Are You Getting All The Benefits From Your Fleet Management System?

Automatic fleet dispatching has been around for many years, but most fleet management systems either don’t have it or only have rudimentary versions. As a result, most mines with fleet management systems are not achieving the real benefits and are just running a very expensive production reporting system. In theory, automatic fleet dispatching should deliver the following benefits:

  • Higher (optimized) truck and loader utilization
  • Great levels of production
  • Lower fuel and maintenance costs

However, our team finds that in many cases the results are wasteful loader hangs and long truck queues.

A good Fleet Management System avoids these situations

One of the big values of a good fleet management system is its automatic dispatching. However, many systems either don’t have automatic dispatching or the ones they do have do not improve the production. Not all automatic dispatching systems are the same. They vary widely in capabilities and effectiveness.

For this reason, most mines that have automatic dispatching in their fleet management system, turn them off – either all or part of the time, because they cause more problems than they solve.

Without a good automatic dispatching system, many mines minimize loader “hangs” by adding more trucks. This is a very expensive way to compensate for bad fleet dispatching. So, without good automatic dispatching, the user ends up with just a very expensive production reporting system.

Achieving The Benefits

Let’s look at how a good automatic dispatching system can deliver greater benefits for ideal fleet management:

Higher Truck and Loader Utilization

The main objective of an automatic dispatching system is to minimize truck queues, loader hangs, and travel distances. It does this by running real-time predictive modeling of the mining operation by constantly being aware of:

  • Location, activity, and status of every truck and loader.
  • Estimated travel times on location, route, and speed
  • Actual loading times for each loader (type of loader and operator speed)
  • Estimating, based on real-time data, of the time for each truck cycle including loading, hauling, tipping, travelling, queuing, positioning, and loading.
  • Road status: closed, open, one-way.

Then it takes this data and “optimizes” the dispatching of trucks from the dumps to the loader. In an ideal fleet management situation, you get “just in time loading” where a new truck arrives at the loader just as the previously truck is pulling away.

Greater Production and Lower Fuel Costs

By having better and more efficient automatic dispatching, the results are higher production because there is less truck and loader idle time.

Also, the bigger the fleet, the higher the savings can be. Our studies show that the implementation of our MineLink fleet management system can increase productivity by up to 16%.

How It Is Supposed To Work

At its core a good automatic dispatching system is a constantly running real-time simulation of the mining operation. It is not only looking at the current situation, but also into the future – when will that truck arrive, when will that loading be finished, what trucks are already in route to that loader, etc.? By predicting the future condition, it can make intelligent decisions on where to send the truck to meet the higher production objective. This simulation is a highly complicated mathematical artificial intelligence process that “learns” as it is running.

Further to this, as conditions change, for example, equipment breaks down, or roads close, or a loader operator is slower than predicted, the system immediately adjusts. This is the feedback loop. It not only does this at a dump, but also while the truck is in route – throughout a truck’s travels, the simulation is constantly being updated to see if the original assignment is still the most productive, or whether it would be better to go somewhere else.

Why Is Minelink’s Automatic Dispatcher The Best?

SNCTechnologies‘ Intelligent Automatic Dispatch System is the best in the industry because:

  • It achieves the objectives of:
    • Optimized truck and loader utilization
    • Great levels of production
    • Lower fuel and maintenance costs
  • Looks at real-time conditions instead of just trying to meet pre-set loader/truck ratios.
  • Constantly updates the truck assignments based on real-time conditions.
  • Considers material and other priorities.

SNCTechnologies are the industry experts – with years of experience and constant innovation in high-tech mining solutions, we offer excellence in productivity, efficiency and service in mining fleet management systems.

Ken Grant
President Director PT. SatNetCom

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