MINING SOFTWARE SYSTEM /MATHEMATICAL OR ENGINEERING MODULE OPTIMIZES MINE OPERATION, SAFETY AND ENHANCES OVERALL COST-EFFECTIVENESS & PRODUCTIVITY
Mining operations require careful planning over multiple time horizons, regular feedback on operational performance, and close interaction between multiple departments. When an efficient and field-proven system is used, there are maximum chances, mines should be able to enhance productivity, safety and equipment availability / utilization that results in overall cost-effectiveness in the operation. Identifying operational problems and solution is the key in the process of optimization of any highly mechanised / high production mining operation – some are discussed below:
A. COMMON OPTIMIZATION PROBLEMS – TAKES CARE BY SOPHISTICATED MINING SOFTWARE SYSTEM:
* Truck queuing – Excessive Truck queuing results in decreased productivity and increased fuel consumption. Effective Engineering model provides proven optimization of truck assignments in real time, minimizing truck queuing at loading and dumping locations.
* Shovel / Excavator hang time – Every minuet a shovel or excavator is not loading truck is wasted time and money. Proper mathematical model accounts for number of trucks at each excavator, automatically assigning trucks and reducing hang time.
* Unrealised plant capacity and / or poor blends – Incorrect head-feed grade can result in decreased efficiency of plant equipment and may lead to damage of equipment as well. Effective mathematical system maximises production and at the same time, honouring material blend constraints.
* Inefficient Shift change – Inefficient operator changes keep equipment out of service and sacrifice productivity.
* Unnecessary travel time – Unnecessary travel results in wasted fuel and operator time, while causing needless wear and tear on equipment. By calculating the best path between start and end points and with proper guidance system unnecessary travel time can be eliminated.
* Mining sequence delays – When steps in a mining process occur out of order, operational delays may accumulate. An effective Engineering model proactively manages and schedule equipment and personnel.
* Misdirected loads – Sending ore to waste dump is literally throwing money away. In the similar manner, when waste is dumped in a crusher can cause costly downtime and disrupt blend quality. An effective system continuously reconcile mine material grade.
* Uneven benches – Uneven benches require substantial auxiliary equipment rework to avoid damage to haul equipments. Continuous monitoring of track elevation is required to prevent such damages.
* Improper Blast Design – Blast design must be specific to material hardness to avoid waste of explosives and improper fragmentation. Effective system optimizes blast design. Real time machine guidance ensures operators drill according to plan.
B. COMMON ASSET-HEALTH PROBLEM – EFFECTIVE SYSTEM VERY IMPORTANT TOOL FOR ENHANCEMENT OF COST EFFECTIVENESS & PRODUCTIVITY
* Inefficient handover between Mining and Maintenance Department – Poor communication between teams and shifts can increase unnecessary downtime of equipments. Updating maintenance and operating departments with real-time equipment status ensures that equipment failures are addressed promptly and repaired equipments are quickly returned to service.
* Unscheduled downtime – Unscheduled downtime causes loss of productivity and increases cost. By shifting unscheduled downtime to scheduled downtime, operational impact is minimized and production goals are more likely to be achieved.
* Premature Tyre failure – The failure results in unscheduled downtime, increasing operational cost of tyre replacement as well as loss of productivity during repair. The ability to predict and prevent tyre problems in real time leads to substantial cost saving and improved equipment availability.
* Fuel inefficiency – Fuel costs are one of the highest consumable expenditure at any mine. By proactively improving overall equipment health and by assigning underperforming equipment to a optimum location, fleet fuel efficiency is maximised.
* Decreased suspension life – Rough haulage road takes a toll on suspension system, resulting in excessive downtime and increased maintenance costs. Real-time suspension monitoring provides instantaneous notification of poor road condition, allowing support equipment to be efficiently dispatch for road repair.
* Catastrophic preventable failure – Most major failures can be prevented if minor failures are identified early. Historical analysis of major reveals early indicators that can be used to configure predictive trends for an entire equipment fleet. Once configured, these trends issue alarms that a major failure is imminent, giving maintenance engineers time to plan for maintenance before its too late.
* Improper operation of equipment – Equipment abuse leads to lost productivity and excessive downtime for repairs by identifying specific incidents, operators training opportunities are identified, optimizing productivity and rectifying inappropriate operator actions that lead to equipment failure.
* Repetitive component failure – Repetitive component failures are costly and highly preventable. Calculating downtime by components and addressing those that are high risk, allows for major cost saving opportunities. Eliminating repetitive component failure is a critical step towards Reliability-centered Management (RCM).
* Reduced equipment life-cycle – Sub-optimal maintenance practices ultimately lead to reduced equipment life. Real-time and historical data acquired from the system enable actions that maximize the life of components and equipments resulting in lower cost/tonne.
C. COMMON SAFETY PROBLEMS – MINIMIZES BY THE SYSTEM:
* Inadequate equipment inspection – Loss of mandatory safety inspection records can have serious consequences. An engineering model check list module helps maintain regulatory compliance and coordinate equipment upkeep.
* Operator alertness – Repetitive work coupled with long hours – especially on night shift – can lead to dangerous operator fatigue. Effective system manages their alertness level.
* Excessive speed – Excessive speed not only endangers personnel but causes damage to equipments. Engineering module detects speed violations and issues automated alarm to operator and supervisors, supporting a culture of safe, efficient equipment operation.
* Operator Awareness – Constantly changing mine site condition as well as operator inexperience, lead to misrouted equipment and even accidents. Effective Mining software / Engineering module helps equipment operators navigate to their destination via the fastest route despite inexperience, limited visibility or frequently changing road network.
* Equipment collisions – A collision between equipments can injure operator and seriously impact operation. Using proximity detection software proactively reminds operators to maintain a minimum safe distance.
* Blind spots – One of the biggest challenges faced by large mining equipment operator is poor visibility. On-board camera integration with proper software overcomes blind spots, improve spotting confidence and reduces low speed collision.
* Unknown hazards – Operating around physical hazards such as Misfired blast holes, power lines, steep walls, unstable beams and underground workings can be dangerous for operation. By notifying operators of approaching hazards by applying alarm based on the proximity hazard detection functionality mitigates theses risks.
* Equipment failure – Many equipment failures presents serious safety risks to operators, such as suspension, tyre and braking systems. By proactively identifying impending failures, equipments can be repaired before injury to personnel occurs.
* Prolonged Blast clearing – Clearing an area of light vehicles prior to blasting can cause extensive wait time for personnel and equipments. Software system with road maps allows quickly locating and identifying which light vehicles are in the evacuation zone, enhancing safety and operational delay.
* Unauthorised access to restricted areas – Serious injury can occur when employees, contractors or visitors enter restricted areas. To check the unauthorised access, modern software (Role-based personnel management) can help to a great extent.