Mines are drowning in data, but starving for information. The systems used in modern mining generate enormous volumes of facts and figures about daily operations, but they can prove troublesome to analyze.

Fortunately, business intelligence platforms like Avoca Mining BI have the ability to take that data and transform it into actionable insights miners can use to extract unrealized value. The following use cases show real-world examples of the ways mines use Avoca to boost productivity, decrease operating costs, improve safety, and enhance all-around mine performance.

Case #1: Identifying Equipment Speed Issues

Equipment speed is a major concern for mines. If operators travel too slowly, it can lower the site's production output. Yet, trucks that travel too fast create safety hazards or cause costly maintenance issues. Ideally, mine trucks should travel at or under the site's speed limit, which is designed to take safety and reliability considerations into account. Avoca customers use the Equipment Speed dashboard to identify equipment and operators whose travel speeds fall outside the ideal range. Using data straight from fleet management system (FMS) event records, Avoca can plot equipment speeds over a map of the site. Users filter data by adjusting sliders to select individual mines, dates, and equipment types. Zooming in shows users which equipment units and operators are behind each speed record. In this way, it's easy for mines to identify slow-moving operators or lead-foots who need more training. Exploring areas with significant speed changes can also highlight road problems that cause excessive brake wear or potential safety hazards. Site engineers can then send road crews to resolve these issues they previously never knew existed.

Case #2: Analyzing Payloads for Stronger Compliance

Like equipment speed, mines pay a lot of attention to the weight of their payloads. Loads that are too light waste valuable space in each truck, reducing the efficiency of hauling. But, loads that are too heavy put equipment in jeopardy, causing excessive strain on machine parts and potentially voiding warranties. Mines use the Avoca Payload Analysis dashboard to compare each unit's payload with its target weight. As with Equipment Speed, filters at the right side of the screen allow users to adjust the parameters so they only see issues of real concern.

The histogram at the top shows haul cycles and the relative weight of their payloads; any payloads within range show in green. The trend chart at the right makes it easy to see if payload weights versus targets are improving or not. The charts at the bottom show a breakdown of payloads vs. targets for several influencing factors (such as operator, equipment, material, etc.)Mine managers can interact with this data in Avoca, but even a simple monthly payload report gives them enough information to identify specific operators who may need additional training or equipment models with mechanical problems. Solving this fundamental issue can produce big returns. Improving payload compliance by even a few percentage points can increase mine productivity by hundreds of thousands of tons each year.

Case #3: Improving Operator Performance

Using the Haul Cycle Variability dashboard, mines can easily identify the variability in haul cycles for each equipment operator. While each haul cycle takes a different amount of time, Avoca can determine the overall average duration of haul cycles for any given shift. Then, it plots each individual operator over that average to show who tends to complete haul cycles in a regular fashion — and who takes wildly different times for each run.

Like speeding, mines want operators to complete each haul cycle as close to the average as possible. Wide variation suggests that operators are either speeding or taking the scenic route — neither of which supports a predictable, efficient operation. This dashboard shows which operators set the benchmark for good hauling and which ones need further training to help them stay the course. Maules Creek Coal in Australia used this report rigorously over a 12-month period to drive improvements in haul cycle variability. As this baseline report shows, operator haul cycles became much more uniform after configuration of this report. Furthermore, much of the variability came from new or underperforming operators. Not only did managing their hauling performance lead to more consistent production, but to higher average performance overall.

Case #4: Preventing Downtime from Hard Braking

Hard braking can cause big problems for mines, wearing out service brakes more quickly than necessary (and forcing trucks into the shop along with them).

Pulling data from predictive maintenance systems and FMS, Avoca can help mines determine users or locations prone to sudden braking. By placing geospatial positions of hard braking events over a map of the mine site, Avoca users can easily detect areas that spur operators to grind to a halt. Then, they can use this information to figure out the cause of this behaviour — perhaps an overly steep ramp or a section of road in need of grading. Avoca can also sort hard braking events by operator, highlighting site staff who need to drive more cautiously. In either case, this feature can help mines conserve millions of dollars in unnecessary repairs and downtime. All of these cases give practical applications of Avoca Mining BI, demonstrating how mines are putting its actionable intelligence to use. But, there are still countless other ways to use a business intelligence platform for mining:

  • Optimize loading based on shovel operator (or truck model)
  • Connect tire life to truck operator
  • Link machine part failures to geospatial events (and use that info to predict upcoming failures)

Really, the opportunities for using data to extract value from mining are endless. Interested in learning more about the way mines use Avoca? Watch Murray O'Keefe from Maules Creek Coal discuss his experience in this video of our recent webinar, Unlocking Hidden Value in Mine Operations Data. For more information about Avoca or any Wenco solution, please contact us at info@wencomine.com or 604-270-8277.