Key Benefits

The following tables illustrate immediate and ongoing key benefits of Acqumine’s solution.

Five practical examples of safety interventions of the acqumine system
Problem Current process Acqumine’s improvement
Low skill levels, AIDS, poor working conditions, low wages, alcoholism Attempts to keep environment controlled. Little in the way of on-the-job guidance or monitoring.
  • Icon-driven touch-screen interfaces to help unskilled workers understand the impact;
  • Bonus based on easy to understand targets in safety, vehicle care and production;
  • Key metrics monitored in real-time rather than manual, periodic inspections.
Unplanned rockfalls in deep level mines Occasional use of seismographs (At $6k they are expensive). Plotters used & data not collected or analysed
  • Redesigning sensors to reduce cost, enabling many times the number to be installed;
  • Wired to UDSLAM system, enabling massive automated data collection & algorithmic analysis;
  • Provides early warning system to evacuate high risk areas.
Unauthorised use of equipment, driving in unauthorised areas/over speeding Fewer than 10% of primary and virtually no secondary vehicles have Dallas Touch Key. Smaller utility vehicles have basic tracking systems. Mainly controlled by manual intervention.
  • Electronic drivers’ licenses will cross reference HR records to ensure proper access;
  • Enable driver training to be more effective by identifying dangerous driver practices;
  • People and vehicles are GEO-FENCED to specific areas in which they are allowed to operate. Electronic speed limits are set centrally via the server;
  • All speeds are recorded onboard the vehicle rugged PC, with alerts when limits breached.
Uncontrolled gas leakages Gas monitors are only checked periodically, usually once per shift.
  • Gas monitors will be linked to an underground connectivity network, via read DSL technology;
  • Immediate warnings for all staff in affected area via IP phones.
Poor visibility, blind spots on large vehicles, dust 260 degree blind spots are common on large vehicles weighing 300 tonnes. Graders and water trucks are manually dispatched, when road condition is bad and excessive dust results. No scientific processes currently used.
  • IP cameras to give the driver a digital rear view mirror on the rugged PC screen;
  • Shows up infrared at night in opencast/underground as most mines are 24-hour operations;
  • Excessive dust highly correlated with poor road condition, shock & vibration on vehicles, so excessive reading on sensors will result in graders & water trucks being dispatched;
  • Beacons with text-based road signs will be placed on the side of roads – if the camera image cannot translate the sign to text, visibility warning issued to all staff in the area;

 

Top five interventions to reduce consumables, maintenance, wear & tear of equipment
Problem Current process Acqumine’s improvement
Driver abuse – conflicts of interest between OEM’s & mines OEMS seldom install own engine protection systems, as their absence results in lucrative aftersales revenue. The alerts from current engine protection systems stay in the cab.
  • Biometric breathalysers will ensure operator is in a condition to drive;
  • Pre-start sensors, such as the dipstick ensure that operator completes these correctly;
  • Applying logic to sensor readings to deliver effective early warnings: E.g. Low water level is a leading indicator that engine temp will rise, & will eventually overheat enough to blow the engine;
  • All events logged at the control room, with SMS’s to the shift boss and to the maintenance team.
Missed scheduled maintenance, delayed response to equipment failure Production pressures result in avoidance of routine maintenance. Friction between engineering and production increases the risk of unplanned downtime. Maintenance schedules are manual. Onboard systems tend to be diagnostic, rather than preventative. For instance Bell’s Fleetm@tic only emails the control room two hours after occurrence.
  • Onboard PC has history and recommended replacement schedules for all parts on the vehicle.
  • Aggregated into centralised schedule, which is integrated with the production schedule;
  • The maintenance audit trail will help the mine to make warranty claims after OEM’s
  • All key personnel are alerted within seconds of an incident being detected:
  • The driver is alerted by an alarm, while the onboard screen highlights the fault location
  • The warning appears on the control room dashboard;
  • The shift boss will be SMS’ed as will the maintenance technician on site;
  • If no action is taken after a prescribed time, the mine engineer is alerted;
  • The system will also use the diagnostic history to self-learn to highlight risk of failure.
Under/overloading < 10% of PRIMARY fleets collect loading data as miners argue loads average out. BUT under-loading results in lost production while overloading causes vehicle damage.
  • Load cells are expensive (up to $25k for the largest trucks) while load switches can effectively provide the same functionality for a tenth of the price, by combining two switches to give a tolerance range.
  • A light on top of the cab light will alert the shovel – glowing yellow while loading, changing to green once the weight is in an acceptable range, and will go red, if the upper limit is breached with usual warnings.
Fuel theft 5-10% of purchased fuel is stolen – no mining vehicles have fuel level sensors.
  • Will use level sensors developed for small plane fuel tanks to reconcile bowser outflows with tank level displacement (inflows), issuing a warning if two do not reconcile & starting the camera to record the event.
Badly graded roads cause metal fatigue, tyre damage There are no controls on road condition apart from visual inspection by managers, except in the very most advanced systems.
  • If several vehicles vibration sensors register out of range readings in an area, a task will be allocated.
  • Vibration data will be taken to the data warehouse for metal fatigue analysis. Incline sensors will calculate the steepness of the incline actually experienced by the truck.

 

Top five interventions to optimize mine performance
Problem Current process Acqumine’s improvement
Unskilled worker motivation, unions & incongruent productivity targets Workers are paid badly – 50% receive less than £300 per month, but do get bonuses based on production only. Therefore they are incentivised to ignore engine health warning ignore: Worker getsa £5 shift bonuses but only to blow a £500k engine.
  • Bonus Buddy – where workers bonus will be aligned to the value they add in small increments that appear on the Rugged PC display in the bottom right hand corner
  • Production will be rewarded by the number of tonnes produced;
  • Safety compliance will be rewarded by e.g. retaining following distances,staying within speed-limits;
  • Driver performance will be rewarded in small increments, where each successful cycle will be rewarded, with penalties for over-revving, harsh breaking, excessive idle time & shocks.
Routing confusion, unbalanced fleets, bottlenecks from unplanned downtime Most open caste & all underground mines have no automated decision support. Basic dispatching algorithms are available but are seldom run more than once daily, and which are rendered useless by unforeseen events.
  • Dynamic dispatching will represent a major global advance on mine optimization. They will
  • Use Monte Carlo simulation techniques, rather than simplistic linear programming;
  • Will be able to reroute in real-time, rather than an obsolete daily schedule;
  • Have access to the entire IT value chain, so can include info on HR, equipment failure and flooding;
  • Big opportunity to improve utilisation rates which are currently sitting at 30%
Lack of real-time communication – especially underground A shift report is a statutory requirement, but is usually written by hand and inexpertly captured in later days. Verbal communication underground is difficult & expensive wit Leaky Feeder providing low bandwidth.
  • UDSLAM an underground communication system enables the mine to control underground operations inexpensively for the first time with VoIP phones, wired to vital sensors such as CCTV and seismographs.
  • 25 time cheaper ($0.28 per meter for materials vs. $7 per meter for Leaky Feeder)
  • 1,400 times the bandwidth (28 Meg vs. Leaky Feeder’s 19.2k (your Telkom dialup is 56k)
Grade control Currently estimated based on geological data and often only be reconciled on a monthly basis. Achieving a grade within narrow tolerances increases the sales value.
  • Combination of geological data and GPS on the shovel, will keep track of the geological content of each load. This will ensure that waste is dumped at the waste pile, while ore actually goes to the crushers.
  • Estimated that 0.5% of all designated ore loads go to waste pile incorrectly & 2% of material delivered to crushers was waste – costs 1% of turnover or $200 million per year.
Drilling & blasting not according to plan Mines use different location systems, confusing co-ordinates, and drilling ends to be outsourced, with location and depth not checked against plan.
  • Acqumine’s technical partners in SA created a world first in blast data logging that:
  • Enables mines to hold maverick drilling service providers accountable
  • Significant downstream benefit, as rocks are blasted to consistent size, reducing crusher time.

 

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