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# International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and

Environment

fleets

## C. N. Burt & L. Caccetta

To cite this article: C. N. Burt & L. Caccetta (2007) Match factor for heterogeneous truck and
loader fleets, International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment, 21:4, 262-270, DOI:
10.1080/17480930701388606

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International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment
Vol. 21, No. 4, December 2007, 262 – 270

## Match factor for heterogeneous truck

C. N. BURT* and L. CACCETTA

## Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Curtin University of Technology,

GPO Box U1987 Perth, Western Australia 6845, Australia

The mining and construction industries have used match factor for many decades as
an indicator of productivity performance. The term match factor is usually deﬁned
as the ratio of truck arrival rate to loader service time. This ratio relies on the
assumption that the truck and loader ﬂeets are homogeneous. That is, all the trucks
are of the same type, and all the loaders are of the same type. In reality, mixed
ﬂeets are common. This paper proposes a method of deﬁning match factor for
heterogeneous ﬂeets: in particular, a heterogeneous trucking ﬂeet, a heterogeneous

## Keywords: Match factor; Productivity; Equipment selection; Heterogeneous

ﬂeets; Mixed ﬂeets

1. Introduction
The earthmoving industry is continuously searching for ways to predict productivity and select the
best ﬂeet for a given operation. Douglas (1964) published a formula that determined a suitable
number of trucks, Mb, to balance shovel output. Truck cycle time is deﬁned for equation (2) as
the sum of non-delayed transit times, and includes haul, dump and return times. This formula is
the ratio of loader productivity to truck productivity, but as it makes use of equipment capacity it
is considering the potential productivity of the equipment. More precisely:

## ðtruck capacityÞðnumber of trucksÞ

Truck productivity ¼ ; and ð2Þ
ðtruck cycle timeÞ

Mb ¼ : ð3Þ
ðTruck productivityÞ

## *Corresponding author. Email: christina.naomi.burt@gmail.com

International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment
ISSN 1748-0930 print/ISSN 1748-0949 online Ó 2007 Taylor & Francis
http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
DOI: 10.1080/17480930701388606
Match factor for heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeets 263

Note that the Douglas ratio is restricted to one loader. Morgan and Peterson (1968) published a
simpler version of the ratio, naming it the match factor (MF):

## ðnumber of trucksÞðloader cycle timeÞ

MF ¼ : ð4Þ

The truck cycle times (for equation (4)) do not include waiting times, although it is not clear
why. This ratio uses the actual productivities in the ratio, rather than potential productivities, and
therefore achieves a diﬀerent result to equation (3).
The concept of match factor provides a measure of productivity of the ﬂeet. The ratio is so
called because it can be used to match the truck arrival rate to shovel service rate. This ratio
removes itself from equipment capacities, and in this sense, potential productivity, by including

the loading times in both the loader and truck cycle times. Also, the formula captures the ratio of
truck arrival time to loader serving rate.
In the Morgan and Peterson paper, cycle times do not include waiting or queuing times.
However, if the ratio is applied after the ﬂeet and an estimate of cycle time has been determined,
then an estimate of queue and wait times can be built into the match factor as a component of the
truck and loader cycle times. The truck cycle time as employed in this paper is considered to be
the time taken to be loaded with material, travel to the dumpsite, dump the load, travel back to the
loader and queue for the next load (ﬁgure 1). The time taken to load the trucks can also be
averaged into a single overall truck cycle time. Alternatively unique truck cycle times can be easily
introduced for improved calculations if needed: the heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeet match
factor ratio presented in section 4 accommodates diﬀering truck cycle times.
This paper focuses on the application of match factor as a productivity indicator, and therefore
assumes that queue and wait times are included in the cycle times. With this idea of cycle time in
mind, a match factor of 1.0 represents a balance point, where trucks are arriving at the loader at
the same rate that they are being served. Typically, if the ratio exceeds 1.0, this indicates that the
trucks are arriving faster than they are being served. In this instance, we can expect the trucks to
queue. A ratio below 1.0 indicates that the loaders are serving faster than the trucks are arriving.
In this case, we expect the loaders to wait for trucks to arrive. Unfortunately, in practice a
theoretical match factor of 1.0 may not correlate with an actual match factor of 1.0 because of
truck bunching. In this sense, the calculated match factor value is optimistic. The match factor
ratio has been used to indicate the eﬃciency of the truck or loader ﬂeet and in some instances has

## Figure 1. Truck cycle time.

264 C. N. Burt and L. Caccetta

been used to determine a suitable number of trucks for the ﬂeet (Cetin 2004, Kuo 2004). Both the
mining and construction industries have adopted this ratio (Morgan 1994, Smith et al. 1995). The
construction industry may be interested in achieving a match factor close to 1.0, which would
indicate that the productivity levels of the ﬂeet are maximised. However, the mining industry may
be more interested in lower levels of match factor, which correspond to smaller trucking ﬂeets and
increased waiting times for loaders, as this usually correlates with a lower operating cost for the
ﬂeet.
Some literature hints at using the match factor formula to determine an optimistic eﬃciency
indicator of the overall ﬂeet (Smith et al. 1995). Figure 2 demonstrates the change in total
optimistic eﬃciency with increasing match factor. A low match factor (0.5) correlates to low
overall eﬃciency of the ﬂeet (50%), while the truck eﬃciency is 100%. This is a case of under-
trucking, where the loader’s eﬃciency is reduced while it waits for further trucks to arrive. A high

match factor (1.5) indicates over-trucking. In this case, the loader works to 100% eﬃciency, while
the trucks must queue to be loaded.
The match factor ratio, in equation (4), relies on the assumption that the operating ﬂeets are
homogeneous; that is, only one type of equipment for both trucks and loaders is used in the
overall ﬂeet. When used to determine the size of the truck ﬂeet, some literature simpliﬁes this
formula further by assuming that only one loader is operating in the ﬂeet (Morgan 1994, Smith
et al. 1995, Nunnally 2000). In practice, mixed ﬂeets and multiple loaders are common because of
pre-existing equipment or optimal ﬂeet selection that minimises the cost of the project (Burt et al.
2005).
While the formula can be used to give an indication of eﬃciency or productivity ratios, it fails to
take truck bunching into account. When trucks are operating in a cycle, the truck cycle time will
tend towards the slowest truck cycle time, unless overtaking is permitted. That is, faster trucks will

## Figure 2. The change in optimistic eﬃciency with match factor.

Match factor for heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeets 265

bunch behind the slower trucks, causing a drop in the average cycle time. Queuing has the eﬀect of
‘resetting’ the truck cycles, and reduces the eﬀect of bunching. Bunching in oﬀ-road trucks is not
well studied, and typically, reducing factors are used to shrink the eﬃciency to account for
bunching (Douglas 1964, Morgan 1994, Smith et al. 2000). Further modelling of the true bunching
eﬀect would be a helpful asset to the mining and construction industries, as the issue is currently
unresolved.
The aim of this paper is to provide extensions to the productivity and eﬃciency measures
currently available in the literature. We derive several extensions to the match factor ratio that
provides greater ease of calculation for heterogeneous ﬂeets: in particular we present a new way of
calculating match factor for the cases of heterogeneous ﬂeets truck ﬂeets, heterogeneous loader
ﬂeets, and where both truck and loader ﬂeets are heterogeneous.

## 2. Preliminaries and notation

In this section we outline some parameters that are used throughout the paper (table 1) and derive
a simple extension to the match factor ratio for heterogeneous trucking ﬂeets. The ratios presented
in sections 3 and 4 are extensions of this result.
We begin by considering the truck arrival rate (TAR) and the case of a heterogeneous truck ﬂeet

ðnumber of trucksÞ
TAR ¼ : ð5Þ
ðtruck cycle timeÞ

This rate is unaﬀected by the number of truck types, as an averaged truck cycle time is used. The
loader service rate is the number of trucks that are served per second. The loader cycle time may
vary between diﬀerent truck types. The loader service rate (LSR) must reﬂect the time taken to
service one truck (where i denotes truck type):

## ðnumber of trucks servedÞ

LSR ¼
¼ P : ð6Þ

As the MF is the ratio of truck arrival rate to loader service time, we have:
P
MF ¼ : ð7Þ

## Number of trucks The total number of trucks in the ﬂeet

Trucksi The number of trucks of type i in the ﬂeet
Truck loading timei The cycle time of one loader type when working with a truck type i
Unique loading timei, j The cycle time of the loader j when working with a truck type i
Total loader cycle The time taken for one loader to serve all trucks in the ﬂeet
Truck cycle timei The cycle time of truck type i
Truck cycle time The average cycle time for all trucks in the current period
266 C. N. Burt and L. Caccetta

It is clear that if only one type of truck is operating in the ﬂeet, then equation (7) will produce
the same results as equation (4). An alternative method for calculating the match factor for
heterogeneous truck ﬂeets is to add the individual match factors from each of the homogeneous
sub-ﬂeets (ﬁgure 3). Note that this alternative method is only appropriate for the case of
homogeneous loader ﬂeets working with heterogeneous trucking ﬂeets.
Sometimes it may be relevant to use unique truck cycle times for diﬀerent truck types in the
haul waste while the smaller trucks are used to haul ore. The waste and ore may be sent to diﬀerent
locations with signiﬁcantly diﬀerent cycle lengths. Also, we may consider the loading time
diﬀerence between two diﬀerent truck types signiﬁcant. When diﬀering individual truck cycle
times are used, the times must be weight averaged to produce an accurate match factor. Equation
(7) can be easily extended to account for unique truck cycle times. The average cycle time is

given by:
P
i ðtrucksi
 truck cycle timei Þ
truck cycle time ¼ : ð8Þ
ðnumber of trucksÞ

Now, substituting this new total truck cycle time into equation (7), we have:
P
MF ¼ P : ð9Þ
ðnumber of loadersÞ i ðtrucksi  truck cycle timei Þ

For completeness, the following extensions to the match factor ratio should include equipment
availability. Equipment availability is the proportion of time that a truck or loader is available to
work. This is used to account for loss in availability due to maintenance and breakdowns. For the
purpose of clarity, availability has not been built into the following derivations.
The following two sections will extend the match factor ratio for the cases of heterogeneous
loader ﬂeets, and the case where both truck and loader ﬂeets are heterogeneous. Both of these
sections make use of equation (9).

This section considers the case of mixed loaders in the ﬂeet, while the trucks remain uniform in
type. The loading time may be diﬀerent for various sized trucks. In order to determine an accurate

Figure 3. The match factor for the overall ﬂeet is the sum of the match factors for the
homogeneous sub-ﬂeets.
Match factor for heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeets 267

loader service rate we can make use of the least common multiple (lcm) of the unique loading
times for each truck and loader pair. The least common multiple of numbers a and b is the smallest
number that both a and b multiply into. For example, lcm(2, 3) ¼ 6. Additional parameters in the
formula are in table 2.
The loader service rate reﬂects the amount of time taken to serve one truck. In a heterogeneous
ﬂeet, the time taken to serve a truck may diﬀer between the varying loader types. Suppose we have
two loader types and one truck type. The corresponding loading times are a and b. The least
common multiple of a and b is the smallest amount of time that both a and b multiply into evenly.
If we can calculate how many times a occurs within lcm(a, b), and similarly for b, then we can
determine the number of trucks that are served in that time period. Note that j denotes a loader
type.
Ph i

LSR ¼ : ð10Þ
Recall that the match factor is the ratio of truck arrival rate to loader service rate. Thus we
have:

MF ¼ P h i : ð11Þ
j

When only one type of loader operates in the ﬂeet, equation (11) reduces to equation (4). In the
case of multiple dump locations, equation (11) can be expanded to account for diﬀering truck
cycle times:

j

3.1 Example
The following example calculates the match factor of a heterogeneous loader ﬂeet. Table 3 outlines
the equipment set.
The cycle time for the loader is the time taken for one full swing of the bucket. Some trucks may
take several buckets to ﬁll its tray. The ﬁrst step is to determine the unique loading time for each

## Table 2. Parameters in the heterogeneous loader ﬂeet match factor formula.

Table 3. Example data: heterogeneous loader ﬂeet with common truck cycle time.

## 22 Truck type A 150 1500

1 Loader type B 60 35
1 Loader type C 42 35
268 C. N. Burt and L. Caccetta

truck. If the truck capacity is not a round multiple of the loader capacity, then a rule is used to
determine how many swings are required to ﬁll the truck. The rule of thumb used here is if the
modulus of the truck capacity to loader capacity is less than a third of the loader bucket size, it is
not worth the extra swing to ﬁll that last amount.

150
Truck type A and loader type B : ¼ 2:5 3 swings; 3  35 ¼ 105 s
60
150
Truck type A and loader type C : ¼ 3:6 4 swings; 4  35 ¼ 140 s
42

First, we must calculate the least common multiple, or lcm of the unique loading times. The lcm
is the smallest number that both 105 and 140 multiply into. In this case it is 420.

MF ¼ P h i
j

22  420
¼ 420 420
105 þ 140  1500
¼ 0:88:

This solution describes an overall ﬂeet with under-trucking. When a minimum cost ﬂeet is
desired under-trucking usually provides better solutions.

## 4. Heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeets

When both truck and loader ﬂeets are heterogeneous we must combine equations (7) and (11). As
in section 3, the truck cycle time is assumed to be an average for the entire truck ﬂeet for that
Equations (7) and (11) combine to create the match factor formula for heterogeneous ﬂeets:
Ph i
i;j

In the instance of unique truck cycle times, equation (13) can be easily extended as follows:
Ph i
i;j

When only one type of truck and one type of loader operate in the ﬂeet, both equations (13) and
(14) reduce to equation (4), as expected.

4.1 Example
This example determines the match factor of a heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeet. Table 4
presents the data set.
Match factor for heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeets 269

Table 4. Example data: heterogeneous truck and loader ﬂeet with common truck cycle time.

## 15 Truck type A 150 1500

7 Truck type B 230 1500
1 Loader type C 60 35
1 Loader type D 38 30

The unique loading times for each truck are determined by the rule of thumb described in
section 3.1.

150
Truck type A and loader type C : ¼ 2:5 3 swings; 3  35 ¼ 105 s

60
150
Truck type A and loader type D : ¼ 3:9 4 swings; 4  30 ¼ 120 s
38
230
Truck type B and loader type C : ¼ 3:8 4 swings; 4  35 ¼ 140 s
60
230
Truck type B and loader type D : ¼ 6:1 6 swings; 6  30 ¼ 180 s
38

As in section 3, we must calculate the least common multiples of the two truck loading times for

## Truck type A : lcmð105; 120Þ ¼ 840

Truck type B : lcmð140; 180Þ ¼ 1260

Ph i
i;j

22  ð840 þ 1260Þ
¼ 840 840 1260 1260
105 þ 120 þ 140 þ 180  ðtruck cycle timeÞ
¼ 0:994

This solution is close to the theoretical perfect match of 1.0. Although this is a good result in
terms of overall eﬃciency and productivity of the ﬂeet, the ﬂeet would be cheaper to operate if the
match factor was lower.

5. Conclusions
Match factor is an important eﬃciency indicator in the mining and construction industries, and
therefore accuracy in calculation is highly expected. These new formulae provide a sensible
extension to the original equation and bring greater accuracy to the cases where mixed ﬂeets
operate together. All of these formulae can be implemented easily in spreadsheet software such as
Microsoft Excel (with the Analysis ToolPak add-in that enables lcm calculations).
Some project managers may use the match factor formula to determine the ideal number of trucks
in the ﬂeet. Using the new formulae, they are less restricted in their choice of equipment, and can
select mixed ﬂeets to suit the productivity requirements and minimise materials handling expense.
270 C. N. Burt and L. Caccetta

In truck and loader equipment selection, a desired range for match factor can be built into the
constraint set. This can prevent selected ﬂeets from having long waiting times for either trucks or
loaders, or can boost the productivity levels that are critical to the construction industry.
Match factor and truck bunching are closely related topics in these industries. The true eﬀect of
bunching, however, remains elusive. Mixed ﬂeets may exacerbate bunching and consequently the
match factor may require a diﬀerent correcting factor than that used for a match factor calculated
with a homogeneous ﬂeet. Bunching modelling in oﬀ-road equipment is necessary in order to
determine the optimal ﬂeet for a given project. Such modelling will bring greater understanding of
the changes in eﬃciency relative to diﬀerent equipment types and truck-loader pairs, and
consequently permit a true optimal selection of equipment.

Acknowledgements
This project is supported through the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant No:
LP0454362.

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