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Step 4 - Equipment: Excavating / Loading

You will cover the following points in Part 3: Itemized Cost Estimation: Equipment.

how to select equipment and determine its productivity (step 4):
  

excavating and loading equipment hauling equipment drilling equipment

Select Equipment and Determine its Productivity (See Summary for main points) Primary equipment comprises the excavator(s), hauler(s), and blasthole drill(s). Productivity exercises will be completed for each of these items to select the number and size of each type, and the number of hours per day each must operate to achieve the desired daily mine production rate. Considerable care should be taken to select these units properly because they form the core of the operating fleet. Auxiliary equipment such as dozers, road maintainers, water trucks, service vehicles, etc. can be selected in subsequent steps with less care because their impacts on the overall operation and its costs are less significant. All of the major equipment manufactures publish equipment specification information that can be used to estimate equipment productivity capabilities under specific conditions. Manuals containing this information should be part of every estimator’s library. One of the best known and useful of these manuals is the Caterpillar Performance Handbook, popularly know as the "Cat Handbook," which is published irregularly in updated editions. Much of the information contained in the Cat Handbook is now available online from the Caterpillar Company (website). For this exercise, data from the Caterpillar Performance Handbook (PDF), edition 33, published in October 2002, will be utilized.

Excavating/Loading Equipment (See Summary for main points) Initially, a decision must be made regarding the type of equipment to use as the primary excavator. This is a judgment call on the part of the evaluator, and the selection for ore may be different from the selection for waste. The usual choices are:

a power shovel:

cable

Power shovels Power shovels are best suited for larger operations. the cable shovel proves superior in many cases. even though the trailing electric cable can be a hindrance. but where greater breakout strength is required in large operations. They are an excellent tool for excavating irregular or spotty ore zones where the machine must make frequent moves within the pit or pits. Electric powered cable shovels are generally preferred over diesel-electric powered cable shovels because they are more energy efficient and easier to control and maintain. in hard rock conditions where good breakout strength is required. the hydraulic shovel has supplanted the traditional cable shovel in many applications. Draglines .     hydraulic backhoe hydraulic front shovel a wheel loader a dragline a bucketwheel excavator Each of these types is best suited for a specific range of conditions as follows. Good underfoot conditions are required for shovel operations. and care must be taken to avoid mixing ore and waste material. and mobility is of lesser significance. Power shovels are more capital intensive than wheel loaders. They can be used as a primary hauler for distances up to about 200 meters. Diesel-electric shovels are likely to be found in more remote areas of a pit. which dictate hard rock conditions. In recent years. requiring an appropriate mine life to make them economically viable. so long depreciation periods are necessary. Wheel loaders Wheel loaders are commonly employed where mobility and versatility are important.

. a productivity exercise must be completed to determine the number and size of units required to achieve the desired daily production rate. For these analyses. black coal. They are continuous excavators most commonly used in conjunction with conveyor transport systems. Bucketwheel excavators Bucketwheel excavators were originally developed for relatively easy digging materials such as overburden removal in the lignite brown coalfields of Germany and in gravel. If not. either walking or crawler-mounted. Swell Swell is a metric that describes the fact that a volume of rock expands when it is blasted or excavated. and tar sands. the density should be expressed in units of cubic meters per tonne. Church (1981). a value must be assumed. in situ rock density will be known from previous test work. Defining Ore and Waste Characteristics (See Summary for main points) Once the type of excavator is decided upon. The term "tonnage factor" is commonly applied when density is expressed in this way. It is commonly expressed in one of three ways. Bucketwheel excavatorshave not been well accepted by North American mines. Hustrulid and Kuchta (2006)). otherwise the bucket loading factor will suffer. a resource estimate will have been completed before the cost estimate is started. as follows. The following characteristics of the ore and waste must be known or assumed. provide a very cost-effective means of excavating and moving large volumes of material where conditions of pit design can take advantage of the reach. The density factor determined for the resource estimate can be applied to the equipment productivity analyses. sand. Tables of typical densities for various types of ores and rocks are available in published manuals (see Caterpillar Performance Handbooks (undated). They can handle both in situ and shot rock. dumping radius and digging depth of the dragline. limestone. In situ rock (bank) density Ideally. loam and clays. but fragmentation of the material must be appropriate for the bucket used. Newer generations have improved capabilities for more difficult digging materials. Usually.Draglines. such as shales. They are especially well-suited for coal strip-mine overburden removal.

but keep in mind. . Usually. the next step is to determine the size and number of excavators needed. Church (1981) and Hustrulid and Kuchta (2006)). maneuver. with blasted rock at the lower end of the range and fine aggregates and soils at the higher end.Typical swell factors can be found in published manuals (see Caterpillar Performance Handbooks. This is accomplished in the following steps. decided. in fact. and the type of excavator determined based on the criteria previously described. Bucket fill factor The bucket fill factor is the percentage of the excavator bucket capacity that is actually utilized each time the bucket digs and lifts its load. the optimum bucket fill factor may be something less than 100%. Bucket fill factors for various types of materials are listed in Caterpillar Performance Handbooks (undated) and Church (1981). Hence. Bucket fill factors typically run 80% to 95%. and not necessarily to design an optimized equipment fleet. Determine the Size and Number of Excavators (See Summary for main points) With the above rock characteristics known or assumed. Select an excavator as a starting point for the productivity analysis If this machine turns out to be an inappropriate selection. While a high bucket fill factor may appear to maximize excavator productivity and efficiency. the process must be repeated using other machine sizes until a satisfactory size is found. your objective as an estimator is to produce a preliminary estimate of costs. Determine the excavator cycle time and number of cycles per hour The cycle time for a wheel loader consists of the total time required to:   load the bucket. digging time and energy consumption also increase when a high bucket fill factor is targeted. your initial guess at appropriate equipment sizing will be adequate for a preliminary estimate of costs. the required daily mine output. Mines commonly target a bucket fill factor less than 100% based on on-site excavator tests.

Sample calculations are shown in the example below. Check manufacturer literature to assure that the excavator dump height at least matches the hauler loading height. and travel empty. e. One hour of clock time. and bucket fill factor. Equipment manufacturer handbooks provide excellent guidance in estimating cycle times. Also.g. dump the bucket. 8 hours per day for a one 8-hr shift operation. times the number of cycles the excavator can be expected to complete in one hour. 16 hours per day for a mine operating two 8 hour shifts per day. etc. It may not change the cost estimate much if you have selected a loader that can not reach the truck bed for dumping. dump the bucket. Operator efficiency and machine availability are discussed in later paragraphs. swing loaded. Determine the number of excavators required to meet the daily mine production requirement The daily productivity for one equipment unit equals the hourly productivity times the number of operating hours available per day. See the example below for sample calculations. additional loaders must be added if one loader is unable to complete the required daily production within the operating hours available per day. however. but it will certainly damage the credibility of your estimate. For estimating purposes. is not the same as one hour of productive machine time. For the initial estimate of the number of loaders required. Re-examine the excavator selection after completion of the hauler selection Re-examine the excavator selection after completion of the hauler selection to assure the excavators and haulers are appropriately matched. the 60 minute hour is usually reduced by a factor to account for operator efficiency and another factor to account for machine availability. the number of buckets required to load the truck should be between three and five. and swing empty. Repeat the excavator productivity analysis and selection process as necessary . backhoes and cable shovels comprises the total time required to:     load the bucket. The cycle time for hydraulic front shovels.   travel full. Determine the estimated productivity per hour for one excavator The amount of material a loader/excavator can be expected to load in one hour equals the bucket capacity adjusted for material density. swell factor.

so we will consider an articulated wheel-loader for excavating and loading ore. and possibly two different types of machines. We know that the ore zone contains variable grades and irregular boundaries. We look through equipment manufacturer literature to find an actual loader model close to this capacity. that more than one excavating machine will be required. (4557 mm) Please note: formula results may differ slightly from the stated values because of spreadsheet rounding! Determine number of loader cycles per hour Caterpillar states that a typical loading cycle time for the 992G is about 0.Repeat the excavator productivity analysis and selection process if the excavators and haulers are not appropriately matched or if the number and size of the excavators is inappropriate for the required daily production.53 minutes. The versatility and mobility of an articulated wheel-loader lends itself well to keeping ore-grade material separate from non-ore material. one type for ore and one for waste. with no mathematical basis at this time. the unadjusted . one with a bucket capacity of about 15-16 yd3.475 m3) Flywheel power = 800 hp Dump height clearance = 14 ft 11 in. Examples of Excavator Selection and Productivity (See Summary for main points) We can assume. This is simply a judgment call. Hence. Grade control is not a consideration when mining the overburden waste material. by the size of this operation. Loader specifications: Rated bucket capacity = 15 yd3 (11. and we need the productivity information for our machine that is provided in the equipment manufacturer's literature. and we find that the Caterpillar 992G meets our criteria. Productivity information for the 992G is shown in Chapter 12 of the Caterpillar Performance Handbooks (undated). so close attention must be paid to grade control. We search company literature for actual equipment models for two reasons: we want to make sure we are not specifying a non-existent equipment size. Example of wheel-loader selection and productivity for ore excavation We will begin by looking at a very large loader for ore excavation. so a higher productivity front shovel may be more appropriate for waste excavation.

number of cycles in a 60 minute hour would be: Unadjusted cycles per hour = 60 minutes / 0.475 m3 × 1.678 tonnes/hr = 11. the unadjusted hourly production capability would be: Rated bucket capacity (volume) = 15 yd3 (11.9 = 1. However.5 hours per day (see Part 4: Step 4 - .21 cycles per hour × 19.84 tonnes per cycle = 2.246 tonnes per hour × 0.92 tonnes per m3 = 22.05 tonnes per load (unadjusted for fill factor) Bucket fill factor = 0.000 tonnes per day / 1.246 tonnes per hour Determine the adjusted hourly production capability Efficiency factor = 0. we are going to adjust these hours to 19.90 Adjusted productivity per hour = unadjusted productivity × efficiency factor × availability factor Adjusted productivity per hour = 2. Hence.83 (50 minute hour) Availability factor = 0.53 minutes = 113.83 × 0.90 (Caterpillar Handbook pg 1279) Actual bucket capacity = 19.84 tonnes (adjusted for fill factor) Unadjusted productivity per hour = 113.21 Determine the unadjusted hourly production capability Caterpillar states that a typical loading cycle time for the 992G is about 0.92 hours per day Since our production schedule calls for two-10 hour shifts per day. we see that the 992G loader is capable of meeting the mine's production requirements with 8 hours to spare.678 tonnes per hour Determine hours per day loader must operate Operating hours per day = daily production requirements / adjusted productivity per hour Operating hours per day = 20.53 minutes.475 m3) Rated bucket capacity (weight) = bucket capacity × loose material density Rated bucket capacity (weight) = 11.

5 hrs per day Example of front shovel selection and productivity for waste excavation With no grade control issues to worry about. so we will base our initial analysis on its characteristics. The Caterpillar front shovel model 5230B appears suitable for our purpose.475 m3) bucket Number of loaders required = 1 Hours loader must operate = 19.Equipment: Hauling) Information carried forward in our cost estimate Loader size required = 800 hp with 15 yd3 (11.2 yd3 (17.66 tonnes per load Bucket fill factor = 0. high and efficient productivity.49 minutes = 122. Front shovel specifications: Rated bucket capacity = 22.03 tonnes (adjusted for fill factor) Unadjusted productivity per hour = 122.2 yd3 (17.45 Rated bucket capacity (volume) = 22.95 (Caterpillar Handbook pg 1279) Actual bucket capacity = 31.0 m3 × 1. is of primary importance in selecting an excavator for mining the overburden waste.92 tonnes per m3 = 32.0 m3) Rated bucket capacity (weight) = bucket capacity × loose material density Rated bucket capacity (weight) = 17. Front shovels are commonly used for this purpose.550 hp (1156 kw) Please note: formula results may differ slightly from the stated values because of spreadsheet rounding! Determine the unadjusted hourly production capability Loading cycle time (Cat Handbook) = 0. rather than mobility and selectivity.0 m3) Flywheel power = 1. The procedure for estimating productivity of a front shovel is much the same as the procedure described above for the wheel loader.45 cycles per .49 min Unadjusted cycles per hour = 60 minutes / 0.

72 tonnes per hour Determine the adjusted hourly production capability Efficiency factor = 0. and production capabilities similar to the Caterpillar 5230 B.03 tonnes per cycle Unadjusted productivity per hour = 3.Equipment: Hauling).799.0 hours to spare.799.39 tonnes/hr Operating hours per day = 14.838. we are going to adjust these hours to 18.838. Information carried forward in our cost estimate Front shovel size required = 800 hp with 22. This is an acceptable operating schedule.09 hours per day Since our production schedule calls for two 10-hour shifts per day.2 yd (17.0 hours per day (see explanation in Part 4: Step 4 .39 tonnes per hour Determine hours per day shovel must operate Operating hours per day = daily production requirements / adjusted productivity per hour Operating hours per day = 40.0 hrs per day 3 More and Less Detailed Analyses (See Summary for main points) More detailed analyses .hour × 31.83 (50 minute hour) Availability factor = 0.83 × 0. However.90 Adjusted front shovel productivity = unadjusted productivity × efficiency factor × availability factor Adjusted productivity per hour = 3.72 tonnes per hour × 0.9 Adjusted productivity per hour = 2.000 tonnes per day / 2. so we will base our cost estimate on a front shovel with size.0 m3) bucket Number of front shovels required = 1 Hours front shovel must operate = 18. power. we see that the 5230B front shovel is capable of meeting the mine’s production requirements with 6.

Less detailed analyses Equipment manufacturer product literature. . test excavating. boom. sometimes provides shortcut productivity tables for quick estimates of excavator productivity that provide data that is quite adequate for early feasibility studies.g.For large projects. including rock characterization studies that might entail exploration by drilling. the procedure is much the same as described here. Much of this is beyond the realm of the cost estimator. For the estimator. e. even with this level of detail. the Cat Handbook. Based on the results of this work and discussions with equipment manufacturers. horsepower. a great deal of effort typically goes into the excavator selection process and productivity analysis. an appropriate excavator is selected along with specific considerations for bucket. etc. or seismic work. but if the project is at this advanced stage and the information is available. it must be used in the estimate. however.