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mining equipment productivity

mining equipment-maker improves productivity, safety with heavy-duty positioners

mining equipment-maker improves productivity, safety with heavy-duty positioners

Joy Global Underground Mining LLC, a subsidiary of Komatsu Mining Corp., provides essential mining equipment and systems to companies worldwide to extract fundamental minerals for developing modern infrastructure, technology, and consumer products.

As a large company manufacturing large equipment and frames of different sizes, Komatsu needed a positioner with a heavy capacity. Turning the frames took a minimum of 30 min. and required three to four workers using cranes, so the company wanted to improve productivity as well as safety. In early 2019 Joe Nara, sales service manufacturing coordination manager for Komatsus crushing business, started searching for a positioner on the internet.

Nara found ALM just at the time ALM was developing its Heavy Duty (HD) line of positioners, with capacities from 75,000 to 125,000 lbs. Komatsu purchased two 100,000-lb. headstock with adjustable rail tailstock positioners.

Even with such a heavy capacity, the footprint of the positioner did not take up a lot of floor space. The ALM positioner has a significantly smaller footprint than its competitors, even at such a high capacity, said Nara. Since we did not have the required amount of concrete, we had to add a 3-in. plate to anchor the positioner directly to the floor. Even with that plate, the footprint is still small.

The positioners are structurally designed to a 3-to-1 safety factor and feature safety scanners that protect the operator while the machine is in motion. The safety scanner is by far the top benefit. Using the Keyence safety scanners with the positioners has helped us tremendously, Nara explained.

The next benefit would be that we can move frames through our line faster. The positioner keeps our cost down, and having a high-capacity positioner means that it can be used with the wide range of frames with which we work.

It now takes about four minutes to lift the frame to the top and rotate it 360 degrees and back down, Nara continued. The guys out in the shop feel much safer using the positioners instead of a crane. Plus, using positioners frees up the overhead crane for other parts of the facility. Nara said using the positioners has saved around 100 hours per frame, a significant improvement.

We use these positioners as a part of our selling strategy, which in itself is important. We love bringing our customers into our facility to show them how the frame is coming out; they are instantly impressed. When they come in, they see the benefits of the positioners, particularly that their frames are getting completed faster, Nara said. The president and vice president of our division were also very impressed when they came in for a tour. It was nice to see that their reaction was so positive. Showing them where we had made improvements, not only from a production standpoint but safety as well, made it clear that purchasing the positioners was worth the investment.

digging deeper: path to increased mining equipment productivity | cummins inc

digging deeper: path to increased mining equipment productivity | cummins inc

Lets define productivity as getting the job done faster. Increased mining equipment productivity helps miners do more with less. In the mining business, productivity is sometimes less space allocated to an engine, leaving extra room for more payload. Sometimes, it is less time for mine haul trucks to accelerate, thus maximizing the number of trips a day.

Miners have several opportunities to improve the productivity of mining equipment and machinery. This article focuses on two specific opportunities to improve the equipment productivity. These are most relevant to equipment ranging from haul trucks to excavators that operate among different types of mining.

The longer miners can run their mining equipment, the higher their productivity is. In most cases, mining equipment operates near continuously through days, weeks and months. This creates the need for periodic maintenance events for filters, fluids and beyond. In this quest towards higher equipment productivity, even these periodic planned maintenance events are open to questioning.

Dawson coal mine in Queensland, Australia had firsthand experience of productivity gains. A 74% reduction of maintenance hours, with the use of new filter and telematics technologies from Cummins Inc. A combination of advanced analytics and telematics have helped the mine operator extend service intervals for fuel, lube, water and air filters and for lube oil.

Miners are familiar with extreme conditions whether it is the elevation, temperature or accessibility. Miners also understand how these conditions impact the productivity of their mining equipment. For instance, reduced oxygen in high altitude locations result in losses in engine power. Loss of engine power could lead into more trucks doing the same work or slower progression of work. Neither are good solutions. More trucks would mean increased carbon footprint. Meanwhile, doing the work slower means low machine productivity.

Cummins engines accept the challenge of extreme conditions in a variety of applications at Chinas largest copper mine site. Julong Copper Mine is located at an altitude of 5,500 meters, higher than the base camp for Mt. Everest. The mine features over 65 Cummins engines powering excavators, dump trucks, power generators, drillings and bulldozers. Haul trucks powered by Cummins QSK60 engines have continuous uptime in this severe environment. The productivity of these engines makes them the top engine of choice at Julong.

The mining industry will continue to find solutions to improve the productivity of its operations. Some of these, such as the extended maintenance intervals and engines capable to do more with less, will help miners both on sustainability and productivity fronts. This is a double gain for the industry, said Steve Cummins, Director of Mining Business at Cummins.

Wanting to deepen and broaden your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry. To learn more about mining power solutions Cummins offers, visit The Power of Cummins Mining.

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

In this article, the focus is another important aspect of the mining industry: capital expenditure (CapEx). CapEx is the mining companies investments in the products and technologies as part of their operations. It includes facility improvements, new mining equipment, and beyond.

The annual capital expenditure (CapEx) of the worlds top 40 mining companies is $78 billion1. This is about the same as the annual gross domestic production of Kenya or the Dominican Republic. In other words, every year these 40 mining companies invest into their operations the equivalent of a medium-sized countrys annual economic output.

In this article, you will find the dynamics linked to the change in the mining industrys CapEx in 2020. You will also find insights around the mining industrys CapEx outlook for 2021 and beyond. Lets start with a look at 2020.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) of the world decreased by over 4% in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. This was a much larger decrease compared to the 0.1% decrease during the 2008 financial crisis. GDP is a good indicator of overall economic activity; and a 4% decrease means less manufacturing of goods, and less use of minerals.

The amount of minerals extracted around the world remained flat to down in 2020. In the U.S., the total value of mine production decreased by 8% in 2020. Globally, coal production has decreased by 6%, according to the International Energy Agency. Meanwhile, the production of all non-fuel minerals went up just 2% in 20202. Reduced economic activity meant a decreasing need for minerals used in producing other goods.

In 2020, mineral production was impacted by COVID-19 related mine closures. Many mines needed to stay closed for weeks. Moreover, when they re-opened they had safety measures that slowed down the production.

In the light of reduced demand, the worlds largest miners have reduced their CapEx by a cumulative of over $7 billion in 20203. This CapEx reduction was no surprise, as the mineral extraction remained relatively flat for the year.

COVID-19 related closures had a two-pronged impact on CapEx. First was around mine closures. As mines worked less, the need for CapEx remained lower. Second was around operational challenges. Even while the mines were running, there were operational challenges in executing some activities tied to CapEx. For example, some investments within mines were delayed due to supply chain constraints.

Many economists agree that the worlds GDP will bounce back in 2021 by a 4% to 6% increase, then continue to stay positive in the following years. This means more production and an increased need for minerals and metals.

The strong GDP growth will likely translate into an increased need for minerals and metals, resulting in an increase in their production. There is always the question around whether there will be a lag between increased economic activity and increased mineral production. We expect the lag to be minimal and the overall mineral production to closely follow the increase in GDP. A key reason for this expectation is miners ability to leverage the existing capacity as the need for production emerges. One potential risk that could slow down miners bringing the capacity online is any regional restriction around employees coming back to sites due to the pandemic.

There is a much clearer linkage between GDP growth and increased mineral production. Meanwhile, the impact of increased mineral production on CapEx is not as clear. For instance, the amount of minerals produced have mostly been increasing since 2012. Yet, the mining industry has successfully decreased its CapEx four out of eight years.

In other words, the mining industry kept producing more while managing its capital expenditures. There were many means to accomplish this. Improving financial performance and reducing maintenance costs, increasing mining equipment productivity and boosting mining equipments efficiency have been three of these levers.

For 2021, it is much likely the mining industry will increase its CapEx, but with a varying pace of CapEx recovery. The 2021 CapEx of the mining industry would likely not increase as much as the decrease experienced in 2020. Instead, the CapEx increase in 2021 could be a portion of the decrease in 2020.

Beyond 2021, the shift in the focus of the mining industrys CapEx will also be more prominent. The change in the mining industrys CapEx would likely not be uniform across the production of different minerals. We expect the change in CapEx associated with the production of tech metals and rare earth elements to outpace the that of fossil fuels, such as coal. These tech metals and rare earth elements are frequently used in high tech devices that bring us the newest technologies. In fact, the global production of rare earth elements went up by 9% in 2020. Production of many other minerals went down or stayed flat during the same period.

References:1PwC (2019). Mine 2019: Resourcing the future [PDF document]. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/2United States Geological Survey (January 29, 2021). Mineral Commodity Summaries [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://pubs.usgs.gov/3S&P Global Market Intelligence (July 2020). Miners' Guidance Indicates 12% Capex Drop in 2020 Due to COVID-19 [Web article]. Retrieved from https://www.spglobal.com/

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

The Mining industry continues to apply various methods to improve its financial performance. Most recently, diversity and inclusion became two of the methods many miners turn to. Historically, the linkage between improved diversity and inclusion, and better financial performance has been more theoretical than quantifiable. Meanwhile, over the last decade, many companies have been able to demonstrate this connection through hard financial performance data.

For example, lets take the companies that are at the top quartile when it comes to diverse executive teams. According to McKinsey, these companies have a 36% higher likelihood of financially outperforming their peers. This study also included metals and mining companies.

Ralf Mueller, Mining Leader for Cummins Latin America isa native of Germany, has been in mines across five different continents through his 20 years in the mining industry. Mining is an exciting and high pace industry. I have enjoyed the most how well minings multi-cultural community is connected. A combination of this multi-cultural community and use of inclusion boosts the industrys innovations, says Mueller.

My heart sunk when I first heard it. A mine operator asking a mine haul truck manufacturer to buy a truck, but not to use our engine, recalls Mueller. There are no two ways about it; we had a problem, Mueller adds.

Mueller was asked to lead a rapid response team tasked to address the customers concerns with one of our products. We had a very diverse team, both visible diversity and intellectual diversity. We had team members from four different continents; different races, backgrounds and cultures, Mueller remembers. For all the years I have been working at Cummins and partnering with the mining industry,this was the pinnacle of seeing how inclusion and diversity can deliver improvements that yield measurable financial results, added Mueller.

This team, fueled with the power of inclusion, reduced the downtime associated with the engine by more than 60%. This resulted in multi-million dollar savings for the miners, mine-haul truck manufacturer and Cummins Inc.

When I look back and ask myself, what made the difference. It was a combination of two things. The teams inclusiveness in hearing each others perspectives and our sharp focus on solving the customer issue made all the difference, Mueller reflects back.

Lanre Ige, Vice President of Power Generation Solutions,entered the mining industry in 2016; a unique time because it was during the aftermath of the mining super cycle of the 2010s. For many, the massively-sized equipment is what draws them to mining. For me, those engineering marvels are amazing, but it is the emphasis that miners put in strategic partnerships, and relationships based on trust, and mutually delivered value that excites me the most about the mining industry, says Ige.

Ige has literally worked with all of the worlds top miners while leading Cummins Mining end-user accounts. These experiences also brought great examples of diversity and inclusion in the mining industry.

It was one perfect fall day in Columbus, Indiana. We were hosting a team from one of the worlds top miners for a discussion focused on technology and innovation, recalls Ige. We had lots of healthy debates around technology; lots of diverse thoughts were brought up, adds Ige. The team then went on to visit one of the Cummins engine plants. During the tour, our partner pulled me to the side. I didnt know what I should expect to hear, says Ige. They were amazed with how the female colleagues within our team play a pivotal role in our innovation efforts, how their inclusion felt so natural, and how we come across as one team, adds Ige.

It is great to see the mining industry recognize the role of diversity and inclusion in bringing technology innovations to life. What is even more exciting is how all miners are setting aggressive goals around achieving gender parity and improving diversity, says Ige.

With the exciting examples above, you might be asking yourself, How can I accelerate the diversity and inclusion journey within my organization? We have asked the same question to Eric Rogers, Executive Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Cummins. Cummins is frequently recognized for outstanding work in diversity and inclusion. Most recently, a partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston (U.S.) and Glassdoor found Cummins the No. 1 culture for diversity.

Here are Rogersthoughts on how to accelerate diversity and inclusion journey in your organization: First, share best practices on effective diversity, equity and inclusion programs among your organization. Second, pursue collaborative efforts with others beyond your organization to galvanize collective action, saysRogers.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Pad drilling has been around for over a decade across various drilling sites, and has already revolutionized drilling operations and the oil and gas industry overall. Its initial benefits around avoidance of cost associated with moving the drilling equipment was later coupled with increased hydrocarbon production, thanks to the ability to drill in batches. Today, pad drilling is the norm across many drilling sites.

Given how pad drilling has favorably impacted the operational expenses (OPEX) of drilling contractors and the oil and gas industry, you might be asking yourself: how can drillers further reduce OPEX, but also improve safety and sustainability?

Microgrids have already been in operation across many facilities ranging from healthcare campuses to mining sites. In a nutshell, a microgrid is a local energy system capable of producing (potentially storing), and distributing energy to the facilities and equipment within the network. You can find out how microgrids work and their benefits in our previous article.

At a drilling site, microgrids can help operators integrate renewable energy sources such as solar panels and windmills into their power generation mix. In this scenario, intelligent control systems track the demand of the drilling site, monitor the production of power through different assets, and make smart choices on which power producing assets to use when.

The immediate benefit of microgrids at a drilling site is sustainability, reducing the use of fossil fuels. The secondary advantage of microgrids at a drilling site is economics; since the use of renewables while they are available could reduce the OPEX for the drilling contractors.

Connectivity is already being deployed by many industries to address opportunities ranging from reliability to customer and product support. Our previous article details how connectivity and digitization solve different problems depending upon your power systems utilization profile.

For drilling pads, connectivity offers two-folded benefits. First is critical for every drilling contractor: safety. Thanks to the new digital products embedded in equipment including engines and power systems, the need for an actual driller to be on the rig during drilling is being minimized. Instead, the drillers can manage the majority of the operation from an office. Second benefit is around financials; with low risk comes the low cost associated with managing that risk, in the form of lower OPEX.

These connectivity solutions vary in their capabilities. The entry level systems offer remote monitoring and diagnostics; for example, your power systems oil pressure is low and here are possible causes. The more advanced systems offer condition-based-maintenance (CBM) and prognostics. These systems can notify operators before an issue rises, and can even recommend ways to mitigate the forecasted issue.

Today, diesel is the primary fuel used to power drilling operations, from the rigs to the nearby facilities and vehicles. Meanwhile, two technologies are increasingly becoming prominent to create drilling sites powered by a diverse set of fuels: dual fuel and hydrogen. The underlying benefit within dual fuel is the use of gaseous fuels in addition to diesel; which results in reduced OPEX and environmental impact. Use of hydrogen takes sustainability to the next level as the emission of any greenhouse gases is reduced drastically.

The oil and gas industry is well positioned to take advantage of technologies that have succeeded within other sectors in recent years. The tested and proofed nature of these technologies minimize the risk for the industry. Meanwhile, their benefits ranging from reduced OPEX and improved safety to reduced carbon footprint deliver tangible outcomes for the industry.

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems are not a new concept in every industry. The emissions regulation option first appeared in the on-highway space in 2012 and is slowly creeping into the industrial spaces. In the Oil & Gas industry, Cummins has made the switch to supporting EPA Tier 4 emissions standards by implementing SCR systems.

But making this advancement in such a mature industry can be a big change for both manufacturers and for customers. When the products have looked, operated, and felt the same way for decades, a change like this one can seem to disrupt daily functions. However, Cummins is here to dispel any myths or misunderstandings about SCR systems that could make customers weary about this newer technology.

Without getting too technical, EPA Tier 4 emissions standards for Oil & Gas applications that provide 700hp or less require a chemical reaction that only SCR systems can support.SCR systems operate as an aftertreatment system that reduces the emissions produced from the engine. This is done through a chemical reaction completed within the tank that requires diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Essentially, the exhaust enters the SCR system and, when combined with DEF, removes the carbon monoxide from the fumes and emits a fraction of the emissions that would occur without the aftertreatment system.

The alternative to an SCR system is an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system. EGR options also act as an aftertreatment system to strip the exhaust of carbon monoxide and therefore reducing emissions. However, the EGR process cannot clean the fumes produced by an engine enough to meet EPA Tier 4 standards at rating below 700hp. At the moment, EPA Tier 4 requirements are only in place for products 700hp or less so EGR systems are still a viable market option above this horsepower range.

DEF is a solution used with SCR systems in order to spark the chemical reaction that strips exhaust fumes of higher levels of carbon monoxide. This solution is what allows businesses to meet the more stringent emissions requirements that EGR systems cannot currently accommodate.

DEF tanks come in various sizes to accommodate your operation. Whether that is a shift change after 12 hours, or between frac stages to be refilled if necessary, so as not to interrupt the any sequences of your operation. This event becomes seamless once it is introduced and your employees become fully trained.

SCR systems are not only better for the environment, but in the long run they are a more cost-efficient investment. The engines run cooler, achieve better fuel consumption rates and dont require midlife overhaul injection changes. Even if you consider the price of DEF per gallon, Cummins SCR system is more economical than most competitor products on the market.

The largest drawback to using DEF is that the solution can freeze, which doesnt exactly make it optimal for cold weather conditions. However, the DEF that is actually in the units during operation has a thermal system to ensure the solution maintains its liquid state. Additionally, for the DEF storage that will be on-site, related industries are creating pieces that can be placed at the location to keep DEF thawed.

In the event that the DEF supporting the SCR system does freeze, the system will continue to operate as normal and EPA Tier 4 emissions requirements allow a 45-minute grace period for the DEF to be thawed.

SCR products are going to continue to be a valuable force for change in industries where emissions are of utmost importance. Cummins application solutions in the Oil & Gas market are stepping up to meet the challenge for cost-efficient options that are better for the environment. Ensuring customers are comfortable and familiar with the products and processes that go along with meeting that challenge is part of the commitment. Count on Cummins to be at the forefront of technological advancements in the Oil & Gas industry and ensure your applications and products are always on.

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. She joined Cummins in 2018 as a member of the trade show operations team, but now supports the Marine and Oil & Gas segments marketing initiatives. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie spends her free time watching Badger sports.

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