Given that the precise determination of the weight of products being carried at quarries is a crucial parameter in the daily functions of operations, it is essential to adopt efficient and accurate on-board weighing solutions.
With the Loadrite L3180 SmartScale, the next generation of onboard weighing that uses artificial intelligence for more accurate, precise and faster loading, quarry operators can better optimize loadout, track productivity and prevent overloading.
With an anticipated rebound of the construction sector in South Africa in 2022, the more pressing concern for quarries is being able to ramp up production to meet the projected demand for aggregates. In an environment where emphasis is fixed firmly on output, the Loadrite L3180 SmartScale from Loadtech Load Cells can give quarry management the ‘pulse’ of the entire operation, putting productivity in their hands.
The quarrying industry has a dynamic operational environment that makes it absolutely essential for the sector to deploy the right tools and systems to raise the bar of performance and efficiency. These tools have the power to directly affect the output and profitability of any quarrying business.
One critical tool that must form part of every quarrying business, argues Glen Webster, sales director at Loadtech Load Cells, is the on-board weighing system. There are several instances in quarries when weighing from a specific site becomes purely inefficient and inconvenient. This is where on-board scales come into play. The digital display fitted in the cabin of the vehicle offers easy assessment of weight metrics, thus minimizing supervisory overheads and human error.
At a time when the quarrying industry anticipates a positive business cycle, the Loadrite L3180 Smart Scale, launched locally some two years ago, has ushered in a new era in load weighing systems. A major talking point, says Webster, is the use of angle sensors instead of the traditional rotary triggers. This allows the system to offer accurate weighing in tough conditions.
Webster notes that the next generation L3180 loader scale is the company’s best yet, changing the game in the industry by being able to adjust for rough terrain, technique and movement so new and skilled operators can load with greater accuracy, precision and speed.
“Ideal for wheel loaders, excavators and conveyor systems, the L3180 SmartScale adjusts for rough terrain, technique and movement so new and skilled operators can load accurately with confidence and speed,” he says.
“Intelligence in the weighing software and new hardware gives operators of all skill levels the ability to load faster and more productively than ever before.”
Key features and benefits
The Loadrite L3180 SmartScale uses weighing intelligence and solid state sensors for more accurate, precise and faster loading. It also connects machines and devices for the collection and syncing of data via the built-in WiFi to the InsightHQ reporting portal. When using Trimble’s cloud-based InsightHQ quarry reporting portal, personnel can gain access to site production and operator performance KPIs on desktop or mobile devices.
“The L3180 now offers in-cab KPIs, including tonne/hour, tonnes and truck count to enable operators to monitor performance and achieve daily targets,” explains Webster. “Data is presented in dashboard or graphical formats, including a new loadout performance heatmap, powered by built-in GPS. The system caches data locally and then syncs it with InsightHQ.”
The L3180 keeps payload data safe by caching data during power or signal weakness/loss. When the connection is restored, wireless connection is re-established and data will automatically sync with InsightHQ.
The 5,7” touchscreen display is twice the size of previous generation displays cleaner interface design and a new touchscreen to allow for faster menu navigation and interaction.
New loading information detail, including customer and product for each job, can be customized on the interface by each operator to match their workflow and make it easier to see the right information for maximum productivity.
Additionally, eTickets sends load information to any email address, reducing the need for truck drivers to leave the cab while on site, and get on the road quicker. In the COVID-19 world, an eTicket-enabled worksite also helps support a safer environment for visiting truck drivers as there is one less reason to exit the truck cab and potentially put themselves in an unsafe area.
“Before COVID-19, it was standard practice to use a paper workflow with load tickets for truck drivers. With social distancing and the risk of injury to truck drivers who leave their cab around heavy equipment, his may no longer be acceptable. The answer is paperless, contactless Tickets,” says Webster.
Since its launch some two years ago, the L3180 has seen an increased uptake in the local quarrying industry, with several big quarrying groups among the early adopters, says Webster.
“We sold about 90 units in the first year and about 200 the second year. There is an apparent mindset shift in the industry. Quarry owners are now aware that they can actively reduce their total cost of ownership across their earthmoving equipment and trucks by using load weighing systems’ monitoring and alert features to set benchmarks and measure productivity,” he says.
Webster says the industry has seen the importance of understanding how productive their machines are, including how much fuel they use and how much material they move. They can also use that information to make changes where necessary to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
By tracking the amount of material moved per hour to measure productivity and set benchmarks using load weighing systems, operators can identify underperforming machines and make appropriate adjustments to ensure all equipment is working at its optimum efficiency.
An on-board weighing system such as the Loadrite L3180 SmartScale can be used to calculate the weight of material in an excavator’s or loader’s bucket, relay this information to the operator and record the weight for later use. Being able to track the amount of material moved per hour can then be used internally as part of an overall business analysis to measure productivity and set benchmarks.
“Once you know your benchmark productivity rates, it’s also easy to identify equipment that is underperforming, which sets off a trigger for an investigation into the underlying causes. These causes can vary widely, from operator error to equipment failure.”
Once productivity benchmarks are set, fleet managers can customize their systems to capture a wide range of other data such as cycle times, which can then be used to identify process bottlenecks and inefficiencies. By resolving these issues, managers can improve productivity and reduce operating costs.
“The Loadrite system can also measure the cycle times between each loading event, which can show how efficiently material is being moved. Shorter cycle times generally point to a more efficient and therefore more profitable operation,” says Webster.
The system actively helps reduce fuel usage. By using an accurate on-board weighing system, operators can ensure trucks are filled correctly the first time, with no productivity lost due to under loading or overloading.
“By loading trucks correctly from the outset, unnecessary truck movement is reduced as there is no need to turn around for either a refill or a removal of material once the trucks get to the weigh-bridge,” concludes Webster.