Australian Earth Training is a niche operator proficiency training business that services the Mining, Construction, Quarrying and Waste industries. In this article, we get to talk with their Director, Scott Lidster, to learn a little more about how they assist their customers to achieve greater production outcomes while lowering owning and operating costs.
Scott brings over 25 years of industry experience to the table, with 12 years of training experience including a successful 6.5 years with the top 10 Global Caterpillar Dealership, Hastings Deering. A little on Australian Earth’s journey so far:
Client was unable to consistently meet the required feed rates through their crusher. Their fleet consisted of WA900 Komatsu Large Wheel, a 785 and 2 X 605 Komatsu off-highway trucks. We arrived on site and spent the first two days observing the operation.
From our observations, we developed a detailed training package that included theory, video and drone footage. We also rolled out one-to-one theory sessions to each of the WA900 operators. We then entered the field to apply the concepts in practice with three focus areas targeted.
Dig Area Management
Working the face left to right is the key consideration when managing the dig area. The core principal is to always be opening up the pocket for the trucks to reverse into. This action lowers the loader’s cycle time as the loader is not travelling excessive distances during the loading process.
This promotes productivity gains and fuel consumption reduction.
Another advantage is that this promotes the loader operator to work to a system (becoming more predictable in their movements), which helps others involved in the loading process, truck operators, clean up equipment to become more efficient to play their parts.
Maintaining sub-drill is another critical area for a number of reasons. It helps the advancing drilling efforts by leaving material to help the drillers collar their holes etc.
But for the load and haul equipment, it’s critical to work the sub-drill and not through it. If dug out, the running surface will become undulating, which will force trucks to slow down, increase the haul cycle and the fuel burn will generally be much higher due to the loader constantly reversing uphill loaded!
It also has a negative effect on the haul truck’s health. Working to the sub-drill will leave a smooth-running surface for trucks to run across and also to have finer material for the grader to work with.
Bucket Loading Technique
One of the most common mistakes with loader operators is when they engage the teeth of the bucket into the material; their first movement is to crowd the bucket instead of lifting first. When the first movement is the crowd function, it engages the heel of the bucket, which in turn promotes premature wearing of the heel area. It also increases fuel burn, reduces bucket fill factors and decreases cycle times. When the bucket is lifted first, it stops the heel from engaging the ground, transferring weight onto front tyres, which will give extra drive into the material.
Loader operators were encouraged to take ownership of the dig area and position trucks where the loader was not going beyond the 1-1.5 tyre revolutions while maintaining a tight V-pattern resulting in less fuel used and quicker cycles.
After training was completed, the site consistently achieved its required hourly tonnes through the crusher. We were able to reduce fuel consumption of the WA900 loader by a staggering 30 per cent! Operators now have a baseline to work with and as a result are super engaged and reaping the personal rewards.
To find out more about Australian Earth Training and how they can help you gain productivity, call (07) 4839 7746 or visit www.australianearthtraining.com.au.