Connecting load and haul applications to the worksite

Measuring payload and production data in a modern load/haul application is an essential part of a cost-effective quarry operation. Trucks are designed with a target payload that optimises the tonnes moved. If a truck is too light, the cost per tonne rises because it is not used effectively. At the end of the shift, more fuel has been burnt per tonne and the volume of ore moved is less. When the truck payload is too high, haul speed is reduced and fewer loads are carried through the day. This can also result in the whole fleet reducing travel speed on a deep pit operation.

Caterpillar first introduced the Truck Payload Measurement System (TPMS). TPMS has evolved over the years and became a part of the Vital Information Management System (VIMS) over 10 years ago. Today, VIMS has increased accuracy and more data per cycle.
VIMS is an integrated system that monitors, records and reports all aspects of machine performance and health. It provides critical information to operators, production and operations? staff and maintenance teams which they can use to enhance safety, productivity and availability while lowering cost per tonne.

The electronic sensors and control systems on Cat equipment generate hundreds of signals as a machine works, each indicative of the product?s performance and health. VIMS captures that data and makes it available for operators, production staff and maintenance teams. The main module on the machine stores all data collected which can be sent to an in-cab display to notify the operator about current conditions. The data can be transmitted wirelessly or downloaded to a PC and analysed to make production and decisions.

The following kinds of data are captured onboard and can be downloaded for analysis:
? Payload captures productivity and fleet utilisation information, such as tonnes moved, total cycle time, load time, wait time, travel time, fuel usage and more.
? Event List records events and abnormalities that occur in operation. It puts each event into context, identifying when it occurred, how long it lasted, which component or system was affected, which operator was involved and how serious (Category 1, 2 or 3) the situation was.
? Event Recorder activates automatically when a predefined event occurs. It takes a ?snapshot? of the situation, capturing detailed data five minutes before and one minute after the event.
? Data Logger receives input from each available parameter, once per second for up to 30 minutes, providing a useful record for predicting, preventing and troubleshooting problems.
? Trends display minimum, maximum and average values for specific parameters or systems, providing insight into how conditions change over time. Many consider the Trends feature to be the highest value tool in the VIMS offering. About 50 per cent of the value of this system can be realised by using Trends regularly.
? Cumulative files provide counts or totals, such as number of engine revolutions, time in gear and so on.
? Histograms present data in a bar graph format for quick visual analysis.

A recent safety initiative by Cat is designed to alert the operator of objects in the proximity of a truck before the truck moves off. A typical example of this would be a light vehicle parked in a ?blind spot? near a truck. If the truck moves off, it could cause damage to the vehicle and possibly to personnel. This new technology – the Cat Integrated Object Detection System (CIODS) – can assist in preventing these accidents. It is currently offered to current model Cat trucks 785 and up.

CIODS combines cameras, radar and alarms to notify the operator when something close to the machine is not within immediate viewing range. It is configured with zones around the equipment and objects in those zones trigger various alarm levels. A display screen in the cab provides visual confirmation of the objects detected by the radar, so operators can make informed decisions when moving large machines.
CIODS also monitors the immediate work area and enhances the operator?s view of other machines and objects in blind spots near the machine. Using a combination of short range radars, medium range radars and up to four cameras, operators can see the areas immediately surrounding their machine. The radar information is processed by the new on-board touch screen display which will alert the operator with a visual indication followed by an audible alarm if the truck is put into gear and travels towards the detected object. The cameras supplement the radar alerts and are selectable by touch screen menus through an intuitive interface. The system is integrated with VIMS and other on-board computers to enable the system at start-up and during low speed manoeuvring.

CIODS is highly integrated with the specific machine configuration to optimise radar andcamera coverage. The system has been calibrated to provide appropriate fields of view and range. Unlike basic camera systems, CIODS provides operators with multiple warnings, both audible and visual, that help them make informed decisions when moving machines. When a camera system is running at all times, it is easy for the operator to overlook the screen when performing job tasks. This system alerts the operator when an object is in close proximity so they can decide if action needs to be taken to avoid it.

Most of today?s technology products can be categorised under the same name – ?information?. VIMS and CIODS provide health and safety information to the operator in the cab, but Cat has another solution that provides critical productivity information to the operator as they are using the machine. The Computer Aided Earthmoving System (CAES) is used in scrapers, loaders, dozers, shovels, motor graders, hydraulic excavators and track type tractors throughout the mining and quarry industries.

Operators of CAES report immediate benefits of having the real time cut and fill information in the cab, allowing them to work to plan the first time with increased accuracy. The need to manually survey and re-survey after the job is virtually eliminated as is the need for survey stakes and tape, etc.

CAES is a high technology earthmoving tool that allows mines to operate more productively and safely. Using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology, machine-mounted components, a radio network and office management software, this state of the art machine guidance system delivers real time productivity information to machine operators on an in-cab display. By monitoring ore bodies, bench height, volume of material cut and filled, andcycle times, operators have all the informationto maximise the efficiency of the machine.
The CAES uses GNSS technology, a wireless radio communication network, and office software to map mines, create terrain models, locate a machine?s position and track volume and productivity with complete accuracy. The receiver uses signals from GPS and GLONASS satellites to determine precise machine positioning.

Two receivers capture and collect satellite data – one located at a stationary spot on the site, another on the machine.
CAES is currently used for:
? Haul road and bench construction. A CAES equipped machine helps create and maintain haul roads and benches through a real time design plan, reducing surveyingcosts. Roads and benches created by CAESare smoother, at the right grade and slope, with minimal rework. These conditions minimise truck maintenance costs, extend machine tyre life, improve water run-off and increase fleet productivity.
? Ore grade control and material identification. CAES used for ore grade control provides accurate profile and plan views of ore bodies, minimising time spent to map ore grades. Ore control leads to better identification of loaded material, minimising misrouted material and improving ore recovery and profitability.
For information on how these products may increase your production and safety, visit

Adrian Clement is the group manager (equipment support) for Westrac.

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