Anglo American doubles weekly cutting hours working with Komatsu's Smart Solutions team.
Partnering for performance, Komatsu's Smart Solutions team and Anglo American successfully implemented a predictive framework to optimise performance across a Joy longwall system at Anglo’s Moranbah North coal mine in Queensland. To help improve reliability and performance, the company engaged with Komatsu’s Smart Solutions team, who provide customised integrations of the company’s smart connected products and systems, advanced analytics and direct services, designed to help reduce cost per tonne and increase productivity.
Sensor-equipped products deliver data and analytics to Komatsu experts, who in turn provide direction, anticipate service needs and optimize machine productivity.
By working closely with Anglo American and using the analysis and integration of several data sources, the Smart Solutions team was able to develop an intrinsic and intimate understanding of the Moranbah North longwall operation and equipment performance.
“Data is just data, the differentiator is having the technical and operational expertise to identify constraints and therefore opportunities for improvement,” said Nigel Buttery, Remote Health Monitoring Manager, Komatsu. “You need the ability to clearly articulate your hypothesis, conclusions and recommendations in a clear, concise and meaningful way.”
Using data to produce a detailed understanding of the entire longwall operation was step one. The Komatsu experts relied on their experience in mine optimisation to pinpoint areas for improvement and recognise the relationships between potential causes of delay.
These recommendations were conveyed in weekly meetings, status reports and monthly snapshots that made the system’s functions clearly visible to the entire operation.
Through the partnership and detailed analysis, the team was able to recommend and validate changes to operating practices, parameter changes and even equipment design.
“Armed with accurate factual data, we can make the most informed decisions possible for the optimisation of the equipment and its operation in a given application,” said Buttery.
With Komatsu's contribution to a broad improvement initiative, Anglo averaged 111 longwall operating hours per week during the mining of a complete longwall block at Moranbah North Mine.
“While the operations team initially viewed Smart Solutions cautiously, thinking of it as a ‘Big Brother is watching approach’ it has become a service that has been embraced," said Dieter Haage, Head of Mining Excellence, Underground, Anglo American Coal’s operations.
Supported by the partnership, the mine doubled the number of cutting hours per week, and increased cut rates by 15%.
“Given this improvement in transparency of condition and performance, the foundation is in place to move toward with a preventative and proactive action strategy to improve performance, with the goal of becoming the benchmark operation in longwall mining,” said Haage.