A spotlight on the Holcim Bohle quarry
Townsville Ringroad Section Four (TRR4) is the final stage of a major upgrade project in central Queensland, Australia. The project will significantly reduce congestion on local roads, increase the movement of traffic to and from Townsville’s port, as well as future proof the area for urban and industrial expansion. The project involves lengthening and widening the current road as well as construction of new dual carriageway.
The alignment for the dual carriageway for TRR4 is across old swamp land which means it is not a standard cut to fill earthworks project, but instead a 100% import job requiring all materials to be sourced from local quarries.
Civil Contractor, Seymour Whyte, realised during the bid process that the key to success for all involved in the project would be the speed at which they could import and compact the fill. To achieve this, they would be dependent not only on their own productivity, but the productivity of the quarries and haulage company too. To be successful, constant visibility across all activities including construction, extraction, haulage and placing of materials would be absolutely necessary.
Traditional methods to track this activity relies on daily reports from the quarry weighbridge as well as an onsite spotter who manually collects the paper dockets and records information about the location and frequency of material placement. However the size and scope of this project challenged these traditional methods and called for technology for maximum success.
A technology partnership going back a decade, thanks to Gould Instruments that supplied the loader scales in the first instance, saw Seymour Whyte turn to them to fit the LFT (Legal for Trade) systems at the beginning of this project. Thereafter the local Trimble distributor, SITECH Construction Systems (SITECH CS) was called in to implement a full Trimble Connected Site to track productivity, utilisation and location across all earthmoving equipment on the construction site, all production loaders on the quarries and all trucks transporting materials to the project site. All the information is pulled together into a cloud reporting tool which gives all parties involved the real-time information they needed to make quick and effective decisions to drive productivity and efficiency.
Andrew Nicholas, Bohle Quarry Manager, says “We’re always looking for ways to push the boundaries and deliver the best to our customers. Given I was already familiar with, and interested in, Trimble technology and some of our loaders already had Trimble Loadrite weighing systems installed, I wanted to see what this technology could deliver for our operations.”
Seymour Whyte won the TRR4 contract and, in turn, Bohle Quarry, along with Black River Quarry, won the work to supply the material. Nicholas gave the go ahead for two wheel loaders and all haul trucks to be installed with Trimble Telematics technology to track their location, utilisation and productivity, as well as Trimble’s ‘Legal for Trade’ Loadrite weighing system on the wheel loaders. This information is fed into the cloud reporting tools InsightHQ and VisionLink through which Nicholas can access real-time reporting on any device.
“Having this information about operations on my iPhone is absolutely light years ahead in this industry. I can see everything in real-time from number of loads to the location of loaders and trucks, as well as material type being loaded and the weight.” Andrew Nicholas, Bohle Quarry Manager.
The technology adopted by Holcim enables managers and operators to see the data relevant to their role. This has enabled Quarry Manager, Nicholas, to make quick and accurate operational decisions and is also lifting the productivity of operators through driving a culture of healthy competition.
Through the use of this technology, Bohle Quarry has been able to supply TRR4 without interrupting normal operations and their productivity has increased dramatically. Between March and May, they exported 300,000 tonnes of material. At this time, they began supplying TRR4 and, over the following three months, they exported 1.2 million tonnes – a fourfold increase in productivity. Bohle Quarry’s biggest day saw them export 15,600 tonnes to TRR4, equating to approximately 488 loads transported, compared to their anticipated targets of 6,000 tonnes in a day.
Bypassing the weighbridge
The largest change for Holcim in all of this has been a shift away from using the traditional weighbridge system. Bypassing the weighbridge has seen a time saving of up to three minutes per truck per trip which means trucks are cycling through faster and the quarry is able to deliver more loads per day to the construction site. The impact of this on our productivity over a period of a few months has been very significant. “Bypassing the weighbridge was at first difficult to comprehend – you’re talking about a tried and tested system that is at the core of your safety, compliance, finance and administration,” says Nicholas.