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Mining truck bodies for tough conditions in Russia

Mining truck bodies for tough conditions in Russia

12 November 2021

Joonas Sykkö, Product Manager, Mining Truck Bodies, and his five-person design team at Häggblom develop mining truck bodies as well as the entire service concept, quality and value-added productivity.

Mining truck bodies for tough conditions in Russia

Mining truck bodies are currently Häggblom’s main export product to Russia. The first truck body left for Russia in 2019 and before then, the company had exported some buckets and booms to Russia.

“Our products are considerably lighter and more durable than original aggregate truck bodies. We make our truck bodies of high-strength steels and wear steels from SSAB, which together with painstaking, innovative design and high-quality production, give our truck bodies a long service life. Our other strengths are prompt delivery times and the maintenance and wear part services included in our lifecycle service,” Sykkö says.

Häggblom truck bodies are tailored to customer needs, since they are used in challenging environments, which are always different. The soil and earth excavated can be light or heavy, hard sharp, large, abrasive or solidify inside the truck body. There are differences in the mines, too; ramps in open-cast mines can be steep and there may be obstacles or other factors that limit geometrics and functionality. Mine production targets or stipulations imposed by mining truck manufacturers must often also be considered.

“We also take into consideration the cold operating conditions, which create their own challenges to mining, in the design and production of truck bodies for export to Russia. If needed, the truck bodies can be heated by the truck’s own exhaust gas to prevent the soil being transported from freezing inside the truck body. Design of truck bodies also takes into account the prevention of freezing,” Sykkö says.

Language skills and knowledge of business culture are of great importance

”Häggblom’s personnel includes a number of employees with a Russian background, which means we have our own in-house language skills and a knowledge of the local business culture,” Sykkö says contentedly.

He says that it is very important to review export-related Russian documents with a person who masters the language. Help with translation is also available from partners if needed.

”There are differences in Finnish and Russian business culture. I think the most important is that in Russia, bureaucracy is more evident in trading. There is keen bargaining on prices, delivery times and content, as there should be with an ambitious buyer and seller, regardless of the culture,” Sykkö says.

Bright future

”The future looks bright for exports of Häggblom truck bodies to Russia. Mining companies are currently investing heavily in improving their production, which in turn creates a great opportunity for us to place our own products on the market. High prices of materials – especially steel – together with supply problems in Europe have forced mining companies to think carefully about where they buy their products. Mining companies have wanted to increase supplier options and Häggblom has become a new name on the candidate list of many a company,” Sykkö says, adding that:

“Even though we’ve exported relatively few truck bodies to Russia so far, some of our references have already greatly affected demand. Especially since our existing customers have been very pleased with our quality products and the added value they generate.”

Sykkö believes that also Häggblom’s geographical location and its flexibility and affordance freight prices are important criteria in the buying decision.

”We’re ultimately relatively close to Russian mine operators. Most of our truck body competitors are located near Moscow, which is surprisingly far away from northwest Russia, for example, whereas we are only half as far away. Bureaucracy at the border certainly poses its own challenges, but nothing we can’t deal with.

Häggblom has really great expectations for 2022 as far as Russian exports are concerned. We have our sights set on truck body deals worth millions of euros.

(Sykkö’s photo: Tomi Hirvinen)