A PGM Mine in Limpopo Province, South Africa insourced the maintenance of their Sandvik Fleet of Trackless Mining Machines (TMM) consisting of Load Haul Dumpers (LHD), Dump Trucks (DT), Drill Rigs (DR) and Roof Bolters (RB). An in-house intranet-based planning and scheduling system, the Minelert MachineEYE Mining Machine Data Automation, were developed to record machine operational hours to schedule hour based services and do financial forecasting for major component replacements. Machine hours had to be captured manually in the workshops when machines were available which resulted is several challenges such as:
- No TMM Reporting were available.
- Poor data integrity as manual capturing of data was done irregular and filled with mistakes for various reasons.
- Machine movements and time spent at certain locations was unknown i.e. wash bays, diesel bays, workshops, workplaces etc.
- Engine idling hours versus machine transmission hours did not make sense at all.
- Major components without hour meters like axels, drifters and drive trains had to be measured to do accurate component replacement forecasting.
- Machine movements in the mine were unknown.
- Any operator can operate any machine which is in contradiction with Act 29 Clause 8.10(15).
The solution, Minelert MachineEYE Mining Machine Data Automation required specific machine data to be automated. A device called a Machine Monitoring Unit (MMU) must be installed on the machine and is hard-wired into the machine nervous system to record the required data digitally.
The solution components included:
- Minelert Machine Monitoring Unit (MMU) with WiFi.
- Minelert Operator Display Unit (ODU) with biometrics.
- Minelert Active tracking tags installed in haulages to monitor machine movements and tracking.
- Minelert TrackEYE Management Console and data controller. Data controller was installed locally in server room and application was hosted in the cloud.
- IT connectivity provided by the IT Department.
- Onsite installation and testing services.
Machines were identified and connectivity to the server room was established. Tracking tags were installed underground and on the surface. Machines were installed with the aid of the client workshop Foreman and auto electrician team.
Machine operational hours that were recorded included:
- Engine run time.
- Transmission run times.
- Transverter run times.
- Compressor run times.
- Powerpack run times.
- Percussion time and counts
Data put through to the in-house developed planning system was established and data started populating the planning system automatically on a daily basis.
Results that speaks millions include:
- No more time & effort required to manually capture data from machines.
- Automatically receive 100% accurate data near-live into the planning system.
- Operators can be identified on machines.
- Accurate major component replacement forecasting for Product Optimal Cycle Lifetime (POC).
- Electronic machine checklist was developed to digitize operations checklists.
- Machine movements on surface and underground became visible.
- Excel data sheets were discontinued.
The Business Value Gained
The following business value was gained with basic functionality during the proof of concept phase:
- Create trends of machine utilization per operator.
- Improved planned maintenance.
- Accurate budgeting for major component replacements.
- Reduced breakdowns due to planned maintenance.
- Quicker time-to-face at shift start for extended production time due to electronic paperless machine inspections.
- Increased Engineering Performance.
- Planned and predictive decisions capability based on automated equipment monitoring.
- Customized Management Reporting
What Other Benefits Are Available?
The implemented technology base allows for functional growth to provide additional business benefits with minimum development i.e.:
- Machine cycle times, tipping counts and tipping point identification will contribute to targets monitoring.
- Damage report management can be incorporated for Operators to be held accountable for malicious damages.
- Tracking of warranty claims of installed components per machine.
- Photos of errors found when completing the electronic checklist before operations.
- SAP Integration for automated job card creation and spare stock confirmation.
- Pay bonusses according to actual time worked not for time being at work.
- Automated tire management and monitoring.
- Operator leaderboards and gamification to promote safety and production whilst decreasing breakdowns and downtime.
- Digitize all machine safety inspections to a paperless process.
- Knowing operator performances in terms of cycle times.
- Enhance accountability for Operators and Workshop Teams.
- Machines equipped with digital hour meters can be digitized by installing Minelert’s Vehicle Clients to WiFi-enable machines.
- Operator aid.