Global mining technology company MineWare believes shovel-based payload monitoring is set to supersede traditional truck-based methods through the delivery of significant cost savings, more accurate data and ultimately, more consistent payloads in trucks.
MineWare founder and CEO Andrew Jessett claims variations in operator performance and material properties remain a significant and costly issue for the mining industry globally.
“Payload is essentially the load carried by a piece of equipment—in this instance, in the bucket of a shovel which is then dumped into the truck,” explains Jessett.
“The key to improving shovel productivity and reliability is to provide timely, accurate and clear data to all stakeholders in the shovel operation, ultimately resulting in more consistent loading practices.
Shovel based payload systems can achieve this goal.
“Traditional truck-based payload methods have inherent challenges such as truck sensor calibration, trucks lacking a weighing system altogether, and the length of time it takes for payload data to reach the operator. These challenges can impact on the accuracy of the information and the usefulness of the data. Keeping a fleet of truck payload systems accurately calibrated is a challenge for any mine site,” he said.
Jessett claims that the lack of a consistent truck loading control system can result in a number of costly impacts such as truck overloads, truck underloads, at-face dumping, and truck bunching (where heavily loaded trucks become slower up-ramps holding up other trucks and creating bottlenecks in production).
“All of these impacts can lead to lower production rates and higher haul truck maintenance costs, including premature tyre failure and higher fuel costs,” says Jessett.
“By providing real-time feedback to the operator, shovel-based payload monitoring systems enable well-trained shovel and excavator operators to consistently fill the trucks with a smaller variation in the final truck load.
“If truck payload is more consistent, productivity will improve and operating costs reduce.”
According to Jessett, MineWare’s Argus Shovel Performance Solution is one of the only systems on the market that provides accurate ‘shovel based’ payload management for controlling truck loading.
“It’s really important to have trucks loaded to their target weight. With Argus, we’re able to ensure that the operator knows how much is loaded in each truck and, in real-time, how much remains to be loaded. Having this information to hand enables the operator to achieve more consistent loading,” he said.
Jessett emphasised that even a one per cent production improvement on large machinery like draglines, excavators and shovels can deliver significant outcomes for mine sites.
“In the field, we’re seeing significant performance improvements by using Argus loader-based payload management to move more for less and without overstressing the equipment—therefore reducing unit costs,” he said.
“In their words, ‘if you can measure it, you can manage it.”