Improving OEE in Underground Mines with Digital Short Interval Control

When it comes to OEE, mining is well behind other industries that have somewhat similar workflows (oil & gas, manufacturing).

“Based on our benchmarks, we observe a global average overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance of 27 percent for underground mining, 39 percent for open-pit mining, and 69 percent for crushing and grinding—compared with 88 percent for upstream oil and gas, 90 percent for steel, and 92 percent for oil refining.”

-McKinsey & Company

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The term “Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)” draws its origin from the manufacturing industry, and its significance to the underground mining industry is easily transferable.

Moreover, measuring Overall Equipment Efficiency for underground mining equipment is becoming best practice in benchmarking progress, identifying losses, and improving the productivity of a fleet.

Most underground mines in the process of digitizing their operation face similar challenges:

  • The inability to gather real-time production data to guide instantaneous front-line decision making.
  • No visibility, no ability to adjust plans during the shift.
  • Having information/data, but not knowing how data delivers actionable and significant insights or solutions.

GroundHog has developed a solution to address these challenges: By implementing a Digital Short Interval Control (SIC) system with GroundHog SIC in underground mines, mining companies can improve the effectiveness of production within work shifts.

SIC: The Concept

SIC is a framework of structured processes to better manage shift tasks by regularly reviewing performance within a shift and evaluating where production stands relative to plan, which enables supervisors to enforce mid-course corrections that can improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of production during a shift.

Digital SIC Methodology in Mining:

  • Dynamic Task Management

Dispatch/Production Controllers/Mine Planners generate task schedules that are assigned and made available for supervisors and operators on their mobile devices. Schedules are dynamically updated based on task progress logged by operators on their mobile phones/tablets (or through machine telematics). Schedules are periodically auto-adjusted to achieve production goals based on information received.

  • Equipment Location and Management:

Equipment/Machinery are easily located and managed via location sensors such as Wi-Fi tags and mobile devices and visualized in 3D. This provides equipment occupancy analysis for the Mine Managers and Supervisors to help improve productivity.

  • Digital Pre-Ops and Workplace Inspections:

All the inspections are performed digitally giving easy access for Mine Managers and Supervisors to audit, review, and plan for delays associated with failed inspections.

  • Real-Time Data Analytics

All data provided by operators while performing tasks are available to Mine Managers and Supervisors in real-time. This provides a Decision Support System that helps management plan resource allocation and production plans to achieve production goals.

The GroundHog-based SIC system empower miners in myriad ways.

Real-time shift dataQuickly identify delays and other critical items and take corrective actions
Real-time data about personnel, equipment, material movementsPinpoint location tracking of equipment and personnel to minimize deviations from the operating plan
Tasks categorized by shift, activity, locationDynamically update and distribute schedules to reduce both downtime and the underutilization of equipment and personnel
Visual representation of dependenciesQuickly determine the impact on production timelines, enabling immediate corrective action
Superior network connectivity uptimeMinimize the loss of data, and the need to re-enter it, due to network outages
Digital forms on tablet or mobile phoneEliminate manual work and enable instant notification of safety hazards
Digital recordkeeping for MSHA complianceStreamline audits (pre-ops and post-ops) and workplace inspections

The Outcome:

Modern Digital Short Interval Control properly implemented in underground mines improves the OEE between 20-35%.

The graph below shows this. On the extreme left, the brown bar shows the existing OEE across mining. If you now add in the productivity improvements due to digital maintenance, you can increase OEE by as much as 20 percentage points. If you take the next step and commit to short interval control, you may see OEE improve by as much as another 35 percentage points.

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Take the first steps to implement short interval control today! Check out GroundHog SIC for mines. GroundHog SIC is a mobile fleet management system optimized for underground mines. Designed to work out of the box, GroundHog SIC controls production, tracks, and schedules the workforce, and delivers deep insights to increase process efficiency. In summary, leveraging GroundHog SIC to build a safer, more efficient mine will ensure a boost in profitability.

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