A titan of industry: Load control precision

The use of data collection and analysis tools is a key technological trend in the mining industry for finding new ways to improve productivity.

New leaps forward in pro­gramming have allowed developers to create systems for collecting information that make it easier to present huge amounts of data in the form of meaningful statistics and visual aids.

Although it’s already been released for over a year, the Titan 3330 Production Monitor from LC Products is still a new concept, and is now more important than ever in an economic climate in which we shave down the costs and strive for even marginal increases in production output.

Titan 3330 is a hydraulic excavator and shovel production monitoring and logging system, which presents data in easily readable, statistical and graphic forms, both to the operator and to onsite control rooms. The key to the technology lies in showing the plant operator, whether they’re driving an excavator or shovel, precisely how much payload is in the bucket at any one time.

Using a graphic interface in the cabin, the operator can see how many tonnes of material they are dumping into the truck, and how much they need to finish the load.

Until now the payload has only been measurable in the dump truck, but the Titan system is able to weigh the material far more accurately in the bucket, which gives operators the information as they work, and completely prevents unnecessary overloading which would result in the truck having to be dumped and refilled.

The system, when monitored by the operator correctly, can completely eliminate truckloads overfilled to 120 per cent, and reduces the number of 110 per cent overfills.

Plant installed with the Titan system can have up to 95 per cent of truck loads weighed with accuracy within 3 per cent of the actual payload weight.

Results of studies by LC Products have shown a productivity gain of 7 per cent over 40 truckloads, and average gains of 4 per cent over a full shift, or around 120 truckloads.

Consisting of pressure sensors attached to the machine hydraulics, the Titan system can be installed during downtime, saving any need for installation to cut into production time.

The retrofit usually takes around three shifts to complete, with costs starting around $150,000 depending on the type of machine. However, LC Products’ main reason for development of the Titan sys-tem was to measure fatigue stress on the actual machine.

The pressure sensors can measure the degree of stress place on steel components of an excavator or shovel, and relay that information to the cabin or supervisor’s station in real time. Any differences between driving styles of different operators can be seen represented on a chart, which can alert supervisors to behaviours which will result in more or less maintenance required on the machine.

Even if an operator is achieving faster production, the system can measure if that operator is actually causing more potential damage to the machine, which would result in greater maintenance and downtime costs.

LC Products senior engineer Derek Mulder said the system also has some unintended benefits that have been noticed as the system was tested.

With the addition of DGPS, Titan can measure the exact location of bucket and teeth for each bucket of material.

When this information is plotted 3 dimensionally and compared with the amount of material in each bucketload, it can be used to detect aberrant behaviour by operators which would alert supervisors to a need for retraining. But this same data set can be used to evaluate the results of blasting any particular bench, with a level of detail that was not previously possible.Until now blasting has been evaluated in terms of the production speed of a given bench, but now the Titan system can measure the difficulty with which material is shovelled, by the shovel load, and plot that information on a 3D graph to show the level of fragmentation in the bench.

Chinese launch new large wheel loader

Chinese company LiuGong has launched its largest wheel loader to date at Bauma China.

The manufacturer used the event to unveil its CLG8128H wheel loader, which is designed for large projects.

The machine features a 4.04 metre dumping height, a bucket with 7 cubic meters of capacity and a movable blade, and a DANA-C9672 torque converter.

According to International Mining it has a 12 tonne rated load, and 360kN breakout force.

The Chinese firm added that it takes only 7.4 seconds to raise the bucket for full loading.

Normet launches new underground vehicles

Normet has launched a new generation of its MF and LF series of underground equipment, with the machines designed for industrial internet integration.

Debuting the machines at Bauma China 2014, Normet says the machines “set a new standard in comfortable underground operation, with unique axle suspension systems and fully redesigned ergonomic cabins”.

The company has unveiled its new Mutlimec MF 100 cassette carrier.

The 10 tonne payload machine consists of a series of cassettes designed for different material such as concrete, fuel, lube, or personnel transport, as well as service and scissor lifts.

A rugged load handling device means the carrier can switch cassettes in under a minute.

It has also upgraded its existing machines for increased efficiency.

The redesigned series of vehicles includes machines in its Mutlimec, Variomec, Charmec, Spraymec, and Himec products lines in its MF and LF series.

The major upgrade for these machines, in both the 10 and 16 tonne classes, is the introduction of a new hydraulic axle suspension system “which is specifically designed for underground hard driving conditions”.

“The suspension improves
operators and passengers driving comfort and safety on bumpy roads and
minimses fatigue, as they are less exposed to high peak forces and
vibration,” Normet stated. 

“The suspension also enhances vehicle handling at higher speed, reducing cycle time and increasing the productivity and efficiency of a vehicle. It also
reduces vehicle wear and maintenance costs.” 

The suspension system can be retrofitted to older vehicles.

In addition to the axle system, Normet has also focused on safety, developing a new cab with both ROPS and FOPS compliance, as well as improved ergonomics.

Normet is also integrating new electrical and control systems into the machines, with the second generation of NorSmart as standard.

Traditional gauges have been replaced with a new
Multi Information Display (MID) which provides operator information such speed, fuel consumption, RPM, and temperature.

NorSmart can record
all vehicle data such as speed, gear
selected, use of brakes, engine and hydraulic oil temperatures, engine and
gearbox oil pressures, etc. 

All of the sprayed concrete and charging work process
data is now recorded on Spraymecs and Charmecs, with the capacity for this recorded data to be transferred for further analysis and supervisory
checks via WLAN or by USB. 

Site specific industrial internet applications such
as M2M and remote diagnostics can also be arranged through NorSmart.

The new machines will be introduced next year, with a number of different engine options for varying exhaust emissions standards and regulations globally.

Caterpillar launches its largest ever wheel loader

Cat has developed its largest ever wheel loader – the 994K.

The new machine has a greater payload capacity than its predecessor, the 994H, cutting down the number of passes required to load large haul trucks.

The standard 994K can carry 40.8 tonnes per pass, with the high lift version able to move 38.1 tonnes per pass, approximately 18 and 20 per cent more, respectively, than the previous models.

“The 994K loads mining
trucks in the 250, 200 and 150 short ton classes in one less pass than the
previous model. The high lift configuration is a six-pass match with the
popular Cat 793 mining truck, and the high lift as well as the standard
configuration loads the Cat 789 in five passes,” Caterpillar said.

The machine has also been upgraded in terms of engine power, hydraulics, breakout force, and rimpull, as well as lateral stability.

Cat’s 994K has also been designed with Australian operations in mind, with a new high ambient package allowing the loader to operate in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.

An optional fuel tank now holds enough fuel for 24 hours straight operation without refuelling.

In regards to its bucket “new high performance
buckets in a wide range of capacities are optimized for the 994K linkage
kinematics,” Cat said. 

“The new bucket design has an extended floor, larger radius and
angled side bars for fast loading, high fill factors and good material
retention.”

It has a bucket capacity ranging from 19.1 to 24.5 cubic metres for the standard and high lift.

“A number of efficiency
improvements, such as the electronically controlled and hydraulically driven
cooling system fan, also help keep operating costs down.”

It is powered by a Cat 3516E engine, which produces 1297kW of power, and works through a Cat planetary powershift transmission designed specifically for mining applications.

“An
integral Impeller Clutch Torque Converter and Rimpull Control System allow the
operator to precisely adjust power at the wheels to specific loading conditions
by modulating rimpull from 100 to 25 percent, reducing potential for tire
slippage without diminishing hydraulic capacity,” Cat added.

Safety has also been a focus of the new machine, with it featuring a reduced stair angle for easy access and egress, increased visibility for operators, optimised LED lighting, and improved cameras for greater site awareness, and reduced sound in the cab to help fight operator fatigue. 

For service operators the wheel loader has been designed so engine oil change intervals are 500 hours minimum, with all routine service points are conveniently located on the left side of the loader, while hydraulically driven auto lube handles linkage greasing.

The 994K wheel loader will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2016.

Cat launches new hydraulic mining shovel

Caterpillar has released its new 22 tonne 6020B hydraulic shovel for mining.

The shovel features a 22 tonne payload, and weighs in at 224 tonnes itself.

The 6020B features a new cab and operator station with increased visibility provided by a large floor window and expansive windshield and side windows, Caterpillar said.

“Unrestricted lines of sight to the crawler trucks and pit floor aid the operator when repositioning the shovel and when loading trucks,” it said.

The cab also includes two additional seats for a trainer and observer, making this three seat cab design the first in this size class of shovels.

“All the mining company operators working with our three test machines—in three different countries—adapted to the 6020B very quickly, regardless of their previous experience on other equipment,” Steve Maloney, a Caterpillar operator trainer, said. 

“The three-seat cab design allowed me to train two operators at the same time, making operator training more efficient; and the elevated trainer’s seat provides an unobstructed view of the digging area, which is crucial when training operators on new equipment.”

The hydraulic mining shovel features a modular construction, with a walk through power module that enables easy access to components and increased serviceability.

This modular design also aids shipping and field assembly of the machine.

A single engine configuration also simplifies maintenance.

The 6020B is powered by a 778kW Cat C32 ACERT engine.

Pump-flow allocation technology drives hydraulic pump utilisation to reduce operating energy losses and increase fuel savings, while pumps also move hydraulic oil through a cooling circuit to maintain optimum oil temperature in the harsh Australian mining environment.

It also features an automatic lubricant system to reduce service times and ensure durability.

Cat’s 6020B is configured as a backhoe and handles a standard bucket size of 12 cubic meters.

It has both a coal bucket and a MultiPlus rock bucket for use in dense rock and aggressive digging conditions.

The buckets feature hammerless teeth, which have been designed specifically for the 6020B, and have simple 180 degree turns to lock and unlock each tooth for faster and safer removal.

Caterpillar has designed the hydraulic shovel to use four of the Cat MineStar System’s capability sets – Detect, with more cameras and sensing technology; Terrain, for loading guidance; Fleet, for tracking and production reporting; and Health, for machine condition reporting.

Pre-production versions of the 6020B have been field tested at the Rosebel gold mine in Suriname.

Atlas Copco encloses its loader cabins

Atlas Copco has released its underground low profile loaders with fully enclosed cabins.

The machine – Scooptram ST7LP low profile loader – was previously only supplied with a canopy, but has now been upgraded.

This latest development is an increase in safety for operators, providing full ROPS and FOPS protection.

According to Atlas Copco it is the only supplier to provide a cabin in the seven tonne low profile sector.

The Scooptram ST7LP itself is a low profile 6.8 tonne capacity loader for narrow vein mining. 

It is 1.4 metres high and 8.5 metres long and designed for back heights as low as 1.6 metres. 

It has a short power frame and a long wheel base which makes it easy to maneuver.

This is the latest addition to a series of upgrades on its Scooptram series.

Earlier this year Atlas Copco announced a new side dump bucket as an option for its loaders.

According to Atlas Copco, the side dump bucket option allows the loader to be used in a wider range of applications from tunnel projects to rail and road tunnels, as well as rapid tunnel development in mining.

Atlas Copco upgrades its mine truck

Atlas Copco has upgraded its MT42 mine truck with a newly designed box.

The manufacturer first released its initial truck in 2009, and has now be redesigned with a new tailgate and engine alternative.

The new box is made with high strength steel, and has the same physical envelope size as the previous model but with a reduced dump height.

“The geometry is new with optimized internal plate angles, making it easier for material to be released,” Atlas Copco said.

 The new tailgate also acts as a spill guard that automatically folds down before dumping without affecting ground clearance or visibility for the rear view camera.

“The gate is hydraulically operated and the status of the gate’s position is presented for the operator on the display in the cabin.”

Its engine has also be re-imagined, with a new Cummins QSX15 alternative, that meets the exhaust emissions requirements of both EPA Tier 4 final and EU stage IV levels.

“Compared to Tier 3 emission levels the new engine represents a 90 percent reduction for both PM (particulate matter) and NOx (nitrogen oxides),” Atlas Copco says. 

“The engine installation is fully integrated into the design of the Minetruck MT42 and the Atlas Copco’s Rig Control System, RCS. As an example, the status of the particulate filter and the level of the diesel exhaust fluid tank can be monitored on the display in the cabin.” 

The new MT42 also has an optional electromagnetic retarder braking system.

“When hauling downhill, the retarder creates resistance and retardation, providing wear-free braking. 

“Under the right conditions it can also allow for a higher speed, resulting in increased productivity. This solution can be especially useful in applications with a high degree of haulage downhill with load, such as haulage of waste rock fill or in cut and fill applications.”

The new truck will hit the market from 2015.

Austin Engineering release new wheel loader bucket designs

Austin Engineering has developed to new JEC bucket designs for Letourneau wheel loaders.

According to the manufacturer these buckets, the JEC L1850-2 and the JEC L2350-2, can hold approximately 28.3 and 38.2 cubic metres respectively.

The buckets are fully OEM compatible and designed with OEM specifications and bucket design limitations, cutting the potential for warranty implications for operators’ machines.

“Wear and fatigue life are improved through a heavy duty main shell plate,” Austin stated, “and the reinforced headboard provides high impact resistance”.

“Superior strength and resistance to deflection is achieved through a flat base design which provides a uniform bucket floor for grounding leveling and clean-up operations.

“Increased operator protection is achieved through a spillguard extension, along with improved visibility due to the numerous cut-outs in the headboard and the spillguard infill plate.”

The buckets also have increased performance and penetration due to a spade lip design, with a 15 degree edge angle in-lieu of standard 10 degree units.

Both buckets are fully customisable, with their structure having been optimsed by FEA analysis.

Komatsu launch new dual bushing undercarriage concept

Komatsu has released Dual Bushing Track for large dozer undercarriages to double track life.

The new track has been designed for high abrasion, low impact applications, and eliminate the need for pin and bush turns and associated new sprockets.

According to John Mortimer, Komatsu
Australia’s BDM for undercarriages, the first
application of dual bushing track in Australia – on a D275A-5 dozer – achieved
more than 3000 hours of operation with no issues, compared to average track life of around 1000 hours, including a pin and bush turn at 500 hours, on conventional undercarriages.

“In this application, a large sand
mining site, we actually effectively tripled the life of the undercarriage –
and it would have gone longer if the dozer had not been redeployed elsewhere,” Mortimer
said.

“By the time the dozer finished on
the site, the track was approximately half worn, so we believe it had the
potential to run to 4000 or even 5000 hours. Seal life would have ultimately
determined the longevity of the track before the bushes went.

“In that 3000 hours, there were
absolutely no issues,” he said.

“There were no dry or hot pins, and
the system avoided three pin-and-bush turns, which would have required a week’s
downtime to take off and put back on.”

However Mortimer added that it can not be used in high impact applications such as ripping or hard rock work.

“Having said that, it is ideal for
sand, bauxite and other high-abrasion applications where you have large
stockpiles to be moved around, with no ripping,” he said.

Normet updates its concrete simulator training

Normet has released a new generation of underground concrete spraying training simulators.

While the use of training simulators have been prevalent throughout the industry for a number of years there was only a fairly limited selection of simulated training environments.

Now Normet has expanded this capacity, developing new environments where underground spraying can be practised, including mines, tunnels, and even an operator’s own scanned environment.

There is also a wide range of Normet tunnelling and mining sprayers to choose from, including the Spraymec 8100 VC, Spraymec
6050, 1050 WPC, MF 050 VC or Alpha 30.

“In the pre-training
scenario trainee learns how to manipulate spraying boom with machines original
radio control,” Normet said. 

“After familiarised basic boom movements with radio-control
joysticks, can trainee start to pierce balloons with spraying nozzle tip. When
spraying boom manipulation start to be fluent, basic spraying techniques
exercise can be started. It is instructive exercise with spraying order/path,
distance and angle rehearsals.”

The spraying exercises include spraying in a straight tunnel, at a tunnel’s end, inside a curved tunnel, or in a tunnel’s cross section.

“Competition mode is also
available under training scenarios, as little competition can always improve
performance,” the company added.

The new simulators have better quality graphics and visual indicators that aid in training.

According to Normet the simulators visual aids include coloured markers that show, when spraying,coloured
concrete layers indicating the thickness of the concrete sprayed i.e. red
layer – too thick, green layer – perfect and blue layer – too thin.

It also has a nozzle angle indicator show nozzle distance from that wall to teach distance in spraying.

Normet added that “after each exercise
detailed individual operator report based on performance can be printed out or
transferred as a text file. Report includes information with informative
pictures and graphs, on the accuracy of concrete thickness, sprayed concrete
quality, nozzle distance and angle accuracy. 

“It also shows material usage,
rebound, efficiency (sprayed area per hour), excessive accelerator and concrete
usage and costs based on spraying parameters adjusted before exercise.

“In average trainees who have undergone Normet Academy’s simulator
training has shown an improvement in operator efficiency by 23 per cent,” the company added.

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