Why Measuring Loads Per Cycle is so Important in Underground Mining (PART 2)

Loads per cycle Sco

If read our previous blog post, Glencore Matagami mine has recently been able to observe some great productivity ROIs since using the Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry system.  This included:

  • a 5-6%  increase in Utilization on their ore haulage
  • a 4% increase in their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
  • a 5% increase in their Loads per Cycle

In this blog post we will explore Part 2 of the Q&A on the the topic of Loads per Cycle with one of our experts on the subject, Craig Banks, VP Canada-USA at Newtrax.

Q: What are the advantages of the Newtrax MET system?

A: You know the old saying you can’t manage what you can’t measure? The whole point of the Newtrax MET system deployed at Matagami as well as in other mines around the world is to collect measurable information and make it available for analysis and for management decision-making. Matagami has a wonderful set of reports and dashboards that are visible to their management team and soon to be on a TV screen so that they use them during the morning huddles. It facilitates communication at the end of the day. Whether we’re talking about the reports, the dashboard, the management layer, the analysis, it’s all about facilitating communication, understanding how your operations are going for real. It facilitates communication backed by data from the Newtrax system, and you can really take it to next level and make a meaningful change to a mining operation.

Q: What are some benefits a mine can see from Newtrax systems?

A: Case in point here was Matagami. They use both 45-tonne and 60-tonne trucks, which are impressively large trucks for underground mines. What we’ve achieved with the system that was deployed specifically with loads per cycle at Matagami was a 5% to 6% increase in loads per cycle. And you know what does that means? Well, that can mean extra several tons per cycle. And on a long, long cycle, like what they’re talking about at Matagami, that’s a massive improvement. We’re talking $3,000 per truck cycle, compared to a non-optimized payload.

Q: Are there any new sensor technologies on the horizon?

A: There’s an emerging payload system technology that we’re now using, and deploying in some cases, which uses sensors mounted on truck axles. When you load a haul truck, the axle does deflect even if it’s only a little bit. So what we’re doing is we’re putting sensors on the truck axles, and as the axles flex, ever so slightly, were able to record that and correlate the deflection of the axle back to the payload in the back of the truck. And of course, there’s some clever algorithms there to smooth out what happens as the truck driving goes up and down hitting rock. But what we’re able to do is use it as an alternative system. And what we’re finding is it’s an easier to install and easier to maintain system than the load cell plus pin, and it’s a relative newcomer. But you know, as this stage early indicators show that the results for accuracy and systems maintenance are very positive going forward.

Q: And what’s next for measuring loads per cycle?

A: Going forward to the future of measuring loads per cycle will be to offer different calibration systems, different payload systems, technology-wise, but also make all that data available to facilitate communication. The same way we’re doing it today but with additional types of technology and deployment on these vehicles. The whole goal here is whenever the technology is taking the measurement, make that data available, make sure it’s as rich as possible—because the richer the data, the more analysis you can do. We of course can’t ignore the emergence of Machine Learning and AI,  that need really good data to work. And that’s what we’re generating here for companies like Matagami.