Environmental News

The Advantages of Telematics in Load and Haul

South African heavy equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment is at the forefront of telematics technology in the world?s articulated dump truck (ADT) market, having developed Fleetm@tic, the company?s own satellite fleet management system. In recognising the importance of such a system, Fleetm@tic is a standard feature on Bell ADTs, thereby offering machine owners a wide range of features and benefits to manage and enhance their ADT ownership experience.

Fleetm@tic is currently in its second generation and offers specific advantages to the quarrying industry, with the latest version of the software, including laden idle times and unladen idle times.

According to Trevor Musliah, Bell Equipment?s product marketing manager for ADTs, by providing laden and unladen idle times quarry owners can identify where bottlenecks are occurring in their operation.

?For example, excessive unladen idle times could suggest a bottleneck in the loading area due to a mismatch of equipment. Long laden idle times could be due to the tipping area being too small, the turning circle being too tight or a bulldozer that is too small to cope with the workload,? he said.

?Likewise for quarry operations,
Fleetm@tic is able to measure how many tonnes of each type of material has been loaded and off-loaded,? he added. ?This feature would be particularly useful in crushed rock applications to track stockpiling of different materials.?

Bell?s Fleetm@tic also monitors an ADT?s average payload, cycle rate and fuel burn: ?Statistics of the average payload enables a fleet owner to check that he?s not overloading or under-loading. Overloading could lead to early fatigue while under-loading would suggest a fleet owner is not getting the full benefit of his machine.?

Likewise, the bin tip angle can be automatically set to save time and fuel. Depending on site conditions, this could have a safety benefit by preventing accidental damage to overhead infrastructure.

In addition, Fleetm@tic sends critical event notifications in the event of speeding, over-revving or other incidents of machine abuse so that fleet owners are able to take corrective action. ?Apart from machine abuse, which could affect a machine?s health, these incidents are also linked to site safety,? Trevor explains.

With safety in mind, Fleetm@tic allows fleet owners to geofence areas so that a truck will automatically decelerate or be allowed to accelerate within certain zones. Within a hopper site, for example, the truck may be geofenced to travel at a slower speed. In addition, a machine can be geofenced to effectively limit it to only operate in a specific geographic area.

At the heart of Bell?s Fleetm@tic is a GPS and data transmitter/receiver unit installed inside an ADT cab and integrated into the machine?s CANbus system. The onboard GPS receiver calculates the position of the machine from orbiting GPS satellites and stores position, production and machine data on the onboard memory module.

This data is sent to the Bell Fleetm@tic server via the service provider?s base station, where it is processed into automated reports or stored for viewing from the website at a later stage. Fleet managers are issued with a confidential ID and password, enabling secured access to this fleet information via the Fleetm@tic website.

A unique characteristic of Fleetm@tic is that one service provider, Iridium, supplies worldwide coverage from pole-to-pole. This, together with the superior transceiver technology supplied by an American-based company, Quake Global, enables Bell Equipment to offer its customers the best satellite monitoring system in the world.

Fleetm@tic offers four levels of reporting, each more advanced and involved than the previous level. For example, Fleetm@tic Lite provides a shift summary for each machine in the fleet, including the machine hours, hours operated in a shift and the average fuel consumption.

While telematic systems, such as
Fleetm@tic, offer a variety of benefits, Trevor Musliah warns that they don?t manage your fleet for you. ?It is how you interpret and use the data provided by the system that will benefit your business at the end of the day. Fleet management systems are changing the way customers approach their business, taking a lot of guesswork out of the equation so that they can make more informed decisions. Fleetm@tic supports our customers by providing useful information about machine production and service planning so that they can achieve high reliability and durability targets. Even better is that our customers can keep an eye on their machines via the website from the comfort of their homes, offices or even while travelling?.

Monitoring the performance of a Bell ADT fleet can be extremely satisfying for a fleet owner as the productivity, operating costs and safety benefits of Fleetm@tic are further enhanced by the Bell ADTs themselves. The Bell D-series ADTs undergo regular upgrades to keep the range competitive, compliant with emission regulations and at the cutting edge of technology.

Currently in its Mark 7 generation, the B40D and B45D models in particular have been fitted with new engines to deliver increased power and better driveline tuning to keep these popular workhorses out in front as class leaders.

?The new Mark 7 is much faster and able to complete more cycles per hour due to its increased speed,? said Musliah. ?In addition, operating engine rpm has been reduced by optimal tuning of the driveline. This is all evidenced by data collected by Fleetm@tic.

?Importantly, the Bell ADT still takes full advantage of its weight optimised design. The result is that the transmission moves into lock-up mode much faster. Apart from providing better fuel consumption, it has also improved the gradability of the machine in almost all gear ranges.?

Meanwhile, with safety in mind, Bell has developed an ejector bin for its B40D ADT, which has been specifically designed for tough mining and quarrying applications, with heavy-duty specifications to offer improved safety while simultaneously providing solutions to sites with limited tipping space and a need to tip on the fly or load spread.

With a 2:1 heaped capacity of 22m? and a rated payload of 35,000kg, the Bell Ejector is fitted with a hydraulically actuated bottom-hinged tailgate so that a hydraulic valve controls the timing of the tailgate to ensure that it opens before the headboard starts moving.

Commented Musliah: ?Our ejector bin is a true OEM designed product and customers have full factory support for the product. Machine utilisation, efficiency and operating cost per tonne is optimised by the fact that the Bell Ejector allows an operator to safely spread the load while driving, reducing the need to use a dozing application.

?In addition, the structure and hydraulics will allow a full load of large rocks to be pushed from the bin with minimal effort as required by our mining customers. The new Bell Ejector also promotes safer operation on mines and quarries by keeping a machine?s centre of gravity low to ensure that the machine is highly stable at all times,? he said.

Bell Equipment prides itself on offering full package solutions by providing strong, reliable machines that are equipped with the latest technology to deliver class-leading productivity while promoting site safety, machine longevity and lower operating costs. This is all backed by Bell?s strong, reliable product support and value-added features such as Fleetm@tic.?

Sources: Bell Equipment (South Africa)/Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

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