The ability to monitor payload accurately, reliably and at a moment in time so that it can improve productivity is very important. As each truckload has an ideal weight that minimises cost and maximises profit, trying to get as close to the target number is important for maximising the efficiency of the mine operation.
Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the target weight is not exceeded as overloading trucks can increase maintenance costs and run the risk of costly spillages on haul roads. In an effort to maximise truck usage, operations can implement a payload monitoring system to track material being loaded for hauling.
Despite the fact that it’s more difficult to maintain and more challenging to integrate, truck-based payload solutions continue to deliver productivity and maintenance improvements if implemented and managed correctly. Furthermore, Original Equipment Manufacturers recognized the importance of accurate payload monitoring and began equipping trucks with loadcells.
However, with the advancement of technology, other forms of payload monitoring have emerged, proving to be more efficient that truck-based payload solutions. Many mines are now opting for managing payload with sensor deployments on haulage units.
Real-time payload management at source involves managing payload on digging units rather than haulage vehicles. Both on-surface and underground, payload management at source has proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve efficiency and rapidly increase productivity for mines.
Digger-based payload-monitoring solutions
Digger-based payload-monitoring solutions manage payload in real-time on draglines, face-shovels; excavators and front-end-loaders at a point in the mining cycle when the digger operator can still effect improvements in performance. According to Ramjack technology solutions, implementing a shovel-based payload solution is guaranteed to improve operator performance, mine compliance, production, maintenance and safety.
Shovel-based payload monitoring is set to supersede traditional truck-based methods through the delivery of significant cost savings, more accurate data and ultimately, more consistent payloads in trucks.
According to MineWare founder and CEO Andrew Jessett, variations in operator performance and material properties remain a significant and costly issue for the mining industry. “Payload is essentially the load carried by a piece of equipment, in this instance, in the bucket of a shovel which is then dumped into the truck. The key to improving shovel productivity and reliability is to provide timely, accurate and clear data to all stakeholders in the shovel operation, ultimately resulting in more consistent loading practices. Shovel based payload systems can achieve this goal.
He further mentioned that traditional truck-based payload methods have inherent challenges such as truck sensor calibration, trucks lacking a weighing system altogether, and the length of time it takes for payload data to reach the operator. “These challenges can impact on the accuracy of the information and the usefulness of the data. Keeping a fleet of truck payload systems accurately calibrated is a challenge for any mine site,” he added.
In most underground mining operations, truck and LHD operators are unable to consistently load haulage trucks to nominal load capacity. The variables preventing consistent loading include the variation in the density of materials, rock size, and the differences between development and high-grade ore. Inconsistent loading means trucks only haul a fraction of what they have been designed for. Without real-time visibility, operators cannot take action to maximize the amount of material loaded into truck beds and they lack transparency in their hauling process.
The best strategy for improving overall equipment efficiency is to retrofit all Load-Haul-Dump (LHD) units with payload monitoring sensors tracked in real-time using a purpose-built Production Management System. Through the collection, monitoring, and analysis of data, operations management can achieve the transparency they need for the hauling process, have the ability to establish and enforce their hauling strategy (10-10-20), as well as ensure operators can meet their productivity targets and bonuses.