World’s biggest hydraulic breaker celebrates its 200th jubilee
Essen/Dublin, July 2006.<BR> Recently Atlas Copco Construction Tools GmbH, Essen, delivered a Atlas Copco HB 7000 hydraulic rock breaker carrying serial number 200 to Embankment Machinery Sales, Dublin, Ireland.
Since its launch into the market in 1992 the HB 7000 has become bestseller and has dominated the super heavy hydraulic breaker market segment for years.
This was not simply a matter of course for the Atlas Copco team who are and continue to be responsible for design and marketing of the product. As the breaker was being developed it was unclear how large the market for this product actually was.
Torsten Ahr, Marketing Manager at Atlas Copco, looks back: „Our sales expectations were quite modest at the time, because at the beginning of the nineties there existed only a few suitable carrier units worldwide.
Moreover the use of hydraulic rock breakers as production units in quarries was little known at the time. No one had the experience, one could not bank on reliable data and there were only a few potential users willing and able to invest in heavy hydraulic rock breakers for direct mining.“
The development engineers of the HB 7000 (at the time known as Krupp HM 4000) really had to accomplish a „huge“ task, because they had to harness and produce in a reliable manner a single-impact energy of 13,000 Nm (AEM) which was never achieved before. In achieving this they also had to ensure that the breaker would not destroy itself by the sheer power being produced by the impact mechanism.
Torsten Ahr goes on to say: „The kinetic forces inside the breaker are enormous. More than 600 tons acting on the tool with every impact which can be compared with the weight of a fully loaded Airbus A 380.
The chisel alone weighs 430 kg and has a diameter of 210 mm (compare this with an A4 sheet of paper which is also 210 mm wide).
Every minute 450 litres of hydraulic oil with a pressure of up to 180 bar are flowing through the breaker. The extreme forces put all components under enormous stress. Even today the design and technical fabrication demands are so high that there are only a few manufacturers of 7-ton hydraulic breakers in the world, but their products do not achieve the performance and reliability of the HB 7000.“
As the team of developers and engineers were working on the design of the breaker, the fabrication, purchasing and logistics specialists were also confronted with a number of problems. At the time most fabrication, milling/turning machines were not designed to handle such large components. Atlas Copco invested in new fabrication plants, some of which are still one-offs today as they were built especially for the company for the production of the HB 7000.
It was also necessary to find suppliers for the new materials and components since none of the standard solutions known at the time could be adopted.
Torsten Ahr continues: „The actual development work really started as the first prototypes were delivered to the customers. The breaker reached physical limits, partially exceeded them and new ways had to be found to turn the prototypes into a real product. No other product has ever yielded such a close co-operation between the product management, sales and marketing departments, dealers, service, logistics and end users.“
From the early days EMS, Embankment Machinery Sales headquartered at Dublin and Cork have taken an active part in the product development. Everyone in charge knew from the start that this product was more than just a hydraulic rock breaker, it was an overall concept that was required.
Pat Duke, Director of Embankment Machinery Sales gives an overview of the concept: „Machines of this size are used as production machines – so maximum productivity is the only thing that matters to our customers. Therefore we were convinced from the start that marketing the HB 7000 not only means to sell a big breaker, but concept as a whole. Our customers benefit in the decision-making phase from our advisory service and the application know-how allows them to chose the optimum breaker for their particular application. We also guarantee that our service team as well as spare and wear parts are available day and night. Should the need arise, we also make available replacement and fill in breakers to keep the customer’s non-productive times as short as possible. In short: productivity is what counts!
Our concept is quite successful. We are the number one in Ireland in sales of breakers in this size. In the meantime the „jubilee breaker“ is the 19th HB 7000 breaker sold on the Irish market. Worldwide there is no other market with such a high HB 7000 density.“
On June 28 and 29 EMS celebrated with Atlas Copco and a number of guests the delivery of the HB 7000 carrying serial number 200.
To underline its uniqueness the „jubilee breaker“ was turned into an object of art by the female artist Bea Schröder from Düsseldorf which „tells“ the successful story in many different colours, shapes, names and quotations, and underlines the successful partnership between EMS and Atlas Copco.