Reducing Variability with Digital Mining

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We ran across a recent article featuring McKinsey's Richard Sellschop, talking about using digital technologies to reduce variability in mining. Reducing variability can lead to improvements in productivity or reductions in cost. Sellschop emphasizes that such change is not just about the tech. Organizations need to ask themselves: What processes need to change? How should incentives change? What capabilities do we need?

We agree. Here's our little secret: our product SmartRView was not even a thought in our heads until our customers started demanding a way to accurately measure fuel consumption. Here’s how the data flows, with the Blutip SmartRView unit installed on mobile haul trucks or other equipment:

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We then started realizing the impact that a cloud-based, fuel-system driven measurement suite could have on the entire mine, namely:

  • Quantify production and efficiency impacts of any change to mobile mining operation

  • Reduce variability in driver behavior

  • New insights into scheduled and condition-based maintenance

  • Better informed procurement decisions

  • Efficiency insights for mine planning

And then, after collecting the data for years, we realized that reducing variability is, indeed, hugely important to a mining operation. At one large Latin American coal miner, we collected data on fuel, vertical travel, payload, distance over ground haul cycle times, and engine speed at load dump and on grade. 

High variability in average dump RPM within operators at a single mine site.

High variability in average dump RPM within operators at a single mine site.


What we found is that there can be high variability in the engine RPM at which truck operators dump their loads, even when the drivers are given a "not to exceed" RPM target, as shown above. Measuring and reporting this variability, and providing feedback, coaching, and incentives to achieve the goals can drive immediate efficiency boosts. Other metrics such as idle time and gear selection can also be measured using SmartRView to provide a more complete picture of operator behaviour and resulting fuel efficiency.

Ready to reduce variability in operator behaviour and drive efficiencies throughout your mine site? Contact us and we'll get started today.