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THE latest tracking technology can pinpoint the exact location of a miner throughout an entire shift; and it has also become a lot smarter. Supply Side, by Australia’s Mining Monthly editor Thomas Smith
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Thomas Smith

Know everything about a mining operation, equipment and operators.

No, it’s not a mission statement or a profound mantra from the lips of some mining or business guru.

I am, of course, referring to the modern approach to mining.

Optimisation is everything. Adapt or die – or in the mining context of death, incur tighter margins and higher operating costs.

You know the rest – efficiency, trim the fat…

Navman Wireless has added two additions to its fleet tracking system. The US firm is a global leader in GPS-based fleet optimisation, including “real-time, vehicle tracking and analytics”

This enables mining companies to monitor, measure and improve fleet-related management and costs.

Yes, we’re aware of the benefits. But when you crunch the numbers on haul trucks, shovels and any other machines that can be tracked using GPS technology, improvements of even a few per cent equate to significant cost and efficiency savings.

So what’s new about Navman’s well established fleet tracking system?

The company has added electronic driver log (eLogs) and driver vehicle inspection reporting options to its OnlineAVL2 fleet tracking system.

Navman said the additions were necessary to comply with US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association regulations.

Although designed to comply with US regulations, eLogs and DVIR will surely benefit miners across the world – if they are made available to customers in other mining jurisdictions.

Navman Wireless North America director of operations Nels Erickson explained: “Integrating eLogs and DVIR reporting into our OnlineAVL2 platform eliminates paperwork and reduces the time required to maintain FMCSA compliance.

“This is the latest step in our ongoing effort to aggregate key, fleet-related functions under the OnlineAVL2 umbrella to streamline business processes for fleet operators.”

It is this streamlining that enhances an already efficient tool of the mining trade. Eliminating paperwork and a reduction in time spent focused on administrative duties all contributes towards that drive for efficiency.

Advocates of the autonomous approach to the load and haul cycle point to drivers and machine operators as being the significant weak links in the process.

But not all mining operations are capable of operating autonomous fleets.

Savings in any area are hard earned – even if it is just a few per cent.

So Navman’s additions to fleet tracking will interest miners keen to gauge any efficiency gains from US fleets.

The benefits of eLogs and DVIR include the automatic recording of service hours, based on “detection of vehicle motion” and distance travelled.

Navman’s system also automatically calculates driver availability at any given time. Driver logs are stored and ready for inspection by roadside inspectors. It also provides dispatchers with instant access to all driver and vehicle data.

DVIR prompts drivers to report required repairs for power units and trailers.

It allows maintenance technicians instant access to all relevant data.

Fleet operators know exactly where a machine and its operator are throughout the entire shift.

Although designed to satisfy US regulations, if the additions prove successful, expect to see them rolled out into relevant sectors where they can make the same impact.