Coal Age

JUN 2018

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22 June 2018 shovels & excavators continued and equipment damage that often results can be significant." By reducing the spotting segment of the loading cycle, even by seconds, mines can potentially increase their overall production capacity by millions of tons annually. Improving the Excavation Load Cycle The excavation load cycle plays a critical role in the surface mining production pro- cess, making it an ideal target for optimi- zation. In addition to the potential overall production increases, improving the load cycle also enables mines to: • Minimize shovel hang time; • Optimize shovel swing angle; • Maximize trucking capacity; and • Increase compliance to plan. Achieving this ideal load cycle is often more easily said than done, however; haul truck maneuvering efficiency at shovels, crushers, and dumps can vary dramatical- ly with operator skill. This variability has led mines to employ standard operating procedures geared toward the site's lowest capability level to ensure a safer produc- tion. While such traditional practices as bucket spotting and single-side loading can help reduce the risk of truck-shovel impacts, they often do so at the cost of productivity. As the shovel hang time that results from these traditional practices in- creases, the productivity of both the shov- el and truck decreases. Operator-assist Technologies for Load-cycle Optimization Operator-assist technologies can help optimize the load cycle to significantly improve the productivity of both shov- els and trucks by efficiently guiding haul truck operators as they reverse to- ward the shovel-loading position, with- out guidance from the shovel operator. The Guided Spotting system, part of Modular's ProVision Machine Guidance solution, is one such technology, and can help optimize the excavation load cy- cle by potentially equalizing the per- formance of all operators to a capabil- ity close to (or even beyond) that of the most experienced operator. The system's high-precision guidance and real-time communication and integration between the shovel and truck enable precise guid- ance to a predetermined loading point, governed by the shovel. The Guided Spotting system is de- signed to improve shovel productivity and operator safety awareness during the truck spotting and loading process, and utilizes visual displays mounted near-side mirrors to leverage existing practices, rather than seeking to replace those practices with technology. The symbology utilized on the visual displays is operator-friendly and easy to interpret from the peripheral line of sight, helping even the least-skilled op- erator to potentially perform as efficiently as the most-skilled operator. In addition, the Guided Spotting system provides the truck operator with real-time feedback regarding his exact location, relative to the desired spotting point. The system allows the shovel operator to specify his desired loading point(s) for both single- and dual-sided loading and integration between the ProVision solution and Modular's DISPATCH Fleet Manage- ment System facilitates optimization of the next-available truck assignment to further decrease the excavation load cycle time and increase fleet production capacity. The shovel operator can also update or change the loading points without assistance from the central office or survey team. After extensive successful field trials at a large mine in North America, the system will be released later this year. It has the potential to: • Increase shovel productivity by 4% to 35%; • Contribute up to two to eight addi- tional loads per hour; • Reduce swing time by up to 15%; • Reduce shovel energy consumption due to hang time; and • Achieve additional gains by eliminat- ing re-spotting. Technologies to Increase Shovel Uptime Shovels are some of the most important pieces of equipment on a mine site, but maintenance for them is often overlooked. Since many haul trucks use a fleet man- agement system that helps to centralize incoming data via telemetry, they can pro- vide more information for maintenance teams to immediately act on. Key perfor- mance indicators (KPIs) for maintenance often place emphasis on fleet availability. Since mines typically have more trucks than shovels in their fleets, truck mainte- nance is often the fastest and easiest way to fulfill this KPI. But from a production standpoint, having a plethora of avail- able trucks means very little if no shovel is available to load them. Additionally, shovels receive a high- operational priority, which can conflict with maintenance initiatives. Prolonging scheduled maintenance might help sus- tain production in the short term, but of- ten results in increased and unscheduled downtime later if the prolonged mainte- nance results in a failure or increased wear and tear to the shovel. Planned shovel maintenance requires careful time management. Modular's Mi- neCare Maintenance Management solu- tion helps maintenance teams prioritize objectives from a condition-based ap- proach, rather than a time-based one, re- lying on OEM and custom-defined alarms to identify potential issues before they result in catastrophic damage and costly downtime. The MineCare solution is OEM agnostic, providing interfaces to the most OEMs in the industry, and allows users to establish custom alarms based on time series data and OEM events. The solution captures such time series data as: • Stress monitoring for shovel boom, arm and frame; • Engine and related energy consumption; • Hydraulics and electrical systems; and • Digging conditions and blast quality. The MineCare solution's ability to collect an abundant amount of data from each of the shovels across a site's fleet, and translate that data into actionable in- formation, can help maintenance teams decrease their unplanned shovel mainte- nance to further increase productivity. As the mining industry continues to rebound, mines will continue to look for ways to optimize efficiencies wherever they can. Since shovels and excavators play such a critical role in the open-pit mining process, their productivity, uptime and availability become excellent opti- mization targets. Through machine guid- ance, operator assist, and maintenance management technologies, Modular Min- ing Systems provides the value mines need to optimize their equipment, empower their people and drive production. This article was written and submitted by Modular Mining Systems. For more infor- mation, contact

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