Leveraging Real-Time Location Data for Time and Attendance
Mine Site Technologies (MST) has been working with mine managers in both coal and hard rock mines to identify ways to increase worker productivity and output.
An Australian underground hard rock customer had implemented a solution to track workers when they entered and left the mine in order to understand the hours that each worker spent in the mine. However, the system did not show the actual productive hours that each worker spent in the ore body. Over time, the workers had discovered ways to manipulate the data being recorded, thereby rendering the generated reports inaccurate.
A real-time tracking system based on active RFID Tags was being planned to enhance safety at the mine. The power of knowing the location personnel and equipment within the mine was also recognised as potentially offering additional management benefits. While it is useful to capture tracking (location) data for underground mine personnel, this information can be further leveraged to achieve specific business outcomes and tangible cost benefits. MST provided the mine with a solution that utilised MST’s underground Wi-Fi network and active RFID tags. This enabled real-time tracking of personnel to identify when workers were actually in the working area of the ore body or located elsewhere in the mine.
Operations Visibility and Productivity
The chart below (Figure 1) displays the number of miners in the ore body throughout a 12 hour shift. The chart shows high productivity in the morning when most workers are in the ore body, and a corresponding drop in productivity in the afternoon as workers gradually leave the ore body.
This information provides mine managers with the operations visibility they need to improve worker productivity and increase mine revenue. Analysis of one 45 man crew showed that they averaged 9.9 hours in the ore body in a 12 hour shift. Improving their time in the ore body by just 30 minutes would yield 554.3 tons of additional production per shift or 404,647 tons per year. This equated to additional revenue opportunity that gave a payback on the tracking system investment within a month.
Further infrastructure has since been installed at the mine to improve visibility of operations down to the specific area of work. The MST solution captures the location of the worker accurately and in real time.
This level of location awareness greatly enhances the safety of miners in case of an emergency situation or necessary evacuation, but has also given the opportunity to better manage the operations in general to improve productivity. Based on this success, the mine has also expanded the tracking of production vehicles to better monitor and manage load-haul-dump cycles.