The Asia Miner

SEP-OCT 2014

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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48 | ASIA Miner | September/October 2014 Company Profle MineLink FMS delivers comprehensive real-time management infor- mation that can be monitored in the units, on a supervisor rugged tablet, in the dispatch centre, at a distant offce or on a smart phone. The Missing Link in Mining Effciencies Mining Fleet Management Systems (FMS) have been around since the early 1980s. The ASIA Miner talked to SNC Technolo- gies' president director Ken Grant about feet management systems and their new FMS named MineLink. We asked him why feet management systems are not used by more mines and some of the things to watch out for. SNC is a division of SatNetCom. "THESE systems have been around for a long time but smaller mines tend not to use them because there is not a clear un- derstanding of the benefts of the system," Ken Grant says. "Even for large mines often the systems don't always deliver the expect- ed benefts. Part of this has to do with the feet management system itself - how it is implemented, how it is used and what the expectations are? "It's important to understand that systems like these affect large portions of a mine's operations, including production, mine plan- ning, maintenance and engineering. Us- ers can underestimate the complexity of a successful implementation and what is necessary to get the most out of the sys- tem. A common mistake a user makes is ex- pecting that a feet management system will magically solve all of their problems." When asked about the benefts of a feet management system, Ken Grant says, "A feet management system delivers three main benefts – better management infor- mation, better dispatching and lower costs. These directly result in improved effciency. "One of the biggest benefts of a system like MineLink FMS is the real-time manage- ment information," Ken Grant continues. "With this information, management imme- diately knows where there are problems and bottlenecks and can remedy the situation in real-time. To take advantage of real-time in- formation and really put the MineLink FMS to work requires a strong dispatch analyst and changes in the lines of authority and com- munications. "Generally, without a feet management system the pit supervisors have absolute control of their feet and decisions are made based upon their experience and what they think is the situation. But, with a feet man- agement system the new player in the loop is the dispatcher. Pit supervisors and dispatchers need to work together as a team to solve any problems. Yes, they can still get improvements by looking at the daily reports, but the real beneft is from taking real-time immedi- ate action. Instead of waiting until tomorrow to fgure out what happened, the problem can be fxed now!" Of the MineLink FMS Ken Grant says, "If the dispatcher is a good analyst and has au- thority, it can make a big differ- ence in efficiency. Since the dispatcher has the total overall view of the mine, not just one fleet, he can watch and antic- ipate things that the pit super- visor may not be able to see. With this type of FMS operation the entire mine can optimized, not just the one feet. By work- ing together the pit supervisor and dispatcher can squeeze out a tremendous amount of extra effciencies. "I know of cases where the feet management system is under-utilized because pit su- pervisors will take control and override the system. Using the feet management system in this manner is less effcient and de- feats one of the main purposes of FMS." The second beneft of MineLink FMS systems is au- tomatic dispatching. Ken Grant goes on to say, "We've had a lot of experience with other feet management systems over the years, and as a result we were able to see their short- comings. "I have spent a lot of time in pits watch- ing these other systems work and I get frustrated because other feet management systems sometimes do ineffcient things like leaving some shovels hanging while other shovels have trucks queued up. This partic- ularly happens when the trucks are bunched up for some reason like after breaks. This drives the pit supervisors crazy. As a result, many of the mines I know of either turn off the auto-dispatching at times or don't use it at all. The truth of the matter is that the ma- jority of today's feet management systems were written 30 years ago and don't have the best dispatching algorithms. They often create ineffcient situations." The third beneft of a feet management system, he says, is reduced costs. "With MineLink FMS this happens in many ways.

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