Coal Age

MAR 2019

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40 March 2019 operating ideas Improved Loading Techniques through Situational Awareness by jesse morton, technical writer Hexagon Mining recently reported two capabilities within MineOper- ate Pro OP help coordinate the tasks of shovels, trucks, and dozers to in- crease productivity and reduce safety risks. High- and low-precision shovels and dozers can leverage the onboard software and that of a centralized server, Hexagon's Fleet Management System (FMS), to coordinate cleanup at the loading site. The flipside of the coin is a capability that coordinates trucks and dozers at the dump site. Both capabilities "come from a customer who wanted to avoid met- al-to-metal accidents and become more productive," said Marcelo Rome- ro, senior product portfolio manager, Hexagon Mining. "After, the customer tested them, they expanded the good practice for the rest of their mines." At the loading site, the goal is to keep the dozer out of the way of the haulers. "It is an unproductive situation because now the shovel and truck are waiting for the dozer to finish cleaning up," Romero said. "In contrast, when a customer has OP Pro and FMS, both equipment are feeding and fed with re- al-time data, and know when the next truck will arrive," he said. "It informs operators of the time needed by the dozer for the cleanup task." Contrast that with more tradition- al methods. "Cleaning up is a com- mon task and relies on radio com- munication," Romero said. "Usually, the radio channels are busy and don't give enough time for people to coor- dinate." The onboard software, MineOp- erate OP Pro, runs the cleanup func- tionality and "is configurable," Rome- ro said, and "communicates with FMS. This "facilitates the communi- cation between equipment and keeps records of the communications." Assignments are queried and ac- cepted using onboard FMS panels. If the loading area needs to be cleaned, either the shovel or the dozer operator can query the other for cleanup task execution. "The operator uses the panel for this request," Romero said. Either operator starts by select- ing the shovel. "For instance, shovel SH01," Romero said. "The system cre- ates this relation and provides infor- mation on the dozer panel when the next truck will arrive at SH01." The recipient of the request, which can be either the dozer or the shovel, can either accept or reject the request. "Additional to the workflow, the dozer operator can select which shovel side, left or right, to clean up," Romero said. With the impending release of new hardware, "the communication will pass directly between equipment without the need to rely on WIFI in- frastructure," Romero said. "It will help the equipment interaction in ar- eas where the mine doesn't have net- work wireless infrastructure." Coordinating dozer and truck tasks at the dump site is made possible and benefitted by the same systems. "Because the areas can be huge, the truck operators are not always clear where they need to dump the mate- rial," Romero said. "Additionally, as a normal process, the truck dumps the material and a dozer pushes the ma- terial," he said. "When the operators don't know or remember where they need to dump, the material is spread out all over the place, which makes dozer work inefficient and unsafe." The solution offers both guid- ance to truck operators and the next truck arrival time to the dozer. "Heavy equipment has a lot of blind spots," Romero said. "Because all equip- ment positions are on the equipment screens, it gives situational awareness to avoid potential risks." MineOperate OP Pro and the FMS provide "all real-time informa- tion, equipment positions, ETA and dump directions, which are updated automatically by the system," Rome- ro said. "If, for any reason, during the shift the trucks need to dump in an- other place, but in the same dump, the controller needs to update the new dump guidance and the system Modular's ProVision Guided Spotting System in some cases can contribute up to eight additional loads per hour, the company reports. (Photo: Modular Mining Systems)

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