The mining industry is the foundation of the global economy. It is a tough business. Often, mining involves difficult conditions, harsh climates and remote locations. The rugged nature of the endeavour is inherently hard on the equipment we rely on to make mining faster and more cost-effective. Breakdowns do occur, often within the haul truck fleet. These breakdowns do not have to be crippling to your mine operation and TowHaul is ready to help.
In 1984, Frank Smith designed and manufactured his first TowHook, an apparatus used to tow disabled haul trucks on a mine site. Frank and his fledgling company had already made a reputation for themselves with their heavy-duty lowboys and his mining clients were coming back for help with towing disabled haul trucks. His customers had expressed frustration that it took days to get these behemoth trucks back to the shop. These recoveries required several pieces of equipment (dozers, other haul trucks, lube trucks, etc) and the equipment often sustained more damage in the recovery process than what had originally caused them to break down in the first place.
Frank’s TowHook aimed to make this difficult task simpler and safer. By dedicating a haul truck to become a tow truck with the TowHook installed, recovering disabled haul trucks became similar to towing a disabled automobile just on a bigger scale. By installing a tow bracket onto the disabled haul truck, the TowHook simply backed up to the truck, connected the TowHook to the tow bracket, lifted the front end and drove away.
There were several advantages to this system:
- Minimal disruption to production as no second haul truck, dozer or other equipment required.
- No need for chains/slings that can be dangerous to personnel.
- No need to have an operator in the cab of the truck being towed.
- Reduced traffic disruptions as less equipment required at tow site.
- Less people involved in the recovery operation.
In the early 1990s, Frank developed his first towing Gooseneck which allowed the same Gooseneck that pulled his trailers to tow disabled haul trucks. TowHaul was born.
Today, TowHaul offers additional innovations to make towing a disabled haul truck a fast, easy and safe procedure.
The Park Brake Release System uses the hydraulics on the tow truck to release the brakes on the disabled haul truck. With the PBR system, a power pack is no longer needed to release the brakes on the dead truck. Once connected and ready to tow, the operator can release the brakes at the push of a button in the cab and have complete visibility of what is happening behind them. If the system pressure were to drop, the Plus 1 control screen would alert the operator allowing them to safely pull over and troubleshoot the issue.
The Auxiliary Dump System also uses the hydraulics of the tow truck to raise and lower the dump body of a disabled truck to empty the bed prior to towing the truck back to the shop.
All of these innovations were developed in close collaboration with our clients to help them solve issues they saw regularly in day to day operations.
Helping customers solve these types of problems is the foundation of what we do at TowHaul. As Frank often says, “They have never really been my ideas. They come to me from these companies when they tell me what they need. I just had to figure out a way to accomplish their ideas…and put them into a machine that would work.”