IM 2021 February 21 | Page 40


Performance assured

Modular Mining ’ s Performance Assurance ( PA ) program is a next-level support initiative designed to ensure that each customer receives maximum sustained value over the life of their Modular technologies . Here the company gives two recent examples with a North American gold mining customer

With each engagement , a dedicated team

of regionally-based Modular Mining PA experts collaborates with a cross section of mine personnel to develop tailored , flexible , and proactive solutions to address the operation ’ s specific challenges . This article presents dual case studies , each highlighting how Modular Mining PA implemented the DISPATCH FMS automated Parkup module to help a large North American gold operation combat two of the mine ’ s challenges : efficiency declines during the last hour of each shift , and a halt in load and haul activity during scheduled breaks .
While conducting dispatcher training at a site in January 2019 , the PA team observed that data trends indicated a decline in productivity at end of each 12-hour shift . Further investigation revealed that the dispatchers relied exclusively on a manual process for end-of-shift parkup times and locations , which resulted in a less-than-optimal workflow .
Optimising the end-of-shift
The PA team immediately recommended implementation of the then-new DISPATCH FMS automated Parkup module . In preparation , the team completed a thorough evaluation of the
Figure 1 : Shift change results - initial Parkup module implementation
The Modular Mining DISPATCH FMS Parkup module focuses on reducing inefficiencies during shift change to maximise productive time . Trucks will be assigned to shift change locations proximal to their assigned end-point to help ensure high levels of productivity during the last hour of a given shift and first hour of the subsequent shift
site ’ s shift change practices . They observed that dispatchers routinely missed opportunities to have trucks run later into the haul cycle , which led to production losses at the beginning of the next shift . Implementing the automated Parkup module would enable trucks to load and park further into the haul cycle , improving optimisation .
After implementation , PA worked with the dispatchers to configure the module to recognise and act upon site-specific conditions . With the
automated Parkup module in place , the DISPATCH
FMS was then able to incorporate the conditionbased data into its optimisation logic and issue informed , real-time Parkup assignments to the operators . Modular Mining also provided coaching and mentoring to the mine ’ s dispatchers , to increase their ability to adjust the Parkup module ’ s parameters for ongoing adherence to plan . The PA team also worked with the main Dispatch Engineer to monitor shift change performance over time , and provide recommendations for configuration modifications based on changes to site conditions and mine plan requirements .
The mine realised marked improvements in shift change productivity between February 2019 , when the module was deployed , and April 2020 when the effects of COVID- 19 prompted a return to manual parkup processes . Figure 1 shows a snapshot of the average Shift Change Hour Tons metrics as tracked between February and June 2019 . As shown , the mine realised a 7.5 % improvement in
shift change productivity , an amount equal to approximately 2,000 short tons of additional material moved via the use of automated parkup management .
While the Parkup module was in use , the mine also saw an increase in fleet utilisation during the first and last hour of each shift .
Effects of COVID-19
Because of COVID-19 , the mine took necessary precautions to help ensure the safety of its workforce . These measures included a reduction in the number of operators allowed at one time in shift transport vehicles , which caused scheduling complexity and delays in getting operators to and from the boarding area during shift overlap . During this time , the mine opted to return to their manual parkup management processes , as this enabled the dispatchers to make changes on the fly based on their understanding of crew numbers and transport van capacity that could fluctuate by the day or even by shift . Unfortunately , the manual parkup assignments severely impacted shift change efficiency and production levels dropped .
Parkup module reimplementation
In June 2020 , the PA team engaged with the mine via a virtual site visit . The PA team raised concerns about the downward trend in shift change production and encouraged the dispatchers to resume use of the Parkup module . Upon reaching an agreement , the PA team set about updating the Parkup module configuration to accommodate the ongoing variations in crew / vehicle availability . In turn , this enabled the FMS to once again optimise the shift change activity . With the Parkup module back in operation , the mine was able to increase shift change efficiency and production , while continuing to maintain its COVID-19 safety protocols . Figure 2 shows the outcome of shift change between January and September , 2020 ,
Figure 2 : Shift change results : second Parkup module implementation when performed with , and without , the Parkup module in place . Utilisation of available time during a shift ’ s 12th hour increased by 52.78 % ( 7 minutes and 7 seconds ), while total mined tons increased by 47 % ( 5,711 short tons ). In addition , as the statistics continued to improve the dispatchers ’ confidence in the automated parkup process increased , as well .
36 International Mining | FEBRUARY 2021