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Heavy Mining Machinery Incurs High Maintenance Costs

01/10/2018

Heavy Mining Machinery Incurs High Maintenance Costs

Unlike automobiles for conventional road use, the heavy machines employed in mining such as excavators, must be able to negotiate rough landscape and harsh environments. Additionally, on-site maintenance and repairs require highly skilled technicians, which generates substantial costs.

By Chen, Yu-feng with images provided by Advantech

     Mines are often located in remote areas. In such demanding geological environments, even the slightest mistake when operating heavy machinery can result in injury, financial loss and worse. Additionally, the provision of on-site maintenance and repair services necessitates the employment of highly skilled technicians which generates substantial cost. Therefore, for mine operators, preventative measures against these risks are preferable to cures. 

     To address these requirements, smart monitoring devices are being increasingly developed for the various heavy machines employed in mines. These monitoring devices are designed to record relevant statistics and instantly identify and report abnormal conditions in order to improve safety. So considering all the industry demands, Digital Instincts Teknologi (DIT) and Trakindo collaborated to create a remote engine monitoring system for their Cat® 6030 excavator. TREK-570 Built to Withstand Harsh Operating Environments DIT is a systems integration consultancy company located in Jakarta, Indonesia that offers various tools to assist clients in complying with mining and energy laws and regulations required by the Indonesian government. Trakindo is an Indonesian heavy equipment solutions provider that supplies machines made by Caterpiller. Cat® 6030 features an 1140 kW (1,530 hp) engine output and a maximum operating weight of 300 metric tons, and is Caterpillar’s widely employed and bestselling hydraulic excavator.

TREK-570 Built to Withstand Harsh Operating Environments 

     DIT is a systems integration consultancy company located in Jakarta, Indonesia that offers various tools to assist clients in complying with mining and energy laws and regulations required by the Indonesian government. Trakindo is an Indonesian heavy equipment solutions provider that supplies machines made by Caterpiller. Cat® 6030 features an 1140 kW (1,530 hp) engine output and a maximum operating weight of 300 metric tons, and is Caterpillar’s widely employed and bestselling hydraulic excavator.

     Under DIT and Trakindo’s combined effort, a remote engine monitoring system has been successfully integrated into Caterpillar’s Cat® 6030 excavator that provides diverse capabilities, including remote engine monitoring, instant reports/alarm notifications, real-time statistical data updates and cloud access for constant engine monitoring. 

     In order to deliver these capabilities and withstand the environmental extremes, the vehicle computer installed in the system had to satisfy a number of stringent standards. DIT Chief Technology Officer Kenny Marchel pointed out that, “The vehicle computer employed for this system needed to have powerful yet flexible processing capabilities and unique features such as high stability, extreme temperature tolerance, and water and anti-vibration resistance. The TREK-570 in-vehicle computer developed by Advantech offered all these features, making it the ideal system for our requirements.” 

     In-vehicle computing systems are designed to improve fleet management efficiency. Advantech’s TREK-570 is equipped with an Intel® Atom™ E3826 processer that ensures reliable operation, supports -30 ~ 70 °C wide temperature operation, and its anti-vibration and anti-impact features exceed MILSTD-810G and 5M3 standards. 

     Advantech’s TREK-570 is also equipped with multiple I/O ports for integrating tire pressure monitoring and video surveillance systems. Furthermore, the inclusion of CAN bus enabled instant detection of engine  problems. Marchel also emphasized that, “Because communication conditions differ between mining sites, in-vehicle computers must be designed to support diverse communication technologies to ensure the collection of various types of data for subsequent integration analysis.” With the introduction of this system, mining managers can obtain instant status reports, significantly improving data digitization.

     Using a range of communication technologies, including WWAN, WLAN, Bluetooth, satellites and GPS, TREK-570 is able to transmit data such as vehicle information and status, location, driver behavior, images and cargo to the back-end server for monitoring and realtime management, and thus serve as a highly functional fleet management system.

Enhanced Technical Support and Streamlined System Integration 

     In only two months, Advantech’s TREK-570 in-vehicle computing systems were installed in 40 Cat® 6030 excavators, which were distributed among four mines (10 machines per mine). Marchel stated, “Because Cat® 6030 machines can be widely employed in a variety of mines, the integration of TREK-570 will be ongoing. Therefore, we expect to continue our long-term cooperation with Advantech.”

     “From among the count less vehicle hardware companies currently operating, we choose to collaborate with Advantech because of its products’ stability, low maintenance and repair costs, and competitive price compared to similar American and German products”, Marchel asserted, elaborating that, “Advantech’s invehicle computer is a product with a high priceperformance ratio. Furthermore, Advantech provides comprehensive service and premium technical support to ensure efficient system integration. These are the main reasons that we decided to establish a collaborative partnership with Advantech.”