Liebherr launches the R 9600, the successor to the iconic R 996B

Following several years of development, the Liebherr mining division has launched the new 600-tonne R 9600 hydraulic mining excavator. 

As the successor to the R 996B, the R 9600 enters the market following a year of field experience in Australia, the largest market for 600-tonne class excavators. The new machine builds upon years of customer-centric research and is based upon the successful 800-tonne R 9800 excavator. 

While eight R 9600s will be operating in Australia by end of 2021, the excavator will enter serial production at the end of the year. 

Customer input played an important and pivotal role in the development of the new machine, according to Liebherr. Engineering, sales and marketing teams have collected feedback and insights from mine site equipment operators, maintenance personnel and procurement groups as well as executive management to have a clear understanding of the challenges they meet every day. 

The new R 9600 is designed to reach the highest standards in terms of safety, sustainability, performance, lifetime, total cost of ownership and ease of maintenance. 

After testing the first prototypes at the Liebherr proving grounds in Colmar, France, in early 2020, the first R 9600 pre-series excavators started operating in iron ore and coal applications in Australia. 

Liebherr partnered with its customers BHP and Thiess to conduct the validation of the first two units in the field. Backed by the successful validation phase, the R 9600 is ready to enter the global market. 

Liebherr Power Efficiency 

The R 9600 is equipped with two QSK50 Cummins engines. Understanding that fuel costs form a major portion of total cost of ownership, Liebherr has developed and implemented LPE solutions (Liebherr Power Efficiency). The proprietary management system for the engine and hydraulic system controls substantially reduces fuel consumption without compromising the overall productivity of the machine. 

For emission regulated regions, Tier 4 Final and Stage V compliant versions are available with the latest SCR after-treatment technology. Complying with stringent emission regulations, the SCR system reduces nitrogen oxides by injecting a liquid reductant into the exhaust stream. 

An electric drive version of the R 9600 will be available soon, a productive choice for mine sites with the required electrical infrastructure. 

Smart component design

The R 9600 attachment makes use of smart component design, such as the patented EVO backhoe bucket, hydraulic cylinders, shift levers, bucket links and attachment pins. The result is an increased overall production rate without compromising component lifetime. 

In standard backhoe configuration with a heavy-duty wear package, the R 9600 comes with a 37.5 cubic metre bucket to deliver an ideal truck/shovel match with Liebherr mining trucks. The excavator is able to load 190-tonne trucks in three passes, T 264 240-tonne trucks in four passes, T 274 300-tonne trucks in five passes and T 284 375-tonne trucks in six passes. 

The excavator is also available in face shovel configuration equipped with a 37 cubic metre shovel, as standard with a heavy-duty wear package. 

New uppercarriage

Designed to tackle all applications globally, the R 9600 is built to last more than 80,000 machine operational hours. 

To further improve machine reliability, the uppercarriage structure is a completely new development. The undercarriage includes a fatigue resistant steel structure, and is enhanced with a new hydraulic track tensioning system. The standard sealed heavy-duty carrier and track rollers incorporate the patented roller path design and registered track pad design. 

The R 9600 utilizes the latest quality control systems to ensure the best reliability and highest performance. 

Operator designed cab

The R 9600 has a brand-new cab designed by operators for operators – it is a first-class, state of the art 14 cubic metre working space. The cab design reduces vibrations and limits noise to 69 dB, providing a comfortable working environment for the operator. 

To allow for the best possible working conditions, Liebherr engineers have placed the cab of the R 9600 back on the left side, standardizing the machine with other excavators in the range. 

As well, the operator’s seat has been positioned as far left as possible in order to provide the optimal visibility of the attachment and working area. Ambient LED lights make working at night easier and safer. The operator station is user friendly and equipped with modern touch screen displays. The air conditioning system for the cab is a modular design concept, which is easily exchanged as a rotable component, as single or dual air conditioning systems are available. To further enhance the operator comfort, vacuum cleaner, premium cooled seats and HEPA filtration system are available. 

The R 9600 offers a perimeter visibility system comprising of four cameras at strategic locations on the rotating uppercarriage. The dedicated monitor inside the cab provides continuous 270-degree vision around the machine. 

The R 9600 is equipped with the Liebherr Assistance Systems, which the manufacturer believes will set new standards in the mining industry. The advanced on-board applications are designed to support the operators in becoming more efficient through analytics and actionable insights from live data. 

The Truck Loading Assistant helps the operator attain optimal productivity and efficiency. With 99 per cent measurement accuracy, the system measures the instantaneous bucket payload and provides real-time information to the operator. The Truck Loading Assistant strategizes the number of passes required to achieve the target payload of the truck, and also provides a progressive update in achieving the strategy. 

In addition, to provide operators and customers with productivity KPIs of the machine performance, the severity of the application and the operational conformance of the machine is realized in real-time on the machine. 

The first Liebherr hydraulic excavator (HEX) Automation Product introduced to the mining industry is the Bucket Filling Assistant, an adaptive or semi-autonomous digging product that is available as an option for the backhoe version of machines. 

It allows for easier and faster bucket filling with a consistent bucket fill factor, load after load, even in the toughest digging conditions. As a result, the overall productivity improves, while operator fatigue is reduced. 

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Liebherr product development is centered around protecting the customer’s most important assets. The R 9600 was designed with respect to global safety standards for operators and maintenance personnel, ensuring that safety remains a top priority at all times. 

The uppercarriage of the R 9600 has been designed to allow for quick and easy maintenance activities, and is accessible via a hydraulically-controlled, ergonomic, 45-degree stairway. 

Enlarged walkways with handrails and non-slip perforated steps allow for safe and convenient inspections and maintenance at all levels of the machine, including engine and powertrain components. All major parts have been designed and positioned to allow easy maintenance. 

The central service flap provides fluid and lubricant access to all components and systems, which reduces potential downtimes. Component and system refill and drain points of the R 9600 are accessible from ground level with quick couplings and depressurizing valves.