A new data sharing system developed by Fortescue is assisting operations at their Cloudbreak mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The technology, made for tablet devices, allows managers to see quantitative breakdowns of mining operations in near real-time.
Before the technology, supervisors at Fortescue had to wait until work shifts ended before they could check productivity data in the form of a daily report. Now, productivity issues can be identified and addressed as soon as they arise.
Data is gathered fleet management systems that track trucks, diggers and other mining equipment for performance. Data is also collected by the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that are entrusted with managing operations of fixed plant facilities.
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This data sharing system has the potential for radically increasing efficiency in the long term – and in the short term, it already has. The system has already supplemented the company’s efficiency drive that was launched in response to lukewarm ore prices, and the high cost of operating in a country like Australia.
In the first quarter of 2014, the system has raised production of a fleet of RH340 diggers by 11 percent, reaching 5,500 tonnes an hour. Each vehicle has been able to increase its weekly haulage by over 70 ton-kilometres as well.
The productivity accomplishments have earned Fortescue advanced recognition in the form of a business process management award from research advisory Gartner. The technology was developed by Fortescue’s own IT team in collaboration with their business improvement team.
Fortescue believes the new system could potentially see a productivity gain over 10 percent, and save around $30 million in costs a year. The company is also very keen to apply the system and technology to other parts of the business.
“The lessons learned from this project are being applied to numerous other projects that can have direct, measurable benefit to Fortescue,” said Bito Forte, CIO.