?AE? team digs deep to improve darling downs operations

A site liaison was conducted with the Wagners Group staff for a high profile private project that became the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and business precinct, located on the outskirts of Toowoomba. At the time the project site was a paddock; it is now a fully functional runway/airport. This was a multiple simulation projection utilising the Komatsu OFR program and agreed load and haul unit operating parameters.

Craig “Shine” Summerfield, Komatsu Australia’s national customer applications manager for construction, flew to Toowoomba and liaised with Wagner’s civil supervisor Jack Lynch for Wellcamp Downs about the group’s requirements for bulk material haulage.

{{image2-a:r-w:200}}Summerfield explained that the challenge for Komatsu and Wagners was to determine what size fleet would be required to complete the task in the “given project timeline milestone estimate” and “what size loading tool and what size matching haul units [would] achieve the hourly production tonnage target”.

“We drove over the site – essentially the existing farm – and then looked at the task as explained via some plans on the bonnet of Jack’s vehicle,” Summerfield elaborated. “I then left to crunch the numbers and set about looking at a suitable load and haul fleet equipment and/or solutions. Once a range of simulations were conducted for all designated airfield segments, that report was presented to [Wagner Group director] Dennis Wagner.”

A key concern for the Wagner Group was the fate of the fleet “post-project life”. Summerfield said this would define the solution that was selected, “hence several solutions were presented for discussion in the initial OFR. Denis Wagner requested for some minor variations in regards to a limited number of origin haul points. This was down to supplement the initial fleet OFR”.

Based on the AE solutions Komatsu presented, Wagners selected a new fleet of four HD605-7E0 haul units coupled with a PC1250SP-8R excavator. As part of the AE process, Summerfield organised a follow-up visit to the Wellcamp Airport project to check on the loading tool cycle times, efficiencies and production tonnages. The collected “on ground” data and analysis verified the initial estimates and matching.

“Denis Wagner openly appreciated the effort and work that was undertaken in sourcing respective solutions via the AE process for the Wellcamp task,” Summerfield concluded.


Single unit study

A time and motion study was conducted on a 30-tonne class excavator for Western Downs Regional Council prior to recommending a potential replacement excavator. In addition to this study, all stakeholders were involved to ensure the unit and its attachment specification would be suited to the unit’s intended application.

According to Summerfield, Komatsu adopted a “holistic AE approach” to the recommended replacement of the excavator.

“Given that the loading tool was the key item,” Summerfield explained, “a detailed analysis was undertaken on capturing exactly what the excavator was doing, that is, a detailed breakdown of its operational tasks, for example, loading, clearing the floor, making/blending material, moving oversize, spotting time and bench preparation time, etc. This data was then charted into segment percentages and operational efficiency.”

The advantages for the customer, Summerfield added, of acquiring the data from a typical day/task/position is that they can “drill down with finer accuracy when looking at future production or associated planning. The data can create a trend analysis, and be used within staff tool box meetings to engage the employees within the total operational environment. “As we know, extraction and hauling has many variables, having accurate data may avoid costly decisions across the holistic arena. Some decisions may have a compounding effect, not only in the short term but well into the long term.”


Based on Summerfield’s recommendations to its quarry team, Western Downs Regional Council eventually approved the purchase of a 46-tonne Komatsu PC450LC-8SE excavator, albeit with a bucket with a volume smaller than the standard offering.

“To clarify the capacity volume, the AE process highlighted that the original unit was spending a high degree of time blending material, as the rock property was changing as the quarry expanded,” Summerfield explained. “There was also a lot of wear and tear due to the abrasiveness of the rock. Part of the process was to ensure that the wear package on the new bucket was in-line with the site’s expectations, and for this specialist area the bucket supplier was also involved.”

Following the council’s purchase, Summerfield conducted a follow-up site visit to check the performance of the new excavator and ensure it was meeting the end user’s expectations. Summerfield said the quarry operator’s comments were positive, relating to stability, power and modes, and the ability to “better operationally blend prior to haul unit loading”. According to Summerfield, quarry manager Peter Brewer said that he was happy with the AE process from start to finish – from consultation to tendering to purchase.

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