In mining and other extractive industries, it is important to match excavators to your haul trucks to lower your total cost of ownership (TCO). If they are mismatched, you will be inefficient and burn extra fuel. If you can mitigate that, you’ll lower your operating costs over time and start realising higher profits as a result.
Below are some tips to help you properly size your haulers and mining excavators, plus ways to ensure you’re getting the most of the construction and mining machines you run each day.
CORRECTLY SIZING HAULERS, EXCAVATORS
There are tools out there to help you size and pair machines depending on your unique set-up and situations. In most instances, Volvo Construction Equipment’s Site Simulation tool can be adopted to look at the job, the haul roads, the total distance, the time constraints and the material that needs to be moved. That information is used by CJD Equipment to right-size the truck fleet to the excavator to increase an operator’s efficiency on the job. While many customers already know what they want, they can still be steered in the right direction as CJD talks more about their unique set-up. For example, if a single A60H haul truck can match (or even increase) production over two A45s, they can potentially reduce their fleet size, optimise their workforce and so on.
Construction weight and excavator calculators can help producers uncover costs and savings they may not realise up front. Volvo CE utilises a proprietary sales toolbox with customers alongside its dealers. These worksheets calculate TCO on a machine, allow customers to select different specifications for certain machines (eg buckets, boom configuration, etc), calculate fuel consumption, the number of passes to fill a hauler, and more. It is a handy tool to ensure customer fleets are sized correctly for the type of work at hand.
GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR MACHINES
Once you have your haulers and excavators sized correctly, the following tips will help you get the most out of them:
- The most efficient way to load a truck — for the fastest cycle times — is side loading. Don’t waste time, fuel and money backing in and manoeuvring your trucks. If you can set up your site to side load, you’ll experience faster cycle times and lower operating costs over time.
- When loading the bucket, make sure you have good, heaped loads go in the truck, and utilise the bed as much as possible. It is best practice to evenly distribute the load across the bed. You want to feather the material into the truck — not just dump it in. When you feather it, it won’t have that “splat” effect that usually leads to material sticking to the bed. This is especially true in sticky clay situations.
- Configure your mining excavators appropriately with boom and arm options. Some customers prefer a longer reach, while others want as big a bucket as possible to load more material, which requires a shorter boom and shorter arm. The most popular compromise between reach and the bigger bucket approach is a hybrid — a standard boom and short arm. The advantage of a hybrid configuration is that reach isn’t reduced that much (only about one-third of a metre), but lifting capacity can be increased by eight percent or more. Obviously, there’s give and take with different arm and boom configurations, so it is important to configure your excavator for the type of work you’re doing, then ensure your haul trucks are appropriately matched.
- Use on-board weighing scales to improve accuracy. Volvo CE offers Haul Assist on-board weighing, which comes standard on A30G through to A60H models. With other manufacturers, the scales aren’t standard equipment, so you’ll want to be sure to ask about what operator assist tools are available. The Haul Assist scales help operators see each loading cycle. The lights on the end of the mirrors on the truck are indicators. Yellow means put more material in the bed, green is perfectly loaded, and red is overloaded. Operators can always tell exactly where they are at in the loading cycle as far as the actual bed capacity. Anywhere from 90 per cent to 110 per cent of the bed capacity is considered a perfect load.
- Working with an OEM and a dealer who have parts on hand and can react quickly is critical because if you have a large machine go down, you’re dead in the water. Your support will be even faster when you use telematics systems to diagnose and take care of problems before they become catastrophic issues.
If your operation moves a lot of material and you’re looking to gain some efficiencies in your cycle times, you might also consider pairing up an EC950E excavator with A60H haulers. You’ll move more tonnes, keep your haulers moving and do it without burning excessive fuel.
It has been nearly three decades since construction giant Volvo CE partnered with CJD Equipment. This successful partnership has supplied Australia with Volvo’s world-class products, along with outstanding after-market service and support right across the country.
CJD’s branch and dealer network spans the country from Australian capital cities to regional country towns, providing 24/7 sales, parts and service support from more than 500 highly experienced staff with knowledge and skills.
For more information on CJD Equipment’s Volvo CE line-up and inventory, visit cjd.com.au