Fuel management technology improves cost-effectiveness

Louise Davis

Marco Wirth reveals the intelligent fuel management technology that’s improving cost-effectiveness and impressing operators

Mining trucks are in almost constant use, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Their main task is to transport the rock from the pit or the crusher to the processing. Their loading capacities can be as high as 450 tonnes – add to that their enormous size and weight and it is no surprise that their fuel consumption is higher than that of your average car or truck. Up to 350 litres of diesel are consumed by an average mining truck – per hour. And of course, most mining operations use several trucks plus other vehicles such as bulldozers, haulers and loaders. For mining operators, this means they must make sure that they always have sufficient fuel reserves on site.

“You have to keep in mind that most mining operations are in remote areas that are not that easy to reach. This means a mining operation can lose several days of production if they run out of fuel. In a way, you can call it even the lifeblood of the mining industry. Every drop counts,” explains Andrew Reese, global industry manager at Endress+Hauser.

Although the importance of fuel is obvious, it is rarely monitored or controlled in a systematic way. Endress+Hauser can improve this situation with instruments and automation solutions to make fuel management more efficient and safe.

Fuel management starts with the delivery from the supplier. Sometimes there can be disagreements on the delivered amount of fuel. Suppliers use mostly mechanical flowmeters that have an accuracy of 0.5%. This may not seem much, but if you factor in the huge amount of fuel a mine needs, such a discrepancy can make a big difference. Special loading metering skids by Endress+Hauser use Coriolis flowmeters with an accuracy of 0.1%. Plus, their smart density calibration can detect if the fuel has been watered down. The overall accuracy of the rig is 0.25%.

Once the fuel is on site, it needs to be stored and managed in a way that ensures the availability and safety of the operation. The Endress+Hauser inventory management solution gives operators the real-live data they need to make the right decisions. This solution consists of system components such as PLCs, gateways and telemetry systems as well as accurate, safe and reliable level and temperature measurement instruments.

Handling a flammable substance such as fuel is always also a safety issue. Handling fuel incorrectly – think of overfilling a tank – can lead to accidents and harm the environment. Endress+Hauser offers a complete overfill prevention solution that is certified by independent, global operating safety experts. It is a safety-compliant solution, according to the IEC 61511 standard. An automated proof test guarantees that the safety instruments system functions perfectly. Proof-testing of 16 tanks takes less than
five minutes.

“The mining industry is an extremely competitive industry with commodity prices being in a constant flux. Optimisation of operational costs is a must to stay competitive and with fuel being one of the biggest cost factors, fuel management is a no-brainer. We have decades of experience not only in the mining but also in the oil & gas industry, so our offering was developed with the challenges of our customers in mind,” concludes Reese.

Marco Wirth is with Endress+Hauser

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