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International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and

Environment

ISSN: 1748-0930 (Print) 1748-0949 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/nsme20

Match factor for heterogeneous truck and loader


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

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17480930701388606

Published online: 25 Jun 2008.

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

Match factor for heterogeneous truck


and loader fleets
C. N. BURT* and L. CACCETTA

Western Australian Centre of Excellence in Industrial Optimisation (WACEIO),


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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
loading fleet, and the case where both truck and loader fleets are 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:

ðloader capacityÞðloader efficiencyÞ


Loader productivity ¼ ; ð1Þ
ðloader cycle timeÞ

ðtruck capacityÞðnumber of trucksÞ


Truck productivity ¼ ; and ð2Þ
ðtruck cycle timeÞ

ðLoader productivityÞ
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
ðnumber of loadersÞðtruck cycle timeÞ

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
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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
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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.
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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
with homogeneous loading 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
ðtotal loader cycleÞ
ðnumber of loadersÞðnumber of trucksÞ
¼ P : ð6Þ
i ðtrucksi  truck loading timei Þ

As the MF is the ratio of truck arrival rate to loader service time, we have:
P
i ðtrucksi  truck loading timei Þ
MF ¼ : ð7Þ
ðnumber of loadersÞðtruck cycle timeÞ

Table 1. Parameters in heterogeneous match factor ratio.

Number of trucks The total number of trucks in the fleet


Number of loaders The total number of loaders in the fleet
Trucksi The number of trucks of type i in the fleet
Loadersj The number of loaders of type j 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
fleet. In addition to discernibly different loading times, the larger equipment may be used to
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
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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
ðnumber of trucksÞ i ðtrucksi  truck loading timei Þ
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).

3. Heterogeneous loader fleets


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
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lcmðunique loading timesÞ


i ðloaders j Þ  unique loading timej
LSR ¼ : ð10Þ
lcmðunique loading timesÞ
Recall that the match factor is the ratio of truck arrival rate to loader service rate. Thus we
have:

ðnumber of trucksÞ  lcmðunique loading timesÞ


MF ¼ P h i : ð11Þ
lcmðunique loading timesÞ
j ðloaders j Þ  unique loading time  ðtruck cycle timeÞ
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:

ðnumber of trucksÞ2  lcmðunique loading timesÞ


MF ¼ P   lcmðunique loading timesÞ P : ð12Þ
j ðloadersj Þ  unique loading time  i ðtrucksi  truck cycle timei Þ
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.

lcm(unique loading times) The least common multiple of the unique loading times for all j.
Unique loading timej The cycle time of the loader j when working with one truck type.

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

Equipment Capacity (tonnes) Cycle time (seconds)

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.
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ðnumber of trucksÞ  lcmðunique loading timesÞ


MF ¼ P h i
lcmðunique loading timesÞ
j ðloadersj Þ  unique loading times  ðtruck cycle timeÞ
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
period. An additional parameter in the formula is denoted by lcm(unique loading times)j, which is
the least common multiple of all the truck loading times for loader type j.
Equations (7) and (11) combine to create the match factor formula for heterogeneous fleets:
Ph i
j ðnumber of trucksÞ  lcmðunique loading timesÞj
MF ¼  P hP lcmðunique loading timesÞj i : ð13Þ
loadersj  j i unique loading time ðtruck cycle timeÞ
i;j

In the instance of unique truck cycle times, equation (13) can be easily extended as follows:
Ph i
ðnumber of trucksÞ j ðnumber of trucksÞ  lcmðunique loading timesÞj
MF ¼  P hlcmðunique loading times Þi P : ð14Þ
loadersj j unique loading time j i ðtrucksi  truck cycle timei Þ
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.

Equipment Capacity (tonnes) Cycle time (seconds)

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
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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
each loader.

Truck type A : lcmð105; 120Þ ¼ 840


Truck type B : lcmð140; 180Þ ¼ 1260

Ph i
ðnumber of trucksÞ j ðnumber of trucksÞ  lcmðunique loading timesÞj
MF ¼  P hlcmðunique loading times Þi P
loadersj j unique loading times j i ðtrucksi  truck cycle timei Þ
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.
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Acknowledgements
This project is supported through the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant No:
LP0454362.

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