Coal Age

JUN 2018

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shovels & excavators 20 www.coalage.com June 2018 Since shovels and excavators directly con- tribute to mine productivity, they are some of the most important pieces of equipment on a mine site. Therefore, optimizing shovel productivity, uptime, and compliance to a plan can directly and significantly impact open-pit mining practices and productivity. While these optimization efforts are often difficult to execute effectively, advanced and emerging technologies and services are available that further enhance technologi- cal capabilities, helping mines turn optimi- zation efforts into accomplishments. Inefficient shovel cycles, difficult ma- terial identification, unclear progress line definitions, and extensive manual survey- ing are some of the challenges shovel and excavator operators face on a regular basis. High-precision machine-guidance solu- tions can help resolve these challenges by using GPS signals to provide equipment op- erators with impressive positional accuracy. Modular Mining Systems' ProVision Machine Guidance solution, which was released for excavators 20 years ago this year, provides positional accuracy to the centimeter. The system also employs high-precision elevation control, which helps to improve bench height manage- ment, ramp accuracy, and current floor elevation accuracy, while drastically re- ducing ore boundary staking and manual progress surveying. The high-precision elevation control also allows shovel oper- ators to remain on grade as they dig into the face to virtually eliminate rework due to under- and over-cutting. Machine guidance technologies that facilitate accurate material identification and delineation, like the ProVision solu- tion, can also help mines improve their shovel productivity by reducing misrouted material. In addition, the system's real-time availability of geographical data improves adherence to the mine plan, and quickly notifies operators of plan deviations to fur- ther improve accuracy and productivity. Challenges With Current Spotting Methods Typical truck-spotting methods em- ployed across many mine sites today are often inefficient. As the shovel op- erator maneuvers his bucket into the de- sired loading location prior to a truck's reversal, he creates an extension in the overall cycle time, resulting in productiv- ity loss. This "spotting time" is a non-pro- ductive and unnecessary portion of the loading cycle, and is exacerbated by the time required for the truck operator to reverse to the correct loading spot and reposition as necessary. In addition to contributing extra time to the loading cy- cle, the shovel's resulting hang time con- sumes unnecessary energy in its require- ment to hold a full bucket while waiting for the truck. These spotting methods can also cre- ate potential safety risks from truck-shov- el impacts. "The truck-shovel exchange is one of the most frequently occurring processes in a mine," said Charles Orr, product manager for Modular's machine guidance systems. "It can occur more than 800,000 times per year at a large site. Even if an impact occurs in only a fraction of those interactions, the potential safety risk Technology Improves Shovel Productivity Proper positioning prevents poor performance shovels & excavators

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