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Data collected from Komatsu mining trucks will be analysed by GE to provide recommendations for improving efficiency.
Data collected from Komatsu mining trucks will be analysed by GE to provide recommendations for improving efficiency.

Efficiency to be boosted by ‘big data’ analysis

A plant and equipment supplier has teamed up with a technology solutions provider to help mining companies reduce costs and boost operational efficiency.

Komtrax, the remote monitoring system integrated into Komatsu’s mining and construction machinery, allows operators to track the position and status of their fleet.

Komatsu’s machines are part of a growing global network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software and sensors that provide greater value and service by exchanging data with manufacturers, operators, other machines and connected devices.

In a new partnership with GE, Komatsu will leverage the information collected through this technology to provide “big data” analysis services for its mining customers.

“With the current downward pressures on commodity prices, mining companies are looking for innovative ways to reduce their operating and running costs, while optimising productivity and machine performance,” Komatsu Australia managing director Sean Taylor explained.

“Existing data analysis capabilities already available through Komatsu allow fuel efficiency to be improved by five per cent through more efficient truck scheduling and haul road management. Now, by harnessing [this] technology, combined with GE’s big data analysis capabilities, we can lift that figure to significantly greater than 10 per cent, potentially saving millions of dollars a year per mine in fuel and other costs.”

Komatsu will send operational data collected from sensors attached to its mining dump trucks to a GE data centre in the US, where it will be processed to provide information such as recommendations on optimal truck routes and positioning, and speed and braking requirements based on the terrain and site conditions.

“There will also be flow-on benefits in terms of optimising production, reducing equipment wear and tear, and maximising machine uptime,” Taylor added. “By giving our mining customers access to such detailed operating information, Komatsu and GE together will provide opportunities for customers to reduce fuel and power usage, as well as optimising shipments between mines and ports. We believe we can also help lower costs by reducing the stockpile volumes and holding times.”

It was said the concept had been successfully trialled at a copper mine in South America over the past year.

Komatsu has previously collaborated with GE. GE Mining has long supplied electric drive systems to Komatsu and in February last year the two companies formed a joint venture to develop a new generation of underground mining equipment.

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