FLEET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS A dispatch room with the Modular Mining DISPATCH Central application running in the foreground No time for idling Paul Moore reviews trends in the FMS space, both surface and underground, with some updates from key players both big and small leet management systems in mining, often referred to in the industry simply as FMS, are the backbone of surface mines, where they optimise the comings and goings of production equipment maintaining the highest productivity and efficiency. But today they offer a lot more than dispatching including incorporating elements of tyre monitoring, fuel management, machine guidance, collision avoidance, fatigue monitoring and predictive maintenance – all areas that have traditionally been supplied as standalone technologies but today are often factored into the overall FMS offering as part of a package, though are often still supplied by the same specialists as part of partnership agreements and joint interfaces, or in some cases these companies have been acquired – a good example being Hexagon acquiring collision avoidance company SAFEmine whose technology was then embedded into the Hexagon FMS solution. Added to that, of course today FMS offerings are having to interface with autonomous haulage systems (AHS), both from mining equipment OEMs but also OEM-agnostic players. This is a whole other topic in itself, especially when it comes to how interoperable the platforms are. Today, the FMS market in mining includes a diverse set of players, including three owned by major mining equipment OEMs (Caterpillar’s MineStar, Komatsu-owned Modular Mining, Hitachi-owned Wenco) plus OEM independent companies including iVolve based in Australia, Zyfra Mining (former VIST Group) with a strong position in Russia but also growing globally, and Hexagon Mining. But there are a lot of new players coming into the market today, nimble companies offering in some cases more flexible, more cost competitive options. Also, in the underground space, true FMS is still not really being used in the sense it is used on the surface F 18 International Mining | MAY 2020 due to the different type of working environment, with most underground mines using forms of advanced tracking together with production optimisation software. But here progress is also being made, as rather than trying to adapt surface FMS to underground, new solutions are being put in place that have been designed for underground. composition, pit design, or mine plan, can cause production levels to fluctuate. As such, the mine enlisted PA for help in pinpointing the underlying reason, rectifying the issue, and getting production back on track. With a focus on helping the mine maintain its performance standards amid dynamic conditions, the PA team worked with mine personnel to compare the 2018 production records to those from 2019, and conduct a thorough review of the mine’s DISPATCH ® Fleet Management System (FMS) configuration. Over a series of visits, the PA team updated relevant system parameters and provided dispatcher training to improve optimisation of the automated truck/shovel assignments and minimise truck queue and shovel hang times. After the PA team recalibrated the DISPATCH system’s settings, the mine achieved sustained Performance assurance at the next level Looking in-depth at how Modular Mining’s FMS solutions are applied in a tailored approach for each mine, in March of 2015, the company introduced the Performance Assurance (PA) program, a next- level support initiative designed to ensure that each customer receives maximum sustained value over the life of their Modular Mining technologies. With each PA engagement, a dedicated team of experts collaborates with a cross section of mine personnel to develop tailored, flexible, and proactive solutions to address each operation’s specific challenges. The company says participating mines have seen numerous benefits, including enhanced truck productivity, shorter queue times, reduced equipment maintenance costs, and more. A longstanding Modular Mining customer recently expressed concerns about diminished production volumes from its truck and shovel fleets. Any of the events that mines experience on a regular basis, including changes in personnel, fleet A PTX device running Modular Mining's DISPATCH Mobile application improvements in fleet utilisation and marked increases in production rates. Most significant was the 29% uptick in ton miles per hour (TMPH), which increased the average from 958 to 1,238 from May to December 2019, as shown in the attached graph. After the PA team recalibrated the DISPATCH system’s settings, the mine achieved sustained improvements in fleet utilisation and marked increases in production rate