Mining smartly with Ctrack

Mining smartly with Ctrack’s bespoke solutions

As the mining industry has progressed, become more sophisticated, and more reliant on machinery, the need for precise control of moveable assets has increased drastically.

Ctrack have a long history of managing movable assets and their locally built hardware has proven to be ideal for harsh mining conditions, along with a variety of bespoke software solutions.

“The mining industry is a major contributor to the country’s GDP and a massive job creator. Ctrack understands the importance of this industry and pride ourselves in being able to deliver tailor made solutions that help this industry remain profitable, compliant, and efficient,” says Hein Jordt, Chief Executive Officer of Ctrack Africa.

Mining operations rely on a wide variety of vehicles and the operation of these vehicles is strictly regulated with specific licenses required for each type of vehicle as well as for vehicles with various load-carrying capabilities.

Drivers are required to complete specific training on each class of vehicle before being licensed. Each licence needs to be renewed on a yearly basis, and the renewal process includes a training refresher session. In addition, if an operator does not operate that class of machinery for a period of 180 days, their license expires and they need to attend a training session to ensure that they are current, before that licence is reinstated.

These complex licensing requirements mean that driver management with a large team of operators across a wide variety of machinery is an extremely complex task.

Ctrack have developed a system where drivers are able to use the same ID card that they do for functions like access control to manage vehicle operation. The ID card contains information on all the vehicles that an operator is licensed to operate and needs to be swiped before a vehicle can be started. When the driver is trained and licensed for any additional classes of vehicles, it is automatically added to their profile, by means of the same access card.

This system ensures that fleet managers know exactly who is driving which vehicle and when and compiles a digital record of all operations. Most importantly it ensures that only licensed drivers are operating the class of vehicles for which they are licensed. The system also eliminates one driver being allocated to more than one vehicle at a time.

Ctrack have made provision for extensive licensing categories and only drivers who are correctly licensed and with a valid license will be able to start and operate that particular machinery.

Daily reports will alert the fleet manager of licenses that are nearing their expiry date, which assists with booking of necessary training and license renewals and minimises driver downtime.

Ctrack’s SMILE technology, which is a proprietary scripting language, allows for the development of very specific software solutions with an endless number of options and in the mining industry it allows for the creation of completely bespoke solutions.

Dust management is an important factor in a successful and compliant mining operation. Specially designed bowsers are utilised to spray a water and glue combination on a variety of surfaces. However each of these surfaces requires a different mixture ratio and spray pattern and therefore centimetre precise control is needed as the bowser moves from one surface to the next. Using SMILE technology and precise GPS mapping Ctrack has been able to completely automate this process, which allows the driver to simply follow the prescribed route with the software controlled spraying equipment adjusting automatically according to predetermined parameters.

Another example of these specialised operations is where large bulldozers have to move and manoeuvre coal towards ‘coal valves’, through which this raw material gets placed on a conveyor belt. Due to the limited visibility from within these vehicles and the fact that they are moving around heaps of coal, steering safely and efficiently can be rather complicated. By implementing and utilising precise geo zones, the driver is assisted via a series of warning lights as they get closer to the depositing location, which assists them in carefully completing the operation without incident.

Furthermore, geo zones allow for easy management of speed and stop street violations as well as the monitoring of vehicles being stopped in unauthorised locations. The information gained is passed on to drivers as part of their regular training regime.

Ctrack’s fleet management system is also able to seamlessly integrate with a variety of vehicles through the vehicles CAN bus or other inputs, allowing operators and fleet managers to get a clear picture of exactly how the vehicle is used, with all the relevant information displayed on one easy to use platform. This includes monitoring of engine performance, fuel consumption, hours used as well as any hardware installed such as breathalysers or cameras. Functionality examples include on board weighing, production and cycle counts, which are invaluable in managing factors such as overloading and half loads and in that manner ensuring that assets are used as efficiently as possible.

Mining operations often occur on large sites in remote areas making the ability to have eyes on a large fleet of vehicles vital to an efficient operation. Ctrack offer a variety of hardware that allows for effective tracking of any movable assets, from large dump trucks to non-powered equipment like trailers.

Managing a large fleet in a dynamic environment such as a mine requires specialised fleet management expertise. Ctrack’s Bureau service gives these clients access to highly trained fleet managers, who monitor all data 24/7 allowing them to proactively assist in managing these sophisticated operations and to tailor solutions to each specific operation as and when the need arises.

“The use of Ctrack’s fleet management system has been proven to ensure control of costs relating to fuel, productivity, as well as improving the way in which vehicles are used which ensures compliance, increases productivity and reduces accidents, all of which are critical in running a successful mining operation,” concludes Jordt.