By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

When Coal Age asked past delegates what they would most like to learn about at Haulage & Loading 2013, the overwhelming response was techniques to improve safety overall and equipment training. Coal Age set out to attract the best safety-related speakers in the surface mining business and the results were good. This year’s event kicks off with a safety session that is second to none.

For those that have not attended the event, Haulage & Loading is the only technical conference geared toward open-pit mining in general and truck-shovel mining specifically. It takes place every two years on the odd years during May at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix (above). The conference attracts around 500 people, who are mostly mining engineers, mine managers, and equipment and service providers. Haulage & Loading 2013 is scheduled for May 20-22.

While this is a technical conference, the format is informal. More than 30 vendors and service providers support the event with a small exhibit. Breakfast, breaks and lunches offer professionals a chance to mingle with their peers and talk to vendors about what they have to offer. Delegates who arrive early can also take part in a golf outing on Sunday morning.

The Haulage & Loading technical program offers five sessions with four or five presentations per session. This year’s sessions include: Perspectives on Safety, Workforce Training, Operations, Maintenance, and Technology & Information Systems. Following is a short synopsis of what delegates can expect to hear at the event.

Perspectives on Safety
The first Haulage & Loading session, Perspectives on Safety, officially kicks off on Monday, May 20, at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 11:30 a.m. The session has three speakers before a sponsored 30-minute break and two afterward. Each of the presentations is scheduled for 25 minutes with five minutes for questions and answers.

In his presentation, Courageous Leadership: The People Side of Safety, Bruce Huber, vice president of safety, inthinc, will talk about a plan Barrick Gold implemented while he was the safety director, a position he held prior to accepting a position with inthinc. The courageous leadership concept is about empowering people to speak up when things are not right. It is about treating people like people, building relationships and trust, and empowering people to become part of the solution rather than remain as part of the problem. This presentation will help supervisors understand the difference between management and leadership, and why implementing a safety culture within the organization is vital to ensuring every employee returns home safely.

Those who attended Haulage & Loading 2011 will certainly remember Jim Spigener’s presentation. He shared the results of investigations of tragic incidents and the responses he found from interviewing those who survived. This year, Spigener, who is a senior vice president with BST, takes it one step further with The Zero-Harm Organization: Shifting the Focus from Injuries to Exposures. In his presentation, he will explain how the zero harm goal is not simply an extension of injury reduction goals of the past. One of the key characteristics of zero harm performance is a shift from a focus on injuries to exposures as the trigger for action and the measure of change. This focus means asking people to act when exposure increases, not just when an injury is imminent (or has already happened). “Until we move the focus from injury prevention to exposure management we will continue to be surprised by seemingly ‘out-of-the-blue’ events,” Spigener said. Drawing on real-world examples of organizations that are making this shift, this presentation will discuss what an exposure focus means in terms of process, culture and results, and outlines steps for getting there.

Following a similar theme, Mike Harnett, director of operations, Work-SMART Ergo-nomics Ltd., will present Shattering Myths: The New Face of Fatigue Manage-ment. He will discuss the most recent scientific research on the best way to maximize safety and performance while minimizing the effects of fatigue as they relate to shift work, on-call and overtime practices. Utilizing a solutions-based approach, key topics include the effective use of lighting technologies, the latest fatigue detection devices, optimizing shift schedule design, and ways to reduce cognitive impairment and resulting human error.

After the break, Todd Ruff, business development manager–North America for SAFEmine Technology, will present Test Results of a GPS-based Collision Avoidance System at Line Creek Operations. Line Creek is a Teck Resources coal mining operation located near Elkford, B.C., Canada. A trial of the SAFEmine Traffic Awareness and Collision Avoidance System was conducted on surface mining equipment and light vehicles at the mine in 2012. The system uses GPS to determine vehicle location, speed and direction of travel and broadcasts this information to other nearby vehicles to increase the operator’s awareness of nearby traffic and potential collisions. Data will be presented on a six-week trial regarding alarms associated with speeding, close vehicle interactions and potential collisions.

The session will conclude with Correlation of Close Proximity Events and Operator Alertness, presented by Jon Olson of GuardVant. The correlation of data from integrated on-board proximity detection systems, and operator fatigue and alertness systems are enabling a comprehensive analysis of these events. This analysis is supporting the development of comprehensive integrated solutions using onboard equipment, real-time sensor data and tunable algorithms to further improve operator safety, production and equipment maintenance.

Workforce Training
The Monday afternoon session, Workforce Training, kicks off with Kay Sever, president, OptimiZ Consulting, presenting Truth, Trust & Tons—Solutions for the Hidden Cost of Reactive Cultures in Mining. Mining culture is defined as how people interact with equipment and each other, Sever explained. In a reactive culture, people don’t trust each other, superintendents won’t work together, supervisors are inconsistent with crews, and support groups make promises they do not keep. Resolving these issues has never been easy because “improvement sabotage” was working behind the scenes. The solution starts with a new perspective on change, understanding the truth about sabotage, and management strategies that design a “Culture Engine,” which maximizes production, minimizes cost and improves department relationships (even operations and maintenance).

In 2011, Chuck Frey, marketing manager, VISTA Training, discussed new training programs for mine operators. At this year’s conference, he will present Blended Learning: A More Effective Model of Haul Truck Operator Training. Too often, haul truck operator trainees do not retain enough of the knowledge they learn during training, which could lead to future problems. Blended learning—providing training via multiple modalities using a highly structured, building-block approach—has shown promise in solving this challenge because it’s aligned with the way adults prefer to learn. Frey will present data gathered over a three-year period from three mines in North America and will provide examples of blended learning in action.

Historically, equipment operator training in the mining industry has been conducted using a “trial by fire” approach, with new operators receiving most of their instruction on the job operating mobile equipment with little formal training or practice time. This approach has a number of drawbacks, including taking a piece of equipment out of production for new operator training. In her presentation, Improving Mine Productivity through Advancements in Mobile Equipment Simulator Technology, Paula Oransky, business development manager, CAE Mining, will discuss advancements in equipment simulation technology. This type of training is enabling mining companies to train new operators in realistic conditions without negatively impacting production.

While the relationship between heavy equipment operator training and safety is well understood in mining, the relationship between training scores and mine site operational performance is relatively less known. Karl Rhoads, strategic training specialist, Immersive Technologies, will present, Predictive Analyses of Simulation Training Results, which specifically examines the relationship between training and assessment scores (spot time in simulation) and job performance (real world spot time). A significant relationship was discovered suggesting that data from assessments conducted in a high fidelity simulator can be used to predict operator job performance.

The afternoon session will conclude with Improving Mine Efficiency and Productivity, presented by Michael Saunders, global business director, Napoli Group. The Napoli Group is a specialist surface mining productivity consulting and training company based in Australia that focuses on the “micro” elements of the production process. They specialize in increasing production with reduced maintenance and operational costs also increasing “effective utilization” of equipment. In a bit of a departure from the other presentations, Saunders will be interviewing Frank Dinapoli, the group’s founder, and a past client using a “real life” example of how they were able to develop, implement and produce production efficiency increases of more than 30% over a 12-month period. The interview will cover the processes they followed including operation standards, operation procedures, organizational departments, personnel and site culture in order to achieve the substantial increases in production rates across the entire operation.

Tuesday morning opens with a session on Operations. In his presentation, An Electric Drive System for the Largest Haul Truck in the World, Walter Koellner, senior director mobile mining equipment, Siemens, will describe what went into the development of an electric drive system for the new 500-ton BelAZ haul truck, which will be the largest haul truck when it’s released this year. The presentation will discuss the sophisticated controls that will be used to safely guide this juggernaut.

The abundance of shale gas reserves around the world has made natural gas an attractive fuel source for mining equipment. In his presentation Dual Fuel for Mining: Same Power, Substantial Savings, Christopher Pritchard, natural gas product manager, Cummins, will explain how mine operators can harness the savings associated with a natural gas fuel source while retaining the power needed for mining equipment. Dual Fuel engine technology provides the ability to substitute natural gas for diesel in the combustion process, delivering the same transient response, torque curve and power density critical to high horsepower engine operations, while at the same time lowering operating costs.

Following on the power theme, but from a different angle, Wayne Chmiel, product manager-electric rope shovels for Cat Global Mining, will present Off-grid Power Solution for Electric Rope Shovels. Cat’s patented energy storage and power management technology allows ultra-class electric machines to operate effectively on diesel generator power. When connected to a power utility, this technology lowers the machine’s peak demand, offering more flexibility on trailing cable and substation sizing, and potentially reducing the impact to the surrounding community that shares the power system.

After the mid-morning break, the session resumes with Moving Crawler-mounted Equipment Effectively. Philipp Hartlieb, a professor from Leoben University in Austria, will discuss how the Sleipner transport system for tracked machinery makes it possible to reduce the relocation time remarkably. Coinciding reduction in maintenance costs is another major asset of the system. It can be demonstrated by field measurements showing that economic benefits are outstanding without making any changes to the existing fleet.

Dan Nower, global manager, optimization and machinery health management for Emerson Process Management, will present Vibration Monitoring of Electric Rope Shovels. Automated vibration monitoring of multiple systems on the shovel can determine the machine’s condition at all times. This reduces unplanned downtime and keeps critical shovels in production.

The Tuesday morning session will conclude with a lively debate on hydraulic excavators vs. electric shovels. In Battle of the Titans—Hydraulic Excavator vs. Rope Shovel Performance, Tim Joseph, professor, University of Alberta, will defend the rope shovel, while John Sammut, Komatsu Mining Shovels, will advocate on behalf of the hydraulic excavator.

The Tuesday afternoon session will focus on maintenance. Dr. Christian M. Bauer, Ph.D. mining, Pall Corp., will lead off with Best Practices in Fuel Supply Chain Cleanliness Management. Modern mine sites are among the world’s largest consumers of diesel fuel, with an annual consumption of more than 200 million liters. Delivered diesel fuel can contain as much as 20 mg/l solid contaminants, but vehicle on-board fuel filters are not designed to tolerate high contamination levels without significant impact on service life; most engine manufacturers have issued specific fuel cleanliness requirements, particularly for engines with common rail fuel injection systems. Therefore, contamination control throughout the entire fuel supply chain is critical. In this presentation, Dr. Bauer will discuss case studies highlighting best practices in fuel supply chain cleanliness management.

In her presentation, Improve Equipment Reliability and Reduce Costs with Clean Oil, Caren Caffrey, account manager for C.C. Jensen Inc., will discuss cleaning oil as a practice. Routine oil changes in mobile equipment rear differentials, cost time and money, and do little to improve equipment reliability. The high viscosity oil drains slowly and leaves a trail of varnish, wear particles and dirt behind to contaminate the new oil. Cleaning the oil to OEM recommended levels with a depth filter media reduces contaminants like wear particles, water and varnish and extends the oil life while improving equipment reliability. In one example, oil life increased from 18,000 to 25,000 hours and wheel rebuilds decreased from 16 to 12 per vehicle per year thus saving ~$500,000 annually.

In his presentation, Field Trial of Synthetic Gear Lubricant in Electric Wheel Motors, Don Howard, new product innovation-mining, Bel-Ray Co., will provide a detailed interpretation of the analytical data generated during a two-year field trial of an ISO VG synthetic gear lubricant in 16 AC electric wheel motors. The field trial was undertaken as part of the wheel motor manufacturer’s oil qualification program.

Inflation pressure is the single most important factor relating to tire performance. Tom Stephenson, HMS Tire Co., will present TireLink: New Tool Balances Tire Pressures between Dual Positions on a Haul Truck, which discusses the relationship between inflation pressure and load distribution in a dual pair of haul truck tires. The results of this initial study will show a distortion in load distribution between a dual pair of tires as high as 21 metric tons.

In his presentation Innovative Tooling: A 797 Transmission Hoist, Mark Gream, global products manager, Hedweld USA, will demonstrate a new technique for safely and efficiently removing/installing the transmission on a Cat 797 haul truck without removing the dump body. This is performed by raising the dump body and placing the hoist on the truck chassis using a workshop overhead crane.

Technology & Information Systems
The final session on Wednesday morning, Technology & Information Systems, will lead off with a discussion on mine automation. In his presentation, Enabling Mine Automation through the Application of OPAL and 3DRi Technologies, Peter Wan, principal adviser mining, Teck Resources, will discuss improved LiDAR systems. Neptec has developed an obscurant-penetrating LiDAR (OPAL) sensor technology that overcomes the limitations faced by traditional LiDAR sensors when operating in dusty environments; as well as advanced 3-D real-time intelligence (3DRi) data processing algorithms that enable the real-time exploitation of 3-D data from sensors on moving vehicles.

Leonardo Alves, senior mine engineer, LHOIST will present Improving Fleet Allocation over Sub-optimum Load and Haulage Systems Using Linear Programming. For a given haulage system comprised of a single loading tool and a fixed haulage profile, an ideal truck fleet size can be established that minimizes costs or maximizes output. Operating mines, however, often deviate from this ideal allocation, under-trucking or over-trucking depending on equipment and face availabilities. A linear programming solution to equipment allocation (i.e. cost reduction respecting fleet restrictions and meeting production targets) has been developed that employs a set of haulage systems, each one not necessarily optimal. The results are more realistic mine plans and improved decision-making, as illustrated with real case studies of medium-term mine fleet planning.

In Machine Telematics: Where are You on the Adoption Curve?, Ken Calvert, director of product support systems, Komatsu America Corp., will discuss the mining industry’s adoption rate for telematics. Two case studies will be presented. The first is a summary of the “No Idle” Initiative and management’s role in affecting change. The second is a production study of a metallurgical coal mine and again with management as a change agent.

In his presentation, A New Constellation for Mining, Dave Goddard, portfolio manager, intelligent machine solutions, Leica Geosystems Mining, will discuss machine guidance systems. These systems require high precision GNSS positioning to provide robust 3-D positioning. Locata Corp. has invented a ground-breaking radio positioning system equivalent to a GNSS positioning constellation, but is ground-based instead of satellite-based. The Leica Jigsaw Positioning System (Jps) integrates these Locata signals into a high precision GNSS+Locata positioning device, delivering a new and previously unattainable level of positioning reliability in areas where GNSS-only positioning is unreliable.

Eric Hsieh, product manager-technology, JoyGlobal Surface Mining, will present Using Proximity/Object Detection to Increase Shovel Productivity in the Open Pit Mine. Collision avoidance technologies provide situational awareness, but through the additional use of various sensory devices and an interactive control system, shovel operators can also monitor, anticipate and predict future dipper position. This serves to reduce the severity and frequency of impacts of the dipper and crawler shoes when digging in close proximity to the tracks—a major contributor to reduced crawler shoe life and structural cracking. Operator trainers describe how these technologies work to reinforce Best Practices to achieve the most productive fill factors and how they represent an important advancement on the path to autonomous loading.

The technical program will conclude with Digability: A New Take on an Old Target. Stephen Lochner, manager-mining systems, MineWare will discuss recent advancements in technology that have allowed for accurate measurements of payload, energy, and cycle time in large mining equipment. This has allowed for a new look into digability with the benefits and limitations it offers mine sites. Expanding on the previous work covering digability, this presentation will discuss how the new developments came about and highlight how a mine site can benefit by analyzing digability for such areas as bucket/dipper performance, G.E.T. performance, and drill and blasting trends including some cost analysis estimates.