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Quarry manager Andrew Nicholas at Holcim’s Bohle Quarry in Townsville.
Quarry manager Andrew Nicholas at Holcim’s Bohle Quarry in Townsville.

Telematics system delivers for ring road project

The adoption of on-board weighing and reporting technology for real-time visibility of site operations has enabled a quarry operation to successfully bypass its weighbridge and significantly increase its productivity to deliver on a major
infrastructure project without interruption to normal operations.

Holcim’s Bohle Quarry in Townsville is one of 300 quarries operated by Holcim in Australia. The company, a subsidiary of global company LafargeHolcim, is a leading supplier of aggregates, concrete and concrete pipe and products that has been operating in Australia since 1901. Holcim’s passion for delivering innovative solutions for its customers is one of its core values and through the adoption of Trimble technology, Bohle Quarry is certainly embracing this value.

CHALLENGE AND SOLUTION
A full Trimble Connected Site tracks productivity, utilisation and location across all earthmoving equipment on the construction site, all production loaders in the quarries and all trucks transporting materials to the project site.
A full Trimble Connected Site tracks productivity, utilisation and location across all earthmoving equipment on the construction site, all production loaders in the quarries and all trucks transporting materials to the project site.

Townsville Ringroad Section Four (TRR4) is the final stage of a major upgrade project in central Queensland. The project will significantly reduce congestion on local roads, increase the movement of traffic to and from Townsville’s port, as well as future proof the area for urban and industrial expansion. The project involves lengthening and widening the current road plus construction of a new dual carriageway.

The alignment for the dual carriageway for TRR4 is across old swamp land which means it is not a standard cut to fill earthworks project, but instead a 100 per cent import job requiring all materials to be sourced from local quarries.

Civil contractor Seymour Whyte realised during the bid process that the key to success for all involved in the project would be the speed at which it could import and compact the fill. To achieve this, the company would be dependent not only on its own productivity but the productivity of the quarries and haulage company. To be successful, constant visibility across all activities including construction, extraction, haulage and placing of materials would be absolutely necessary.

Traditional methods to track this activity relied on daily reports from the quarry weighbridge plus an on-site spotter who manually collected the paper dockets and recorded information about the location and frequency of material placement.

However, the size and scope of this project challenged these traditional methods and called for technology for maximum success.

A technology partnership going back a decade saw Seymour Whyte turn to the expertise of local Trimble distributor SITECH Construction Systems (SITECH CS) whose advice was to implement a full Trimble Connected Site to track productivity, utilisation and location across all earthmoving equipment on the construction site, all production loaders at the quarries and all trucks transporting materials to the project site. All the information is pulled together into a cloud reporting tool which gives all parties involved the real-time information they needed to make quick and effective decisions to drive productivity and efficiency.

Through the use of this technology, Bohle Quarry’s productivity has increased dramatically.
Through the use of this technology, Bohle Quarry’s productivity has increased dramatically.

“We’re always looking for ways to push the boundaries and deliver the best to our customers,” Bohle Quarry manager Andrew Nicholas declared. “Given I was already familiar with, and interested in, Trimble technology and some of our loaders already had Trimble Loadrite weighing systems installed, I wanted to see what this technology could deliver for our operations.”

Seymour Whyte won the TRR4 contract and, in turn, Bohle Quarry, along with Black River Quarry, won the work to
supply the material.

Nicholas gave the go-ahead for two wheel loaders and all haul trucks to be installed with Trimble telematics technology to track their location, utilisation and productivity. Trimble’s “legal for trade” Loadrite weighing system was also installed on the two wheel loaders. This information is fed into the cloud reporting tools InsightHQ and VisionLink through which

Nicholas can access real-time reporting on any device.

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

The technology adopted by Holcim enables managers and operators to see the data relevant to their role. This has enabled quarry manager Nicholas to make quick and accurate operational decisions and is also lifting the productivity of operators through driving a culture of healthy competition.

“Having this information about operations on my iPhone is absolutely light years ahead in this industry,” Nicholas said. “I can see everything in real-time from number of loads to the location of loaders and trucks, as well as material type being loaded and the weight. I might take a look and see that all the trucks are queuing at one loader while there are other loaders free and, because I have that visibility, I can quickly fix the issue and keep things moving.

“The loader operators have never had this sort of visibility before either and it’s really lifted their motivation,” Nicholas continued. “They’re naturally competitive so they’re coming in at the end of their shift, looking at the results and discussing what went well or what could be done to improve the next shift’s performance.”

Through the use of this technology, Bohle Quarry has been able to supply TRR4 without interrupting normal operations and its productivity has increased dramatically.

Between March and May, the quarry exported 300,000 tonnes of material. At this time, the operation began supplying TRR4 and, over the following three months, it exported 1.2 million tonnes – a fourfold increase in productivity.

Bohle Quarry’s biggest day saw it export 15,600 tonnes to TRR4, equating to about 488 loads transported, compared with its anticipated targets of 6000 tonnes in a day.

BYPASSING THE WEIGHBRIDGE

The largest change for Holcim has been a shift away from using the traditional weighbridge system.

“Bypassing the weighbridge was at first difficult to comprehend – you’re talking about a tried and tested system that is at the core of your safety, compliance, finance and administration,” Nicholas explained. “But, after a while of using the Trimble system in conjunction with the weighbridge, we could see that it was accurate and with confidence TRR4 material supply began operating solely off the Trimble data.”

Bypassing the weighbridge has seen a time saving of up to three minutes per truck per trip that means trucks are cycling through faster and the quarry can deliver more loads per day to the construction site. The impact of this on Bohle Quarry’s productivity over a period of a few months has been very significant.

Given this technology is challenging the traditional way of operating a quarry, Nicholas had to present to Holcim’s senior management the benefits of using Trimble’s “legal for trade” Loadrite weighing system on the wheel loaders.

“Some of them have been quarry managers so they know the ins and outs,” Nicholas said. “Their main focus was on providing the desired service to Seymour Whyte.

“When they came to visit, I was able to show them real time operational KPIs that confirmed Holcim was supplying the correct products at the best possible service levels. They could immediately see the huge opportunity for Holcim to offer more value to its customers.

“This was a huge step for us so we’ve needed a lot of support and SITECH CS has been a great partner on this journey,” Nicholas continued. “The team from the Townsville office as well as their head office in Brisbane have been on the ground with us every step of the way while also supporting Seymour Whyte and the other companies involved in the project.”

ON-SITE INTELLIGENCE

Nicholas confessed he is now a complete convert to Trimble’s telematics suite and has just paid for another loader to be fitted with the technology. But that’s not the end of it.

“At the moment, Bohle Quarry is just using Trimble technology for their TRR4 operations, so we are working with it towards further adoption of the Trimble Connected Site,” SITECH CS’s corporate account manager Brent Daniel explained.

“As well as fitting additional loaders and trucks with technology, we are also looking at applying technology for greater on-site intelligence, so Andrew doesn’t just know what has happened but why it has happened.”

Nicholas has also expressed real interest in Unmanned Aerial System (UAS, or drone) technology for better inventory management.

Holcim’s Bohle Quarry is most certainly a quarry to watch, as it continues to invest in technology to stay true to its value of delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers.

Source: Trimble Loadrite/SITECH CS











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Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 12:42am
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