Increasing equipment utilisation (2018)

Is every piece of your equipment running at its full money-making potential?

technology to help you eliminate INEFFICIENCIES

How well is your operation running? Do you keep track of how your entire fleet is being utilised every hour? Do you believe that every piece of your equipment is running at its full money-making potential? How about your cycle times and shift changes? Are they being run to maximise ROI? Can you say that your operation is free from any operator-induced maintenance events?

Chances are the answer is no to one, or all of the above. But don’t worry, we’ve got some technology solutions that can help you turn this around.


A Canadian underground gold mining company recently approached their local Cat® dealer to help them leverage technology to improve equipment utilisation and availability. The Technology Team used a variety of technologies to quickly identify a few key areas that could be immediately improved; these included shift changes, cycle times, smoke-out time and operator-induced maintenance events.

Randy Schoepke, a consultant in Caterpillar’s Mining Technology Enabled Solutions organisation worked with the company to evaluate their cycles and processes to find areas where cycle times could be reduced. The customer’s mine site is an open stope application, where remote mucking is common and, as a result, too much time is spent transitioning between manned and remote operation in response to unsupported roof conditions at the stope. “We found that by eliminating these transitions, we could improve cycle times by 35 percent,” Schoepke explains.

An inefficiency when it came to the customer’s shift changes was also identified by technology. It found that it took workers an average of two-hours to transition because time was wasted riding the lift to and from operating level. “We proposed locating the operator on the surface to eliminate the transit time and essentially hot-seat the shift change,” Schoepke says. “So we could easily cut this two-hour time in half while still allowing time for a machine walk around performed by someone else underground.”

Relocating the operator like this also solved the issue of smoke-out time after blasts. “Downtime due to air quality is not a limitation of the machine, so we proposed putting a machine to work remotely,” Schoepke says. “With no operator present, a machine can enter a blast zone as soon as the dust has settled, cutting that downtime in half.” The biggest inefficiency detected by the technology was the downtime caused by operator-induced maintenance events. “No matter how experienced the operator is, there will be drive-wall impacts and maintenance issues,” says Schoepke. “The customer agreed that we could squeeze out another 10 percent or so because of our exclusive technology, which prevents drive-wall impacts and reduces unplanned downtime.”

In the end, with these inefficiencies removed, the customer would likely see an additional 272,000 kg of material, per machine per day, in production for the gold mine.


Our technology teams work with you to drive the results your operation deserves. Caterpillar and our Technology Team recently helped a mining customer to improve the utilisation of their hauling fleet. By sampling a month’s data to establish a baseline, we were able to make a few quick and easy changes to deliver improvements of at least 20 percent above this baseline.

“There was clearly too much non-productive time in the truck cycle,” says Schoepke. “By focusing on hang time, queuing time and travel-empty time, while increasing travel-loaded time, the team exceeded the goal of 20 percent and brought the maximum improvement to just over 26 percent.”

The implementation of technology to locate inefficiencies and identify opportunities for improvement is not a lengthy and complicated process with a long-term ROI. While the technology itself is complex, its implementation and utilisation is now a fast and effective process, especially with WesTrac’s Technology Team providing additional support. By leveraging it sooner rather than later, you’ll see both short-term and long-term ROI.

Give our team a call today to find out how we can help you do more with your equipment.


We can:

  • Recommend technologies to help increase productivity, lower costs, improve operator performance and help you run a safe operation
  • Implement those technologies into your business (including training)
  • Turn your data into meaningful information and insights
  • Provide advice to help you make decisions when required

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