January’s issue of World Coal Magazine featured our ShovelMetrics™ bucket-by-bucket payload monitoring system and showed how it can be a valuable tool to help improve mining’s lagging productivity.
Over the past decade there has been a rapid decline in mining productivity despite investment in better equipment. The main cause of this decline is geological. Higher strip ratios reflect the fact that most of the easy to access material has already been mined. In order to remain profitable, mines must become more efficient and one way to do that is by increasing the effectiveness of truck and shovel fleets.
Counterintuitively, truck and shovel fleets are less effective than they could otherwise be because shovel operators frequently overload haul trucks. Haul truck manufacturers have stipulated that truck payload may only exceed the rated payload capacity by 10% up to 10% of the time, with no single load exceeding 20% over the maximum rated payload. These rules are put in place to maximize the usage of each truck without causing damage, downtime, or voiding the warranty. Truck overloads significantly increase the risk of structural damage and machine downtime, which can easily offset the additional productivity gained in the short term through overloading. However, despite this fact, 93% of trucks violate the so-called 10-10-20 rule.
Thankfully, ShovelMetrics™ payload monitoring solution for hydraulic shovels can mitigate this problem by providing bucket-by-bucket payload measurements so the shovel operator can ensure trucks are optimally filled. This preventative solution is made possible by high precision orientation and pressure sensors that have been proven accurate within 2% of the weight scale verified payload. This system provides valuable information not only to the operator, but to mine management as well, allowing them to adjust their loading and hauling strategy and maximize overall mine productivity.
Mines that have adopted our payload monitoring system are already seeing results. An African precious metals mine reduced the number of severe overloads by 31%, increased compliant payloads from 12% to 22%, and increased shovel productivity by 10%, all without reducing overall mine production.