A brick manufacturing company transports clay from its open clay pits to its production facilities.
Transfer of clay, one of the two main raw materials for brick manufacturing, from the company's owned open clay pits to the production facilities requires a 13-mile round trip trough public roads. To sustain current production levels, the company uses its own fleet of 15-ton Mack trucks which make an average 100 trips per day, five days per week.
With no accurate means to determine the weight of the loaded haul trucks leaving the clay pit and with the always present risk of overload fines as well as the safety concerns posed by overloaded trucks, the company has been regularly under-loading the trucks by 2 to 4 tons.
This is 13% to 26% of trucks' hauling capacity. Continuous clay supply is further limited by transfer restrictions imposed during school bus hours. Weather conditions occasionally reduce material loading and hauling efficiency by making difficult the operation of equipment located at the clay pit.
With roughly 100 trucks per day, under-loaded by 3 tons on average (which is 20% of the truck capacity), 300 tons of material per day were not being hauled to the production facility. That is the equivalent of 20 roundtrip trips a day. In a 5 day work week this adds up to 1,300 miles plus the respective expenses in fuel, driver hours and equipment wear and tear.
Company management identified two areas for cost reduction and optimisation at the clay extraction site: optimise truck capacity utilisation and optimise available transport hours.
Taking all these aspects into consideration, the company's management began looking for economical and practical options to eliminate bottlenecks affecting the clay extraction and transfer.
Management started by replacing the current set of an excavator and dozer with a brand new excavator CAT 336E. The new machine has enough breakout force to replace the dozer used for ripping the ground. Additionally, with a higher loading/bucket capacity the CAT 336E reduces truck loading to no more than 4 loading cycles per truck.
To solve the under load/overload issue, and to make better use of the working time available, the company contacted K&R Weigh Systems, North Carolina's LOADRITE™ distributor. K&R recommended, installed and calibrated the X-WEIGH™ 2350 onboard weighing system for excavators.
With the LOADRITE X-WEIGH equipped CAT 336E, the weight guessing game came to an end. Currently the excavator operator, has no doubt of how much weight he is loading on each truck before it leaves the site. All potential issues due to overloaded trucks such as overload fines, excessive truck wear and tear as well as the safety concerns have ceased.
By enabling precise loading and quick dispatch of the trucks, the X-WEIGH system and the operator's talent to operate the new machine, have maximised the truck's capacity utilisation rate. On the other hand, the excavator operator has also free time for terrain preparation and other activities formerly completed by a dozer.
Additionally, the X-WEIGH onboard weighing system helps to protect the excavator by allowing the operator to maximize the machine’s loading capability while indicating and recording when the safe operating limits of the excavator machine are surpassed.
From the point of view of production planning and asset utilisation, the operation greatly benefited from the updated and immediate information tracking capabilities of the X-WEIGH onboard weighing system. They are now using one machine instead of two and making considerable savings.
Knowledge of the exact amount of raw material arriving to the plant enables managers to accomplish other tasks as opposed to waiting for trucks to arrive at the facility's weigh bridge (truck scale). This information is now available at the time each truck is loaded.
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