Digging Deeper: Increasing mining equipment's efficiency
Mining industry uses approximately four percent of the world’s energy according to the International Energy Agency. This makes efficiency an important consideration for mining industry. This is true both at equipment level efficiency and site-level efficiency.
Mines use energy for tasks ranging from mobile machinery operation to ventilation. Meanwhile, heavy mobile mining equipment such as haul trucks, excavators and loaders use a considerable portion of a mine’s energy.
What is efficiency?
Let’s define efficiency as doing more with less. In other words, helping miners deliver the same amount of output with less input. In a mine site, increased efficiency could mean haul trucks deliver more with less fuel and energy. It could also mean mine operators able to oversee more equipment at once. Equipment and machine efficiency remain critical across types of mining.
Let’s look at two impactful ways the mining industry is increasing the equipment and machine efficiency.
No. 1: Data and analytics help to improve equipment efficiency and utilization
The first thing you notice walking into a mine’s operational center is the amount of information flowing through the large screens that wrap the walls. You might then notice how each team member is facing multiple monitors on their desks. These monitors display further information. There is a vast amount of information generated given the number of equipment in mines and all the sensors each equipment has. Operations team analyzes all this information to identify opportunities to improve mining equipment’s efficiency.
Technologies, such as PrevenTech Mining, help operations teams track and analyze information. This also includes driver efficiency and equipment utilization for each of the machines. These insights help mine operations teams become more efficient in their everyday tasks.
No. 2: Better fuel economy improves equipment efficiency and financials
Mine haul trucks are engineering marvels. Miners often rank them by their payload capacity, which goes up to 400 metric tons. This is approximately the same weight as 200 passenger cars combined. Beyond building bigger haul trucks, there is another way to have more efficient operations. It is to carry the same payload with less fuel consumption – less inputs for the same output.
A miner at Pilbara, Australia had the first-hand experience of efficiency gains through fuel savings. An upgrade in the fuel systems technology delivered a 5.5% reduction in fuel consumption. This meant both savings on fuel costs and gains in efficiency. Efficiency gains were a result of the equipment’s ability to haul the same load with less inputs, less fuel in this case.
Efficiency, whether at the mine site level or at the individual equipment or operator level, will continue to be a key lever for miners to improve their sustainable lowest cost of production," said Dana Miller, Digital and Service Solutions Director at Cummins.
"At Cummins, our investments to connectivity, big data, advanced analytics and internet-of-things (IoT) resulted in creation of PrevenTech, which helps miners improve efficiency pit to port."
Interested in additional mining perspectives? You might also like:
- Bringing together sustainable mining and the lowest cost of production
- Improving financial performance and reducing maintenance costs in mining
- Reducing machine downtime in mining
- Technologies behind sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact
- Path to increased mining equipment productivity
- Sustainable mining starts with energy innovations (Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify)
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