Tag Archives: underground mining

AI helping underground mines

AI Myths in Mining

AI in Mining: Myths and Facts

AI helping underground mines

Can Artificial Intelligence be applied in the underground mining sector? Or is it a myth?

Maybe because it’s so new, and for so long has been in the realm of science-fiction, but Artificial Intelligence is surrounded by a number of myths. So too is Machine Learning, AI’s little sibling.  

But it shouldn’t be the realm of myth. AI may seem intimidating, but it won’t take over your mine. In the contrary, efficiency is what AI and ML target so that operations are optimized.

To help bust some of those myths, we’ve put together a guide to address some of what you may have heard about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and where reality truly exists. 

Myth: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence require huge investments only big corporations can make.

Fact: In underground hard rock mines, it’s easy to pick up quick wins on small projects. AI can do things as simple as sifting through the maintenance data you already have to help predict when haulage trucks will break down. 

Myth: AI and ML will replace all the people in your operation with algorithms

Fact: The technology doesn’t replace people at all. What it does is enhance workers’ ability to do their jobs with better information. Read our blog about ML algorithms do just that! 

AI improving Underground Hard Rock Mining operations

Myth: Working with AI is like working with a sentient person.

Fact: AI and ML algorithms are far, far away from human-like consciousness. There are ways in which algorithms are able to mimic some particular, narrow functions of the human brain. For example, they can play and learn to excel at games like chess or GO. But an algorithm designed for chess is never going to be able to have a conversation with you, and a conversational robot isn’t going to play chess. AI-driven technologies are designed to perform specialized tasks. And even if they can sound human, and can learn certain human thinking patterns, they aren’t nearly at the stage of full blown sentience.  

Myth: Machine Learning can work with any quality of data without problems.

Fact: While ML algorithms can work well with data that includes a lot of noise, there is a limit. If data is of poor quality, no matter how sophisticated the algorithm, it can’t be used. You can have mountains of data that is missing key information. Consider a mountain of data from a fleet of trucks, but the data is missing a timestamp—so the algorithm doesn’t know what day or time the data is from. Or maybe the data doesn’t identify what sensor it’s from—is it transmission temperature, or tire pressure? Automatically collected data by machines also tends to be more reliable than data manually entered by humans, particularly if it’s been over a long period. 

Myth: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are dangerous.

Fact: Like any other piece of technology, AI is fallible. When using AI—or any technology—you should do so with a healthy skepticism. It’s important to counter-verify anything output from an AI or ML system. Like with any other new technology, you should make sure there is a person in the loop of the system. Not only will you prevent errors, but you will enhance that person’s ability to do their job. It has the added benefit of removing the repetitive, perhaps boring, tasks from many jobs, leaving the more interesting, in-depth analytical tasks for the user. 

Myth: Machine Learning is perfectly objective.

Fact: There are many ways bias can find its way into Machine Learning. Classic ML techniques rely on the engineering that created them. And the biases of the people that built those algorithms can shape and bias the system’s output. On the Deep Learning side of ML, data is given to the algorithm in the rawest possible form. In that case, the system can only be as objective as the data it is given. Any information given to an ML system by a person is subject to the biases of that person. The algorithms learn from what they are given. 

CIM addressed the power and pitfalls of predictive algorithms applied to mining last year through this article – an interesting read for more perspective.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Help Underground Mines Improve

Artificial Intelligence is the Next Frontier of Improving Underground Mining Operations

Artificial Intelligence is the Next Frontier of Improving Underground Mining Operations

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Help Underground Mines Improve

What is Artificial Intelligence to Mining?

Artificial intelligence IS the next frontier of improving underground mining operations. But, we’re not talking about turning your mine into a hive of drones. This isn’t about upending your operations. Machine learning (ML) algorithms pull out patterns in data collected around your mine and fleet to predict problems before they occur. This vastly improves the efficiency of your mine.

"What machine learning algorithms do is pull out patterns in data collected... to help predict problems before they occur..."

At Agnico Eagle’s Goldex Mine near Val d’Or, Que., they’re saving on maintenance costs for the engines of their haulage trucks. This is thanks to the predictive analysis made using their historical data collected by Newtrax and applied to ML algorithms.

The maintenance team at Goldex discovered that their truck engines were sometimes failing, a lot earlier than expected. The team had suspicions on what was causing the problem and were alerted by the Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system. This provided them with a good indication. However, by using ML, we were able to sift through the data collected from the truck’s engine sensors far more quickly. We were able to pick out the patterns of what was happening with confidence resulting in faster time to action.

“[Newtrax] developed a system that enables us to predict issues at least two weeks in advance, even before the alarms, so we can intervene before we incur problems that break our engines,” Agnico's Daniel Pinard says.

Rather than spending $100,000 to replace an engine, they only had to spend about a quarter of that to make the necessary repairs. And at the same time were able to leave the truck in production, where it moves about 500 tonnes of material a shift.

This is what AI is all about. Finding small, manageable solutions that save costs and optimize processes.. Newtrax combined its in-house advanced ML expertise with the client’s data to achieve quick wins.

Read our previous article on how AI also improves Safety, Productivity and Profitability.

Machine Learning Intern explains ML algorithm in meeting on whiteboard for Underground mining

Newtrax AI Intern Léo Boisvert explains an algorithm to team members.

"It's not just engine failures that machine learning algorithms can predict in advance, it can see failure in smaller components, too."

It’s not just engine failures that machine learning algorithms can predict in advance! ML can see failure patterns in smaller components, too. Take batteries, as an example. Typically during normal usage, a battery puts out a precise voltage that holds steady for its entire life. But as a battery ages, and approaches failure, subtle variations start to appear.

Newtrax engineer Louis-Pierre Campeau saw the algorithm was picking up a change in the output. When he looked at it, and said, “Well, it’s 26.7 Volts, and it was 26.7 before so it’s okay.” But the algorithm was saying there was a problem.

“Then looking deeper, the average was 26.752, and afterward it was 26.716,” Campeau says. “It’s a very small change you just couldn’t pick up by looking at it.”

"This is the REAL power of machine learning. A single person isn't able to look at all the data... but an algorithm can..."

This is what he says is the real power of machine learning. A single person isn’t able to look at all the data for the different measurements given off by a fleet of vehicles. But an algorithm can, and it’s able to draw connections of things a person isn’t likely to even see as related.

“Sometimes there are too many factors put together that you can’t really look at as a whole,” Campeau says. “If one measure goes up while another goes down, at this average and the temperature is going down. There’s a certain limit of information you can process out simultaneously.”

"Newtrax has a large collection of anonymized data..."

What Newtrax brings is a focus on underground mining. You won’t be a client with a company that’s adapting their algorithms for the train yard to fit the underground environment. Newtrax has a large collection of anonymized data from our client base of underground mining companies. We’re able to draw on right from the start, Campeau says.

“Each mine is part of the large pool of clients we have, and can use all of these insights we get from our previous experience to apply it right away,” he says. “Rather than having to figure out everything from scratch.”

"You may not have seen your LHD's in every possible situation, but there's a good chance we have, and can pull patterns from it right when we start."

We’re able to draw on a large database collected from a number of different mines, that gives us a huge wealth of real-world data to train our algorithms. You may not have seen your LHD’s in every possible situation, but there’s a good chance we have, and can pull patterns from it right when we start.

We recommend reading ‘Live to learn – The Future of Mining Innovation’ by Mining Magazine to further explore the value of AI and Machine Learning.

For more information on Newtrax successes at Goldex, you can read this case study:

Newtrax Joins Sandvik Group in Strategic Acquisition

Newtrax Joins Sandvik Group in Strategic Acquisition

MontrealQuebec – June 17 2019 — Newtrax Technologies Inc. (‘Newtrax’) – the leading provider of safety and productivity systems for underground hard rock mines – has been acquired by Sandvik to be run as an independent business unit within the Rock Drills and Technologies division of the Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business area.  

Newtrax is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, where the company generated revenues of approximately 26 million CAD with 120 employees in 2018 

The combined expertise of Sandvik and Newtrax will create the most powerful, streamlined digital solution to improve safety and efficiency for underground hard rock mines with: 

  • Newtrax’s leading technology in wireless IoT connectivity 
  • Sandvik’s leading suite of digital tools for analyzing and optimizing mining production and processes, including OptiMine® and My Sandvik. 

“By including Newtrax into the Sandvik family, we further strengthen our leading position in areas related to automation and digitalization,” says Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. 

Founded in 2009, Newtrax started as a university project led by Alexandre Cervinka, Founder and CEO, with Co-Founder Vincent Kassis. In 2014, Newtrax received a major investment from Jolimont Global Mining System, an Australian private equity investor in high growth mining equipment, technology and services. 

Since acquiring the mining division of ISAAC Instruments in Q4 of 2016, Newtrax has reinforced its position as the world leader in vehicle telemetry systems for underground hard rock mines.  

Newtrax will operate as an independent business unit committed to having an open architecture and will continue to interface with other vendors in the mining digital ecosystem. 

“By joining Sandvik Group, we can now confidently say that we have the world’s leading digitalization solution for underground mining customers,” said Alexandre Cervinka, President of Newtrax. 

Newtrax is very happy to announce that sandvik intends to acquire Newtrax Technologies in Q2.

Newtrax Joins Sandvik in Strategic Acquisition to Offer Most Comprehensive Digital Solutions for Underground Mining

Newtrax Joins Sandvik in Strategic Acquisition to Offer Most Comprehensive Digital Solutions for Underground Mining

Newtrax is very happy to announce that sandvik intends to acquire Newtrax Technologies in Q2.

We are very excited to announce that Sandvik intends to acquire Newtrax , the global leading supplier of equipment and tools for the mining industry.

The combined expertise of Sandvik and Newtrax will create the most powerful, streamlined digital solution to improve safety and efficiency for underground hard rock mines with:

  • Newtrax’s leading technology in wireless IoT connectivity
  • Sandvik’s leading suite of digital tools for analyzing and optimizing mining production and processes including OptiMine® and My Sandvik.

“Together, Newtrax and Sandvik provide a seamless offering that is OEM and network independent,” said Alexandre Cervinka, President of Newtrax. “With Newtrax as the “nervous system” and Sandvik OptiMine® as the “brain” of the mine,” this is the most comprehensive digital offering for underground mining.

“With Newtrax joining us, we have a world-leading solution for our underground mining customers,” said Patrick Murphy, President of Sandvik Rock Drills & Technologies Division.

The combined offering of Newtrax and Sandvik OptiMine® will include:

  • Telemetry for all equipment brands
  • Personnel tracking and safety
  • Environmental monitoring and control

Newtrax will be joining Sandvik as a Standalone Business Unit (BU) within Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s Rock Drills & Technologies division and will continue to operate as it does today.

Newtrax will operate as an independent business unit that is committed to having an open architecture and will continue to interface with other vendors in the mining digital ecosystem.

The transaction is expected to close Q2 2019.

Alexandre Cervinka CEO Newtrax

Conquering the world from deep down underground mines

LaPresse Interviews Newtrax CEO Alexandre Cervinka

Alexandre Cervinka CEO Newtrax

Conquering the world from deep down underground mines

For the original article in French click here.

There are 719 underground mines in operation around the globe, and Newtrax, a Montreal-based technology company founded in 2008, has implemented its safety and productivity solutions in 98 of them.

The goal is to be present is 400 of these mines in the next 3 years. Newtrax ranked 166th among the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in North America last year, according to Deloitte’s Fast 500, and its CEO has no plans to slow down this growth.

Over the years, Quebec has acquired real expertise in the mining sector. Is that why you decided to develop technologies specific to this field of activity? Did you have any prior geology knowledge?

Not at all. In 2001, I was a graduate in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and, with a few colleagues, started a business that used wireless sensor networks to recover stolen merchandise. Then, we developed a technology for the transport of goods and another for border surveillance. We developed projects, but not products.

Eventually, a professor from the University of Quebec in Abitibi suggested we apply our technologies to the mining sector. In 2008, we developed solutions that made it possible to better monitor the work that was being done in the heart of the mine, where telecommunications are impossible.

Our first order from a mining company in Chile, and that’s how Newtrax was born.

What kind of innovation did you bring to this industry that had previously operated in a rather traditional and archaic way?

The managers did not know what was going on in the mine in real time. They would be given a report when the workers came out after their shift. That’s all. They had no idea what was happening with the machines, with the workers, or with the environment in which people operated. We brought them the light, nothing less.

Systems have been developed to evaluate ground stability, air quality and water levels in real time using sensors that are installed in the underground mine. We have also developed sensors that measure the health and parameters of machines, to know the distance drilled, the tonnage moved by the trucks.

Workers have been equipped with a chip that allows them to be located wherever they are in the mine and to be detected in blind spots by large mobile equipment.

Mine managers are given solutions that allow them to better plan the maintenance of their equipment, increase the productivity of their operations while ensuring worker safety.

Your solutions have been well received by the major mining companies, as evidenced by the sharp increase in your revenues over the past year. Where are you in your development?

In 2008, we were eight employees, including the two founders, Vincent Kassis and myself. We got our first big contract with Mexican producer Fresnillo, the biggest money producer in the world, and since then, business has never stopped growing.

We have reached 140 employees, 75 of whom work at our Montreal head office to develop our existing and new technology solutions. Our systems are being assembled by three companies in the Montreal region, and onsite installation and training are being carried out in underground mines. We plan to hire 40 people this year, half of them in Montreal and the other half in our six offices in Santiago, London, Johannesburg, Moscow and Perth.

Our customers are the major producers of gold, silver, and nickel from around the world. These companies are concerned about their productivity and the safety of their operations. Our systems are installed in 98 underground mines and we expect to be present in 400 mines within three years, especially because we have just signed an agreement with Sandvik, the world’s largest manufacturer of underground mining equipment.

Sandvik is present in the 719 operating mines and we plan on becoming the nervous system of its machines. It opens up incredible opportunities. Our sales are expected to reach $ 100 million over the next three years.

How do you finance your growth? Have you opened your capital to financial groups?

We financed our growth from the sales that we made. We also received a good boost from investor Robert Brouillette, founder of the law firm BCF and recognized Angel Investor, who still accompanies us today.

A new shareholder was welcomed in 2014, when Australian mining fund Resource Capital Funds launched a mining technology fund that took a 30% stake in Newtrax.

What will be the next step in terms of growth at Newtrax?

We are already in it. Our technology solutions generate a lot of data and we will generate even more because of our association with Sandvik and its visualization platform. We have also partnered with the IVADO to develop machine learning solutions for our clients worldwide.

We have our foot in the door. We aren’t focused on generating revenue in the AI / Machine Learning sector but we are convinced that AI will further advance intelligent mining solutions for the future.

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

“Based on our benchmarking, we observe a global average overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance of 27 percent for underground mining, 39 percent for open-pit mining… compared with 92 percent for oil refining”

-McKinsey Global Institute 2016

The term “Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)” draws its origin from the manufacturing industry, and its significance to the underground mining industry is easily transferable.

Measuring Overall Equipment Efficiency for underground mining equipment is becoming best practice in benchmarking progress, identifying losses, and improving the productivity of a fleet.

Most underground mines in the process of digitalizing their operation face similar challenges:

  •     Having a multi-OEM mix of mobile equipment; producing  unstandardized data
  •     The inability to collect real-time data from all the faces, including development faces
  •     Having data, but not knowing how to transform the information into actionable solutions

Newtrax has developed an array of OEE solutions to address these challenges.

The following highlight some of Newtrax OEE successes:

OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Improved Hauling Efficiency: Case Study

A mining operation with a mixed fleet of mobile trucks, including CAT AD30s and Atlas MT436s, was looking for a solution to establish standardized payload monitoring systems.

Newtrax installed its Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system, which interfaced with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)’s existing sensor network. Newtrax also installed an availability switch, onboard payload scales, and an external/internal payload scoreboard. The payload information was retrofitted to display on the OEM’s load cells.

Four trucks were monitored closely for an eight week period with the approach to Measure, Manage, and Improve using the traditional OEE calculation.

OEE = Availability(A)% x Utilization(U)% x Haulage Efficiency(Q)%

After the eight week period of data collection and observation, it was reported that Availability Time (A) was 93% and the Utilization Time (U) was 52% of the mine’s standard production time calendar. Analysis of the equipment’s payload data over the same time period showed a Haulage Efficiency (Q) of 64% with 19.4 tons out of 30 tons capacity.

These passively measured data points showed the operations OEE being 31%.

Using the information collected, the haulage efficiency data point became a key area of focus in improving efficiencies within the workflow.

SOLUTION:

To improve truck effectiveness, Newtrax proposed an increase to the dumper bed wall height to accommodate extra buckets, as well as digital scoreboards on the trucks’ cab for LHD, and an alarm system on each truck to initiate an overloading situation warning.

Conclusion

  • You can’t improve what you can’t measure
  • Technology is available to overcome stumbling blocks, and enable the management of mixed equipment fleets, through the use of timely data from active areas
  • Offering actionable insight to both mine managers and operators will deliver significant value in a short period of time
  • Improved haulage efficiency will ensure UG mining effectiveness is increased above 27%
Loads per cycle Sco

Why Measuring Loads Per Cycle is so Important in Underground Mining Part 2

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.

Why Measuring Loads Per Cycle is so Important in Underground Mining Part 1

Why Measuring Loads Per Cycle is so Important in Underground Mining

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 dive deeper into the topic of Loads per Cycle by sharing a Q&A with one of our experts on the subject, Craig Banks, VP Canada-USA at Newtrax.

Q: What are loads per cycle?

A: Put plainly, loads per cycle is a measure of haul truck efficiency. Or at least that’s how it’s used in underground mines. In terms of recent Newtrax client engagement such as Matagami, loads per cycle is average payload, literally the weight of the rock carried in a haul truck during one trip from the active mining area to a stockpile, or to a waste dump. This is most often measured in tonnes, and it has a variant which can be either represented by actual tonnes or a percentage.

Q: At a mine, how do you measure loads per cycle?

A: There are several ways to do it. One method that’s commonly used in surface mines is to have a truck scale at static locations in the mine, somewhat like a truck scale on the side of a highway that measures the weight of a loaded truck. In mining, principally in surface mine where a loaded truck would drive up onto a scale, you would weigh the entire thing. Knowing the approximate weight of a truck, you can actually figure out what the resulting payload is. So that’s kind of the way it’s been done for a long time, there’s a few limitations with that type of system.

Q: What are those limitations, is there a better time to measure the load?

A: Traditionally, systems give you a payload per cycle, or a load per cycle, but it’s measured during the cycle. So a truck that has a 45-tonne capacity might have 42 tonnes in its bed. Knowing that is great, but you can’t do anything about it. Because it’s measured halfway through the cycle, you can’t add material to the truck. Having the measurement at the loading stage, which is what Newtrax has done at Matagami, enables the operators to do something about it.

Q: What can be done with all this data?

A: Having all these rich sets of data allows companies like Newtrax to apply machine learning algorithms to build intelligence down the road. So, your mine planning engineers would look at that information and say, “Well, in the future, we need to plan better” or “In the future, this operator needs to be trained to do it differently.” That’s kind of the historical and the analytical end of it. But by recording data the way we do it, not only do you make it available for a rich data set for analysis, but you also make it available to operators, even real or near real time so that they can actually do something about it. And in underground mines, the supervisor isn’t sitting there watching. You’re lucky if the supervisor sees the operator once a day. So the decisions need to happen with the operator, where they can see what’s going on and intervene. It’s both an analytics tool so you can do your planning better and it’s a production tool.

Q: At Matagami, Newtrax has installed scoreboards on the trucks. What are the benefits of these scoreboards?

A: It’s funny in that we get either lovers or haters immediately and we always convert them over because scoreboards are awesome. But the truth is, payload systems have had in-dash scoreboards for quite some time on surface mines but they’re not always used well. If you just have it shown to the truck driver, you kind of have to go back to who’s in charge of the loading event: is it the truck driver or is it the loader operator? Frequently most of the time it’s the loader operator. And so if the information is visible only to the truck driver, probably nobody’s going to do anything about it. The idea of putting the scoreboard on the side of the truck is it facilitates communication between the two operators; it makes it so that as a loader operator is putting the payload in the back of the truck, you’re seeing in real time what that payload looks like. And so if you get the third bucket in the back of the truck and you happen to load lower density material than usual, you might have a little bit more space, maybe there’s an opportunity to do something about it. The loader operator and the truck driver looking at the same information are forced to have a conversation. So the first thing they do is they get on the radio and say “Hey, look, hang on a sec, I might be able to squeeze a little bit more in there.” And they do.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this Q&A coming out shortly!

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness in Underground Mines with Newtrax

“Based on our benchmarking, we observe a global average overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance of 27 percent for underground mining, 39 percent for open-pit mining… compared with 92 percent for oil refining”

-McKinsey Global Institute 2016

The term “Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)” draws its origin from the manufacturing industry, and its significance to the underground mining industry is easily transferable.

Measuring Overall Equipment Efficiency for underground mining equipment is becoming best practice in benchmarking progress, identifying losses, and improving the productivity of a fleet.

Most underground mines in the process of digitalizing their operation face similar challenges:

  •     Having a multi-OEM mix of mobile equipment; producing  unstandardized data
  •     The inability to collect real-time data from all the faces, including development faces
  •     Having data, but not knowing how to transform the information into actionable solutions

Newtrax has developed an array of OEE solutions to address these challenges.

The following highlight some of Newtrax OEE successes:

OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Improved Hauling Efficiency: Case Study

A mining operation with a mixed fleet of mobile trucks, including CAT AD30s and Atlas MT436s, was looking for a solution to establish standardized payload monitoring systems.

Newtrax installed its Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system, which interfaced with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)’s existing sensor network. Newtrax also installed an availability switch, onboard payload scales, and an external/internal payload scoreboard. The payload information was retrofitted to display on the OEM’s load cells.

Four trucks were monitored closely for an eight week period with the approach to Measure, Manage, and Improve using the traditional OEE calculation.

OEE = Availability(A)% x Utilization(U)% x Haulage Efficiency(Q)%

After the eight week period of data collection and observation, it was reported that Availability Time (A) was 93% and the Utilization Time (U) was 52% of the mine’s standard production time calendar. Analysis of the equipment’s payload data over the same time period showed a Haulage Efficiency (Q) of 64% with 19.4 tons out of 30 tons capacity.

These passively measured data points showed the operations OEE being 31%.

Using the information collected, the haulage efficiency data point became a key area of focus in improving efficiencies within the workflow.

SOLUTION:

To improve truck effectiveness, Newtrax proposed an increase to the dumper bed wall height to accommodate extra buckets, as well as digital scoreboards on the trucks’ cab for LHD, and an alarm system on each truck to initiate an overloading situation warning.

Conclusion

  • You can’t improve what you can’t measure
  • Technology is available to overcome stumbling blocks, and enable the management of mixed equipment fleets, through the use of timely data from active areas
  • Offering actionable insight to both mine managers and operators will deliver significant value in a short period of time
  • Improved haulage efficiency will ensure UG mining effectiveness is increased above 27%
INDABA, Newtrax, Cape Town, Mining

Join Newtrax at the Mining INDABA in Cape Town February 4-7

Join Newtrax at the Mining INDABA in Cape Town February 4-7

INDABA, Newtrax, Cape Town, Mining

Newtrax is attending the 25th Anniversary Mining INDABA in Cape Town from Monday, February 4th to Thursday, February 7th, 2019.

With the world’s largest gathering of the most influential stakeholders in African mining, we are looking forward to talking about the future of digitalization with our peers. Newtrax’s Luke Clements (VP Africa) and Trent Jackson (APAC Sales Manager) will be in attendance and welcome the opportunity to meet with customers and prospects.

If you’re interested in how Newtrax can help in your mines digitalization, please contact lclements@newtrax.com to schedule a meeting.