Since ancient times, Mexico has been famous for its rich culture, delicious food, and friendly people. It is also one of the world’s most important natural resource producers. Mexico is 8th in the world in terms of gold production and is also rich in silver and zinc. I recently traveled to one of the country’s largest silver and gold mines to help install five ShovelMetrics™ systems on its fleet of Bucyrus/CAT cable shovels.
I flew from Vancouver to the northern city of Monterrey, which is one of the biggest cities close to the mine that has an international airport. The city is beautiful, with a historic city center full of museums, good restaurants, and old buildings with architecture from the 1800s.
From Monterrey, it is a 3-hour drive to the mine, which is located in the state of Zacatecas. The weather is really hot during the day and windy at night. The region falls between two mountain ranges with the valley home to lush vegetation and wildlife, while coyotes, foxes, and black bears roam the foothills of the mountains.
After arriving at the mine, I received a beautiful postcard of many palm trees next to the pit. The mine personnel explained that these trees used to populate the entire area, and for every tree that is removed for exploration or digging, the mine plants an equivalent tree in their green oasis area, for community recreational use.
The installation began with the mine’s Bucyrus 495HR cable shovels, according to the downtime availability planned prior to the trip by the mine project engineer, dispatch, operations, maintenance and IT staff. Each of these three system installations took 2 days, the 1st day was to get all the hardware in place and adjust the bucket camera on top of the boom and the 2nd day involved setting the CPU parameters and finally calibrating the system.
After the 2nd installation, the entire crew was familiar with the activities each had to perform and we finalized the installation 2 hours earlier than expected. By the 3rd Shovel we broke our company record, completing a full ShovelMetrics™ system installation in 7 hours. Operations was pleased that we were working faster than expected, since the shovels needed to get back to production to achieve their daily stockpile goal.
The project finished with 5 systems installed on 4 Bucyrus 495HR and 1 CAT 7495, all of them connected to our newest data management platform, MetricsManager™ Pro, which the mine has been using constantly to review data from ShovelMetrics™’ fragmentation analysis, missing tooth detection, and tooth wear monitoring modules, as well as preparing reports for mine management.
The last day of my visit to the mine was topped off with a pizza party. All the people that helped with the installation participated and shared their experience. It was a great experience and an honor to be part of such a great group of people.
Written by Cristobal Capponi, Motion Metrics Support Engineer