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Short Interval Control: An Essential Process for increasing mining efficiency.

Short Interval Control has become the standard process to improve overall mining efficiency in the mining industry. The Global Mining Guidelines Group, an industry standards organization, has also come out with an actionable roadmap any mine can use to deploy Short Interval Control at their site. GroundHog‘s system enables mines to quickly implement Short Interval Control at their sites relatively easily.

Short Interval Control increases mining efficiency
Short Interval control is used by mines to increase mining efficiency

The mining industry — especially underground — is always looking for ways to get more tons faster, and safer. Essentially, most continuous improvement programs are centered around improving efficiency reducing costs and increasing productivity. One approach that has proven to be extremely effective is Short Interval Control (SIC). At the very core, SIC is a real-time monitoring and control system that helps mines identify and address issues that lead to production losses quickly before they escalate into major bottlenecks that prevent the Ops team from achieving their shift targets, and by extrapolation, their daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly targets.

What is Short Interval Control?

SIC is a system that enables organizations to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time. This allows organizations to identify issues quickly and make adjustments to processes as necessary. The system is designed to be flexible and customizable, so that organizations can monitor the KPIs that are most important to their operations.

Benefits of Short Interval Control

There are many benefits to using short interval control in manufacturing operations. Here are just a few:

Improved efficiency: By monitoring production in real-time, mine managers, shift bosses, mine control can identify and address issues quickly, reducing the amount of time and resources required to resolve them.

Reduced costs: By addressing issues quickly and reducing downtime, mines can reduce the costs associated with lost production.

Enhanced visibility: By monitoring KPIs in real-time, mines can gain a better understanding of their operations directly from the front line and make data-driven decisions to meet daily production targets

Implementing Short Interval Control

Implementing short interval control requires a really good change management process, but the benefits are worth the effort. Here are some key steps to follow:

Identify key performance indicators for Short Interval Control: The first step in implementing Short Interval Control is to identify the KPIs that are most important for the mine. The most common KPIs used are:

  1. Tonnes to surface
  2. Equipment Availability and Utilization
  3. Face availability and Utilization
  4. Effective shift length
  5. Production losses to operational delays
  6. Production losses to standby idles

Using Short Interval Control enables our shift bosses to respond faster to downs and delays impacting shift production

Miguel Lamadrid, General Manager

When you roll out Short Interval Control, many people – especially management and corporate teams get carried away and come up with 50+ KPIs without actually understanding how those KPIs impact overall production rates. We strongly recommend focusing on 5 primary KPIs, and once the data sources and insights for those are mastered, then move to second-order KPIs such as mucking efficiency, queueing times, muck re-handling ratios, re-work ratios, etc.

Choose the right technology to implement Short Interval Control:

The right technology will make or break your Short Interval Control implementation – things to consider are:

  1. Does the system support your mining process?
  2. Is the system easy to use?
  3. Is it easy to train your mine managers, shift bosses, mine control and miners to use the process?
  4. Can you automate a lot of your data gathering and reporting using the system?
  5. Is it easy to interpret the reports so you have insights into how you can improve your production?
  6. Is it easy to deploy? or do you need significant IT and provider support?
  7. Does it have pre-existing integrations with other software such as mine planning and scheduling software, equipment telemetry, etc
Short Interval Control helps you react to production delays faster
Short Interval Control helps you react to production delays faster

GroundHog’s Short Interval Control system is the most widely deployed SIC system worldwide. Customer feedback emphasizes the system’s ease of use, easy to train, and supportability as key criteria for deploying the system.

With proper change management, mines running GroundHog have seen anywhere between 8 and 37% increase in production within 9 months

Satish Penmetsa, CEO

There are many other companies that offer a Short Interval Control product, including large OEMs like Sandvik and Epiroc. That said, their systems are not widely used because of their complexity, and lack of support – the OEMs are in the business of selling equipment.

Audit of your current process

Short Interval Control may not benefit everyone. It makes sense to do an audit of your current process to see if Short Interval Control can help you increase production and if yes, how.

We have a standard audit checklist that we can share with you. You can do a self-audit or one of our efficiency experts can jointly do the audit along with your team. Please message me here on LinkedIn, or e-mail me at satish.penmetsa@groundhogapps.com or call us at +1.888.719.3282 to schedule this audit.

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Best Practices: Using Short Interval Control to increase production rates by increasing face and equipment utilization and reducing stope-to-stope cycle times. 

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