Optimize mine productivity through fleet management systems

author

By: Sumeet Singh --

01 January, 2017

ARTICLE

Abstract:

Amidst the tough timesfaced by mining firms due to fluctuating metal prices, miners strive for maximum productivity at minimum operating cost to increase the profitability of mining ventures. The productivity of mining operations dependson the efficient management and effective utilization of its fleets. The complex nature of material handling and haulage in open cast and underground mines necessitates a fool-proof system for effective management of mining machinery to achieve higher productivity coupled with low operating cost. Fleet management system is one such significant tool which helps to improve productivity. While such systems not only increase equipment and operational efficiency, they also provide safer working environment for miners.

Introduction

Fleet management system is an integrated system with Global Positioning System (GPS) mounted on the operating equipment assimilated with the remote computer through interface software. This includes various modules such as dynamic vehicle movement monitoring, location tracking, mechanical diagnostics, and driving conditions. These parameters ensure efficient, productive, and safe mining conditions and address miners’ concernssuch as longer cycle times, machinery overload, poor utilization and improper material movement.

Fleet management helps miners in scheduling machinery performance so that unproductive time is minimized. By providing real time observational capability to miners, planning and management of the equipment and personnel becomes easy. These systems ensure that material is transported to either stack or to the dumping site with minimum cycle time by using the appropriate demarcated haul routes and by carrying optimum load. They also help to decongest haul roads which minimizes the turnaround time, increasing productivity and utilization of mining machinery.

Fleet management systems in open cast mines

Open-pit mines are characterized by large mineral output and heavy equipment. So, effective fleet management system is a prerequisite for large open-cast mines as it helps in equipment allocation, production planning and dynamic monitoring of mine equipment from a remote control room.This facilitates continuous information flow regarding equipment location and material movement within and outside of the mine pit limits and pay load optimization. In addition, thefleet management system regularizesthe haul road traffic flow within the mine reducing the turnaround time by 5-10percent and improving the productivity by 8-12percentwhenemployed with appropriate mining methods and mode of operation.




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