CNC Machine Tools Success Stories

Enduring partnerships build extra tough and super reliable vehicles for mining

Vehicles used in mining and remote area transport are subjected to some of the harshest conditions and usage imaginable. They need to be built extra tough, have improved ground clearance, improved gross vehicle mass (GVM) and be super reliable to meet the extraordinary off-road demands of remote and difficult terrain travel.

EnduroCo mine specification 4x4 Coaster bus

EnduroCo mine specification 4x4 Coaster bus

Based in Carrum Downs Victoria, EnduroCo provides 4x4 conversions for the Toyota Hiace and Toyota Coaster buses and vans. These vehicles offer the perfect 4x4 mini bus or van transport solution for mining sites with the ability to traverse all harsh and difficult to navigate terrain in absolute safety and confidence.

From the outback to sand and beach environments, whether it be for passenger transport, tourism, off road ambulance, disaster recovery, search and rescue or even law enforcement vehicles, the EnduroCo 4x4 conversions provide the build quality, reliability, comfort and affordability which has been tried, tested and manufactured to withstand the harshest Australian conditions.

EnduroCo’s impressive customer list includes mining operators such as BHP, BMA, Golding, Harmony Gold PNG, Glencore and Thiess.

EnduroCo’s 4x4 Bus conversions are fully compliant with all relevant Australian Design Rules. Both the Hiace and Coaster Bus 4x4 conversions have passed the strenuous lane change manoeuvre and braking tests under VASS engineering supervision. These tests simulate an emergency lane change and braking manoeuvres and are your guarantee of EnduroCo’s 4x4 conversion design integrity. 

The Hiace is built under a Federal Government Secondary Stage Manufacturing Compliance and the Coaster under the National Heavy Vehicle scheme.

The Coaster 4x4 drivetrain conversion consists of replacing the factory front axle and suspension with a new heavy duty solid beam axle and differential assembly incorporating new manual free-wheeling heavy duty hubs and ventilated disc brakes. A fabricated front cross member and engine mount with new coil springs and shock absorbers that raise the vehicle and increase the GVM or carrying capacity.

A New Process transfer case is mounted behind the main transmission and delivers high and low range gearing options. The standard Coaster rear axle is retained with a new leaf spring suspension, upgraded shocks that raise the vehicle and support the increased GVM.

The Hiace 4x4 conversion similar to the Coaster, involves removing the entire front axle and suspension. Rather than a solid beam axle the Hiace 4x4 conversion incorporates an EnduroCo purpose designed off road capable fully independent suspension, front differential and transfer case setup that raises the vehicle and increases the GVM or carrying capacity whilst delivering comfort and safety.

EnduroCo mine specification 4x4 Hiace bus

EnduroCo mine specification 4x4 Hiace bus

All the components for the EnduroCo 4x4 conversions have been designed locally by EnduroCo and manufactured in a collaborative partnership between EnduroCo and Alfred Lewis Engineering. This partnership enabled the design, R&D development, manufacture of a diverse range of components, component testing and Federal Government approval of EnduroCo’s 4x4 conversions and products in record breaking time.

Established in 1966, Alfred Lewis Engineering has built its business through a commitment to quality, service and partnering with clients across markets as diverse as low-pressure gas distribution hot tap fittings, medical instruments, industrial process equipment, transport components, mining and packaging equipment and the automotive aftermarket.

Alfred Lewis purchased their first Mazak CNC machine from John Hart in 1981, a Mazak Quick Turn 10 which was only just replaced in 2021 with a new Mazak Quick Turn 250, coinciding with the 40th birthday of the Mazak Quick Turn series and the introduction of the world’s first conversational CNC system for lathes – the MAZATROL T-1.

Fittingly many years of reliable service from this first and subsequent Mazak CNC machines as well as the long-term partnership with John Hart and Mazak, parallels the reliability and endurance designed and manufactured into the EnduroCo 4x4 conversions.

The company’s world class manufacturing facility is located in Braeside Victoria and operates on a business strategy committed to continual investment in the latest CNC machine technology.

Alfred Lewis boasts 17 state-of-the-art Mazak CNC machines including two Mazak HCN series horizontal machining centres, two Mazak Integrex advanced multi-tasking machines, two Mazak FJV series double column vertical machining centres, a number of Mazak vertical CNC centres as well as a number of Mazak Quick Turn series turning centres.

Most recently Alfred Lewis has invested in a new Mazak HCN-6800, a Mazak Quick Turn 250 that was mentioned earlier, as well as a Mazak Integrex i-400.

The Mazak HCN-6800 delivers unsurpassed performance, precision, reliability and production value for high-volume large heavy part operations with a maximum workpiece diameter of 1,050mm, a maximum workpiece height of 1,300mm and a maximum load on pallet of 1,500kg. Alfred Lewis have optioned their Mazak HCN-6800 with a 6 pallet changer for unmanned operation over extended periods of time, and have also added a 160 tool magazine.

The Mazak Quick Turn 250 is a high output, high rigidity machine designed to meet a wide range of production requirements, featuring the latest generation MAZATROL Smooth CNC system. Proven over the past 40 years with a cumulative sales record numbering well into six figures, the Mazak Quick Turn Series of CNC turning centers combines productivity, accuracy, and reliability, while providing excellent performance and unsurpassed production value.

The Mazak Integrex i-400 advanced multi-tasking machine delivers maximum versatility, high precision and throughput for medium to large complex parts. The machine combines the capabilities of a high-powered turning center and a full-function machining center to produce parts in single set-ups. This machine configuration works to minimise fixtures, tools, handling and non-cut time. The Integrex i-400 brings dramatic reductions in lead-time and improves part accuracy through the elimination of multiple set-ups. With full 5-axis machining capability, the machine easily processes fully prismatic parts from solid or castings, chucked or bar-fed, round or highly contoured parts.

Alfred Lewis is a quality endorsed company and relies heavily on a proven quality system combined with state-of-the-art Mazak CNC machinery to deliver on time quality products such as cast iron differentials and C-end weldments to suit, cast iron steer knuckles for both vehicle conversions, cast iron brake calliper brackets, heavy duty dual flange, dual bearing serviceable ABS wheel hubs for both vehicle conversions, torque arms, Panhard rods, tie rods and shock mounts, just to mention a few parts required for the EnduroCo 4x4 conversion kits.

EnduroCo Alfred Lewis John Hart Partnership

Alfred Lewis is a quality endorsed company and relies heavily on a proven quality system combined with state-of-the-art Mazak CNC machinery to deliver on time quality products.

We spoke to John Ellis, the Managing Director of Alfred Lewis Engineering about what the biggest challenges are with this work. He cited a number of critical factors that many Australian manufacturers would identify with, however the most important is the ability to deliver quality components and to deliver on time.

Amongst the other challenges is access to suitably qualified and skilled team members, and providing an interesting, challenging and rewarding work environment.

Supply chain issues also present considerable challenges and necessitate working collaboratively with suppliers to ensure materials such as stainless steel, exotic grades such as 4340, titanium, 7075 aluminium alloy, castings and forgings and other difficult to source materials are adequately stocked.

We asked John what features, capabilities or advantages do his Mazak CNC machines offer to overcome these challenges: “Aside from the performance, precision and reliability, Mazak’s own Mazatrol programming language together with expanded tool magazines is a significant aid to expediting production of small batch lots and assists enormously in simplifying team member operator and programming training.”

John continued: “The Mazaks were purchased for their ease of programming, setting and prove-out features. We considered other brands but the ease of operation and the programming language made the choice simple.”

The successful partnership between EnduroCo 4x4, Alfred Lewis Engineering and John Hart is behind the creation of a world class transport solution for mining sites. The partnership will continue to benefit from the leading edge technology provided by Mazak and the strong training and ongoing support from John Hart.

Alfred Lewis Mazak HCN-6800

The Mazak HCN-6800 delivers unsurpassed performance, precision, reliability and production value.