VIDEO: The Value of Maintenance Alarms: AEM Goldex Reduces Down Time and Saves Costs

Being able to offer mining operators a real-time look at operations below ground is invaluable. This allows for mining operators to have a better understanding of some of the complex logistics as well as how their miners and vehicles function on a day-to-day basis. By implementing systems such as Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry, manager are able to have access to statistics and big data to compare and contrast what is and what isn’t working for the mine. MET solutions are able to record important data when it comes to machine failure, operator practices, and the efficiency of the vehicles throughout any given work day.

Agnico Eagle’s Goldex mine was looking for this kind of transparency for their underground operation and they wanted to be able to dig deeper and fix internal issues that would save them time and money in the long run. For this reason, Newtrax worked one-on-one with Goldex to design a dashboard with alarms and notifications that would help them increase their overall productivity.

Paul Gorodko, Newtrax MET Project Manager, sat down to explain the nuances of each system and the overall goal of the Goldex project, “We wanted to obtain a visibility of maintenance alarms and equipment utilization”.

Gorodko explained that there are four dashboards that collect and store the data. These dashboards consist of:

  • Microsoft Power BI Dashboards
  • Summary Reports
  • Detailed Event Logs
  • Detailed Graphical Reports

These help mining operators understand how their machines are being handled underground. Gorodko said, “We start out with a high-level dashboard which shows you what your good and bad days are, essentially. These are based on KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). If you find a situation that is an anomaly you can then drill down into the event logs or even search through the second-by-second analysis of what has been recorded on the vehicle. This is what gives mining operators better visibility of the situation at hand”

These four dashboards allow for the following areas to be monitored in real-time:

  • Maintenance
  • Tire Pressure
  • Shift Start and End Times

Maintenance

Everyone knows that keeping up on a vehicle’s maintenance is key to the integrity of the machine itself. Many times miner maintenance issues are overlooked and end up resulting in costly repairs that also require days of downtime.

Now that Goldex vehicles are equipped with MET, mining operators and maintenance crews can now retroactively, and proactively look over logs of data to determine the cause of the machine failure. MET data can even allow crews the time to order new parts before the machine breaks down. This cuts down the time the vehicle is not able to be used. Goldex was looking for a solution that would help to bridge that gap, and in 2015, enlisted the help of Newtrax and began implementing Mobile Equipment Telemetry Solutions (MET). Over the last two years Goldex has seen improvements in their productivity and accurate maintenance predictions.

Tire Pressure Alarms

Goldex spent an average of $1.5 million a year on tires. 80% of those costs are spent on new tires because the old ones failed prematurely.

Premature tire failure is the result of low tire pressure. If the tire pressure falls below a certain level it can be scrapped in one work shift resulting in the need for a whole new set of tires. All work vehicles are equipped with tire pressure sensors, but unfortunately many of the vehicle operators turn a blind eye to this alarm.

In general, vehicle operators are paid by the weight of material they are able to extract. This means operators are not always the most concerned with refilling tire pressure if that is going to get in the way of them making money during their shift.  By adding an alarm to the dashboard, it creates a certain amount of accountability for workers and allows for mining operators to see who is and who isn’t taking proper action.

Shift Start and End Times

It takes time during each shift change for operators to gather their gear, go underground, get to their equipment, and start work. This process can also take time when it is at the end of a shift. By incorporating MET, mining operators are able to monitor how long each of these shift changes are taking and where they can shorten times to improve productivity.

Operator Practices Report

This shows standard driving practices of the vehicle operators. Speeding, rushed acceleration, harsh braking are all risky driving behaviors that will show up in the report. This report will also show if the vehicle had been hit or had any collisions. This is important data to have in the event of an accident in determining who is at fault.

Goldex has already seen the effects of this groundbreaking technology. The Goldex team recently experienced engine failure on one of their crucial vehicles. Newtrax was able to show members of the Goldex Maintenance team that there were events leading up to the breakdown that could have been prevented. By retroactively looking back, the Newtrax team was able to explain how to prevent other future engine failures from occurring. The Newtrax team was then able to create a new Maintenance Alarms through the dashboards that would enable the GoldEx team to better predict and prepare for unplanned vehicle downtime.

MET Solutions is paving the way for transparency in the underground mining industry. GoldEx is just now starting to see the benefits of this incredible technology, and through more data collection, and machine learning, this will inevitably continue to grow and become even more useful in boosting productivity.