A unique Arocs 1833 for the "Happy Valley quarries"

Vehicle & Technology

Size doesn't matter.

A tanker adapted to French mining requirements: that's exactly what the technical bosses of Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse were looking for. And the result? A pretty unique Arocs 1833.

An amazing backdrop. In the quarries of Happy Valley, one seemingly ordinary truck is responsible for making a huge difference: the Arocs 1833 tanker vehicle does a great job.

The quarries of Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse (literally "Happy Valley Quarries"), and the company of the same name have been owned by the Hénaux family for 137 years now. They can be found between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais and cover an area of more than 200 hectares. The plant is open from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and operates three different shift teams from Monday to Saturday morning in order to extract as many as 20,000 tonnes of limestone per day.

"The range of our products stretches from 0.2-millimetre granules to 7-tonne blocks of stone," says Bruno Devaux, Head of the company's Industrial Services business area. "Depending on the area, you find stone with different characteristics which thus allows us to serve various industrial sectors. Among these are steel processing plants, sugar refineries and gypsum manufacturers, plus the pharmaceutical and foodstuffs industries, and of course construction companies."

The products from Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse are used for example by ArcelorMittal in their furnaces as well as by the town of Wimereux, which uses stone to strengthen its sea defences as the limestone from the quarry is non-abrasive and thus particularly hard. Everything is transported by road or by rail; the latter thanks to a terminal with a rail connection.

Currently, 30 machines are in use at the quarry. You can normally also find two dumpers there, which get loaded by the wheeled loaders and diggers. These machines need to be refuelled with hundreds of litres of fuel on a daily basis and the latest models even need AdBlue. Refuelling takes place both in the morning and the late afternoon.

"We wanted to bring a further warehouse area back into operation but it is only accessible by road, and so we needed a truck which was road-approved and which could also be used problem-free in the quarry in order to supply fuel to our machines," explains Bruno Devaux, talking about the fundamental specifications of the vehicle.

Regarding the chassis, the company chose a two-axle Arocs 1833. The truck should be able to transport two tanks with a total capacity of 8000 litres, as well as a platform on which a 1000-litre tank for AdBlue or lubricants can be mounted. A true challenge. "The tank has to conform both to the French RGIE general regulations imposed on mineral-extracting industries, as well as the ECE-R111 regulation which prescribes a specific centre of gravity for tanks. A specific climbing ability is also required. Only the Arocs fulfils these criteria," continues Bruno Devaux. Upon delivery, though, the Arocs had a centre of gravity which was actually too high to be used as a refuelling vehicle. A few modifications were required in order to lower it. Laurent Meyrignac, Customer Advisor for the Mercedes-Benz Partner in Isques, thus had the Arocs equipped with two 9-tonne axles and an additional pack of leaf springs.

"Only the Arocs fulfils these criteria."

The regulations applicable to the mining industry also required the cab to be equipped with a protective cage. This cage is normally installed on the exterior, which was not possible in the case in question. Had it been mounted in this way, then the tanks would have had to be moved further back, thus subsequently reducing the length of the platform. The solution involved integrating the protective bar for the driver in the cab itself. "The vehicle was delivered in accordance with our specification and was thus a true prototype," says Bruno Devaux.

Brevet Carrosserie handled the project and were even subject to further restrictions. "We have three certifications: ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001. The latter obliges us to maintain particular safety standards. For the protection of the driver, the tanks can be filled from below. For the rare cases in which the driver has to climb onto a tank, there's a step with a folding handrail, which can be operated from below. What's more, the tanks feature automatic deactivation if a specific quantity is reached," tells Bruno Devaux.

For all those involved, this was an extremely complex project which took one and a half years to complete as a result of the many discussions that were necessary for it. But now, the little Arocs is a true gem worth 150,000 euros. "Mercedes-Benz followed our requirements where others wouldn't have even attempted it," affirms Bruno Devaux.

One and a half years in development. In order to carry out its duties in the quarry, the Arocs tanker has to fulfil so many different requirements that its development was a real challenge.

How the quarry works.

The excavation of limestone is carried out using controlled explosions. "We have our own team of explosives experts," explains Yoan Bétaz, Head of the Maintenance and Machine Planning department at Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse. The first step is 3D scanning of the face to be mined, after which the explosion depth is determined. The drillmaster can then locate the positions at which the holes should be bored. For an explosion whereby as many as 40,000 tonnes of stone are to be extracted, between 50 and 60 vertical holes are required. A wheeled loader or a 90-tonne digger then lifts the usable stone into a dumper with a load capacity of 60 tonnes.

The material is then transported to the jaw crushers and impact pulverisers, where the desired grain size can be obtained. These machines can break up stone with a maximum weight of 2.5 tonnes. Hoppers with dosing units make it possible to process products to the desired grain size and the precisely defined characteristics required. The stone-masonry firm which is located on the company premises also obtains their raw materials from the quarry.

"The depth of the quarry is currently 90 metres," says Yoan Bétaz. "We can still go another two mining faces deeper, which corresponds to a further 30 metres." Anyone tempted to look into the future of the quarry will quickly realise that Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse still have enough work for an entire century.

The dream of any expert. Bruno Devaux (left), Head of the Industrial Services business area at Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse, and Yoan Bétaz, Head of the Maintenance and Machine Planning department.


Bruno Devaux, Carrières de la Vallée Heureuse
Tel. no.: +33 (0)3 21 99 53 99
E-mail: bruno.devaux@cvh.fr

Laurent Meyrignac, Gorrias Automobiles
Tel. no.: +33 (0)6 46 19 78 17
E-mail: l.meyrignac@gorrias.eu    

Photos: Hans Müller


Een steengroeve in en uitrijden is zoals een tunnel in en uitrijden . Voorzichtig doordacht en naar alles kijken wat er zich rond Uzelf gebeurd. Een echt spectakel met een Arocs die in zijn element is met aldeze aanpassingen op regels en reglementen . Super voertuig
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Hat Frankreich wieder mal ganz eigene Vorschriften u. Spezifikationen für solche Fahrzeuge ?
Vergleichbare Fahrzeuge mit Sonderspezifikationen gibts doch auch in anderen Ländern der EU /Welt im Bergbau, Tunnelbau u. Steinbrüchen im täglichen Einsatz !
Kann diese speziellen Umbau-/Aufbaumaßnahmen in der Art daher nicht ganz nachvollziehen, obgleich solche Sonderfahrzeuge immer wieder interessant sind.
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Hallo Manfred,
wie der Artikel beschreibt, musste das Fahrzeug als Allrounder zwei verschiedenen Verordnungen (Tankschwerpunkt und mineralgewinnende Industrie) und drei Zertifizierungen gerecht werden. In solchen Spezialfällen müssen schon besonders angepasste Fahrzeuge her.
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Hallo RoadStars Team,

danke für die schnelle Antwort/Info. Andere EU/Welt Länder haben doch auch schon vergleichbar angepasste Fahrzeuge (mit Stern) für vergleichbare Einsätze in Betrieb, sodaß selbige Fahrzeuge doch nach meinem Verständnis auch in F zulassungsfähig sein sollten !? Zertifizierungen, Tankzulassungen etc. sollten doch eigentlich international gültig sein ?

MfG aus München
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Hallo Manfred,
was diesen Arocs so einzigartig macht, ist die angesprochene Limititierung durch zwei Verordnungen und drei Zertifikate (die es natürlich in wenigen Einzelfällen auch in anderen Betrieben gibt) in Kombination mit den individuellen Wünschen der Firma bezüglich Plattform- und Tankgröße.
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150000 sind für einen Tankwagen eigentlich nicht viel - das geht nur wenn keine komplexe Messtechnik wie im Handel vorgeschrieben verbaut ist. Für 1,5 Jahre Entwicklungszeit ist der Tank jedoch ziemlich hoch gelagert - da wäre noch einiges möglich gewesen - Lindner und Fischer baut beispielsweise ohne Hilfsrahmen - ich konnte so mal locker 10cm in der Höhe sparen - was dann bei vergleichbarer Höhe und Länge des Fahrzeugs ein Tankvolumen von 13.000 Litern ergab. Die Plattform wäre da sogar auch noch möglich - mir blieben 75 Zentimeter Rahmenüberstand übrig. Im Falle des gezeigten Arocs wäre der Käfig dann locker auch außen möglich gewesen, da der Tank ja nur 8000 Liter fassen sollte.
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150.000€ ist unter Berücksichtigung der geforderten Dinge die für den Einsatz unerlässlich waren gar nicht mal so viel.

Ich hätte hinsichtlich der zusätzlichen Änderungen und der generellen Auflagen um die 300k spekuliert....
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