Why Independent Field Testing Matters

mining trucks for evaluation.jpg

When you're buying a mining haul truck, dozer, or loader worth millions of dollars, you want to be sure you're purchasing the right truck for your operation. That's why head-to-head field trials of different manufacturers' trucks, in actual field conditions, can be so valuable. Especially if those trials are conducted by an independent third party.

Sure, you could read and compare the manufacturer's fuel efficiency reports. But what if one manufacturer's results were obtained in an air-conditioned, flat, dirt-filled warehouse, and another's were produced from outdoor trials in a hilly environment? Results, and optimal tray loading, depend very heavily on the ratio of inclined to flat haul and the slope of mine ramps. These two trial scenarios would thus produce quite different results.  Each manufacturer will also do their best to market their trucks, and their data, in the best possible light, making the data difficult to compare without independent analysis.

Accurate fuel consumption and efficiency data captured during field trials using machines from different manufacturers can inform procurement decisions and increase bargaining power for the purchaser.  A side-by-side efficiency trial in the target mine is the gold standard for technology evaluation. The decision made at the time of purchase will impact fleet efficiency possibly for decades. The value of these trials can be measured in terms of the benefits delivered, or an informed decision not to purchase.

Results of haul truck testing at an African gold mine, showing a 19% performance penalty for the 3rd truck.

Results of haul truck testing at an African gold mine, showing a 19% performance penalty for the 3rd truck.

Blutip's SmartRFuel platform has a lengthy history of quantifying the performance of haul trucks, fuel additives, and other products.  For example, third-party offerings such as premium diesel fuels and petrochemical additives for Big-6 oil and gas producers have been evaluated with the SmartRFuel platform. 

Another example comes from our Latin American coal mine customer that reduces production during drier periods in order to reduce the creation of dust.  Trucks operating at the lowest efficiency and those approaching a major maintenance interval were selected in order to maximize the reduction in operating cost associated with the rationalization.  By including the 12 least efficient haul trucks in the set of parked vehicles, the operating efficiency of the fleet was immediately improved by 3%.    

How does it work? A meter body, sensor pack, and measurement controller collect a variety of data associated with fuel usage on each truck, in actual field conditions:  loading, incline, route, engine temperature, etc. That data is then streamed to the analytics unit, which develops models relating fuel use to pit depth, ramp grade, distance from processing, equipment age, and the like.

SmartRView data analytics portal.

SmartRView data analytics portal.

The SmartRFuel platform is well-equipped to facilitate side-by-side testing of haul trucks in field conditions. It features GPS, vehicle network connectivity, motion and altitude sensing, store-and-forward, and WAN connectivity. It also enables remote monitoring and logging, remote control of operations, internet-based analysis and statistical reporting.

These models facilitate better operational decisions, such as when to repair equipment or retire it, which manufacturer's haul trucks or other equipment to purchase, which fuel additives are most effective, or which drivers need re-training.

Don't just trust one manufacturer's test data over another. Get independent analysis of truck performance in real field conditions. Contact us to get started on a trial today.