According to Ernst & Young, mining companies must focus on successfully adopting and integrating technology to solve urgent business problems – increased productivity and margins. To do this, organizations must create a truly connected mine site, where every asset, driver and operator creates easily accessible data.
Companies not taking advantage of technology like telematics or Internet of Things (IoT) are missing out on an opportunity to make smarter, data-driven business decisions with a full picture of assets and projects.
By implementing GPS tracking systems, telematics or IoT, data from connected mine sites can be used to identify and correct inefficiencies in the workflow such as excessive queuing and idling, inefficient fuel usage and improper maintenance. By collecting the right data in the right places, and making it available to all those who need it, a connected site will help an organization make decisions based on genuine insight to optimize their business and improve cost savings.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a connected site is the optimization of the haul cycle, which means using the right size and correct number of equipment, creating a worksite that runs smoothly and efficiently by minimizing queueing or gridlock at the loading and dumping zone and effectively utilizing assets to reduce operation costs.
Companies must focus on maximizing daily production by analyzing the optimal number, type, size and speed of assets (haul trucks, loaders or crushers) that are used for each mine site. Telematics can help managers make decisions about these assets, as well as track production at every hour, allowing them to take immediate action if the site falls behind on their goals, rather than seeing missed targets the next day or week.
Underutilized assets could leave money on the table with wasted capital and high operating costs. Overutilization could result in serious faults or unnecessary expenses, especially if maintenance is neglected.
Mine managers can analyze if a different class or number of assets are needed for a site or if they need to be moved off site or to a new project. They can also ensure assets remain fully functional and safe for equipment operators and drivers on site.
Failure to conduct preventative or regular maintenance is another cost driver for mining operations that can result in unexpected expenses from broken equipment or malfunctions. Or in the worst-case scenario, broken equipment (a loader or a single haul truck, for example) could cause an entire operation to be shut down.
With real-time data from a connected site, managers have detailed insight into every asset and piece of equipment, including upcoming service needs, allowing companies to set a budget and maintenance schedule based on, for example, engine hours or fuel burn. Optimizing maintenance ensures services aren’t missed and the business is protected from costs due to unnecessary maintenance, unanticipated break downs or overtime salaries to maintenance crews.
Another benefit of a connected site is identifying and optimizing fuel use for operations inside the mine and for long haul on-road transportation. Fuel consumption is often the second largest cost after payroll – and costs continue to rise. In the short haul process, trucks don’t travel far, but the sheer amount of mass they carry means a lot of fuel is burned, especially if trucks are continually queueing.
For on-road vehicles, the cost of transporting aggregates doubles every 25 miles traveled. Telematics allow dispatchers to identify the most efficient route to a destination, utilizing insights to reroute drivers around traffic or obstacles or offer turn-by-turn instructions to keep drivers on the correct route.
Managers can monitor fuel burn across the entire fleet, comparing similar machines to find anomalies in fuel use, highlight areas that need further investigation or replace assets for more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Companies that don’t digitize their business risk falling behind the production curve, especially as margins continue to narrow and output demand increases. By creating a connected site through telematics and IoT data, mining companies can ensure they’re identifying inefficiencies in the workflow and making better business decisions based on holistic insights from job sites, assets, drivers and operators.
Information for the article courtesy of Mika Majapuro, product management & strategy, Teletrac Navman. Find out more at www.teletracnavman.com.