cars are unloaded by the rotary car dumper, before ore is stacked and loaded onto ships bound for international markets.

“The Aerial Angle is a fantastic safety system that’s fitted to the Hitachi trucks.”
Tarra Ninyette
Ancillary Operator, Roy Hill

An integral role

Up to six of the 2.6km-long trains are loaded with iron ore every day to meet current production requirements. The reliability of the Hitachi dump trucks to move the initial bulk material and satisfy this huge demand cannot be underestimated.

Roy Hill’s Head of Mining, Ian Wallace, explains: “The Hitachi dump trucks are operating in tough conditions, and the fact that they’ve been rigorously tested in Japan gives us confidence.

“We have 24 of the EH5000AC-3s on site and they’re ideally matched to the scale of our operations, and to our EX8000-6 excavators. They provide us with an economy of scale in our bulk waste movement and there is also the benefit of maintaining electric drive machines over conventional mechanical drive models.”

With the mine running 24/7, machine reliability, or ‘asset health’ as it is known in Australia, is paramount, requiring close collaboration between Roy Hill’s specialist technicians and Hitachi representatives. Preventative maintenance and access to operating performance data from Hitachi’s remote monitoring solutions, including Global e-Service and ConSite, is key.

“Since having the EH5000s we’ve had so much support from Hitachi,” says Kevin Weary, Superintendent, Hauling & Ancillary. “We’ve got a couple of Hitachi representatives on site full time and they help with all the asset health. They give us the data we need as and when required.

“Moving forward with the remote monitoring system, we’ll get the data daily and be able to improve our maintenance packages as a result. Since the trucks have been on site, they’ve performed really well, we’re very happy with them.”

View from the cab

Operator safety and comfort are also vital. Shifts are long, conditions are always challenging, and the sheer size of the trucks is significant. The operator sits high above ground level and commands a 500-tonne machine capable of speeds up to 56km/h, carrying loads up to 296 tonnes.

Fortunately, the Hitachi trucks have been designed and developed with safety and performance in mind. Ergonomics play a key part in the cab design, which offer superior operator comfort and a great field of view. Another benefit is the Aerial Angle system, which provides the operator with all-round vision of what’s happening outside of the truck.

Ancillary Operator Tarra Ninyette explains: “The Aerial Angle is a fantastic safety system that’s fitted to the Hitachi trucks. It provides us with object detection and collision avoidance technology that allows the trucks to operate in a safe and productive manner.

“The functions and features are perfect for the conditions that we operate in, here at Roy Hill. The AC-drive systems function extremely well, are safe and allow the trucks to stop within the braking capabilities.”

Pink is the new orange

All the Hitachi EH5000AC-3 dump trucks owned by Roy Hill have their trays painted bright pink in support of breast cancer patients and research, and to honour the large number of women working alongside the men in these often tough conditions.

“Our Executive Chairman, Mrs Gina Rinehart, actively supports breast cancer patients and research, having started back in the early 1990s Australia’s then first breast cancer foundation, and the pink trucks campaign continues this initiative,” confirms Ian.

“Many of the trucks are named after people in the company who’ve been affected by and battled breast cancer, or partners of Roy Hill. This has touched many of our staff who are also champions of the cause. We have five pink locomotives, 130 pink ore cars and will soon have a pink WHIMS (wet high intensity magnetic separator) plant. In addition, our Chairman is also Godmother of the world’s first pink bulk ore carrier ship, the Berge Toubkal, the newest in the Berge Bulk fleet, and the largest ship to carry the Roy Hill ore.”

While the colour of the equipment sends a clear message, the performance of the Hitachi dump trucks and excavators also speaks for itself. As a result of high-quality manufacturing and engineering in Japan, and proven in-house technology from the Hitachi Ltd. group, as well as rigorous testing and continuous after-sales support, the Hitachi machines at Roy Hill are delivering long-term reliability in arguably the toughest conditions on the planet.

HCA were recently honoured with the “Outstanding Supplier” of the year award at the NSW Mining Industry & Suppliers Awards Dinner at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Thursday May 30th, 2019.  Hosted by the NSW Minerals Council each year, the event recognises excellence and extraordinary contributions made to the mining industry within the state. Several representatives of the NSW mining industry and supplier businesses were in attendance along with over 20 Members of Parliament.

Following the awards, NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee stated the event underlined the significance of mining in cultivating growth in regional communities by providing jobs and investment. “Our Industry and Suppliers’ Awards highlight the vital role mining plays in NSW, particularly the contribution our industry makes to regional communities. We had outstanding entries for the awards this year, reflecting the quality of our state’s world-class mining sector.”

Our Gunnedah and Muswellbrook branches were nominated for the award by Whitehaven Coal in appreciation of our strong partnership and role as a supplier in assisting their success. Gunnedah Parts and Service Manager Matthew Bradley and his team service around 90 pieces of machinery in the local area, with Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine owning approximately 65 of these.

A number of criterion were used to select the winner including; the commitment to innovative services and design in fostering productivity, profitability and performance, collaborating strategies with client to achieve sustainable growth and improved efficiency, measurable achievements in mine operation performance and contribution to community and local businesses.

The award was accepted by our Managing Director David Harvey on behalf of HCA, during his acceptance speech he thanked the NSW Minerals Council and their event sponsor Peabody, Whitehaven Coal for the nomination and lastly the solid dedication from the employees of Hitachi.

This accolade is a reflection of the hard work put in by our staff and our unwavering commitment in helping to achieve our company’s shared vision of Total Customer Satisfaction.

AS a major mining equipment supplier to Whitehaven Coal, Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) would like to congratulate the heavyweight producer on its success of the Maules Creek project.

Maules Creek has been a project close to HCA with involvement from the early planning stages and tendering mining equipment, before its eminent opening in 2015.

HCA are a proud supplier partner to Whitehaven for mining equipment and the associated products along with the supporting services.

To date, HCA has delivered to Whitehaven 57 pieces in total of Hitachi Mining Equipment which are now being operated on site. The fleet consists of: 5 x EH3500, 7x EH4000, 36 x EH5000 rigid-frame dump trucks and 4 x EX3600, 5 x EX8000 large hydraulic excavators.

The fleet is also monitored and managed using Hitachi’s Wenco Fleet Management System.

In support of operating Hitachi machinery and to enhance operator training, the EH5000 truck simulator is accessible on site for Whitehaven operators to gain maximum confidence before graduating into the mines.

To ensure a safe work place is provided, HCA and Whitehaven have together nurtured an enriched safety culture ensuring the project provides a safe work environment from assembly to commissioning and right through to operational stages.

The Maules Creek project has greatly assisted HCA with future development to support the mining business in New South Wales.

Currently, HCA’s Gunnedah branch provides ongoing parts and service support and in light of the growing success of Maules Creek, HCA plans to build a new facility in Gunnedah to ensure this development has the foundation to instil growth well into the future.

“Since the opening in 2015 the Muswellbrook and Gunnedah branches have outpoured support and services to Whitehaven to facilitate the needs of Maules Creek to be world-class operation,” said Nigel Agnew, HCA’s Branch Manager for Muswellbrook / Gunnedah. 

“The commitment of our HCA employees, service providers and equipment has to be 110% in order to support this mining giant, and with that we will continue to dedicate our work processes to fundamentally fuel this operation well into the future.

“We’ve had the privilege to be a part of the major ongoing development, providing leading mining solutions to make the Maules Creek project a continued success.”

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