Monitoring solutions provider MineWare this month announced the launch of its Argus wheel loader monitoring system in Australia and the US, with a global roll-out to follow this year to meet industry demand.
“The omnipresent wheel loader plays an important role in heavy minerals mining and its profitability,” says MineWare Africa VP Mark Stevens.
He explains that the monitoring system, as an extension of the Argus shovel monitoring system, was designed for mining operations and “adapted to meet the needs of various wheel loader operations”.
Field trials for the monitoring system began in late 2018 and continued in 2019 with two of the large tier-one miners in the Australian iron-ore sector. The trials included three Western Australian mine sites in total, with positive results.
The company subsequently received strong interest from its mining customers in Africa, and positive feedback around expectations of the value that the monitoring system would deliver.
He enthuses that the system will be available to MineWare’s African mining clients by late 2020, adding that customers have aligned their capital budget forecasts accordingly.
“Building on the success of our world- leading Argus and Pegasys monitoring systems for electric rope shovels, hydraulic excavators and draglines, the monitoring system was developed to meet the growing demand from customers to improve efficiency, effectiveness and payload accuracy across their large wheel loader fleets,” he says.
Additionally, the Argus shovel has a proven productivity payback of up to 16%, with customers reporting significant return on investment within six months. Stevens points out that the Argus WL is expected to produce similar payback improvements.
Developed on an open source Internet of Things platform, the interoperable system works on any original-equipment manufacturer machine and integrates seamlessly with third-party production software.
The monitoring system achieves this by weighing each bucket in real time, without the need to stop and calculate payload before dumping the load.
MineWare understands from customers that the latter is an impractical practice required when using similar systems. “This results in the loss of valuable production time, as the calculation process is repeated with every bucket load,” says Stevens.
The mining value chain depends on achieving continuous improvement in safety and productivity and Stevens suggests that, regardless of the size of an enterprise, the need to constantly improve continues to drive performance across all operations.
The Argus is an independent, aftermarket wheel loader monitoring system suitable for all wheel loaders, applications and industries, says Stevens, adding that it is well suited to the African mining environment.
Stevens points out that MineWare offers training packages for new operations, as well as refresher training for existing operations. However, he notes that MineWare’s systems require minimal training, owing to its intuitive, operator-friendly in-cab touchscreen.
“We design and build our systems with the needs of machine operators front of mind, drawing upon our own extensive knowledge and experience gained in the field.”
He adds that the company limits the amount of training needed because it understands that an operator’s main focus is to complete the job successfully and efficiently – not to scroll through multiple screens or use valuable time trying to determine what is on the screen.
“At MineWare, we push the boundaries on what we can deliver to customers – whether through our own product development . . . or the integration with other mining systems, tools and processes.”
He adds that the company embraces system interoperability and continues to expand its partner network to create new, integrated opportunities for customers to increase productivity while reducing cost per tonne.
Stevens says the monitoring system leverages MineWare’s 15 years’ worth of experience in ground engagement equipment monitoring, productivity improvement and payload optimisation to create a purpose-built system.
“Talking to our customers, we knew that the best way to improve their wheel loader productivity was to empower their operators with better access to real-time, actionable information through a single platform that integrates with their existing software,” he said.
“The monitoring system takes productivity monitoring for wheel loaders to a new level by working smarter, not harder, to get the job completed successfully.”