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JPE Aggregates make savings with KOMTRAX

Komatsu dozer

Komatsu machine-monitoring system saves thousands of pounds at JPE Aggregates’ Shire Oak Quarry

LAST year, Marubeni-Komatsu’s product-support representative for the Midlands and East Anglia, Richard Mayrick, helped support JPE Aggregates’ Shire Oak Quarry in the use of KOMTRAX to run the site more efficiently and, ultimately, save the company thousands of pounds.

KOMTRAX is a free-to-use machine-monitoring system that is fitted as standard on all new Komatsu equipment. It allows users to monitor essential information about their machine directly on a computer, smartphone or tablet.

JPE’s Shire Oak Quarry, located in Walsall, has a fleet made up entirely of Komatsu machines. The fleet consists of wheel loaders, bulldozers, articulated dumptrucks (ADTs) and excavators, including three Komatsu hybrid excavators.

After taking over as quarry manager in January 2018, Peter Perryman was determined to find ways to improve the site beyond what is usually expected from a quarry. Fortunately for him, Marubeni-Komatsu also have a group of product-support representatives who are equally determined to help customers get more from their machines.

Soon after Mr Perryman started work at the site, Richard Mayrick began sending him monthly eco reports on the quarry’s fleet. Then, in June, Mr Mayrick started to thoroughly analyze the KOMTRAX reports to review the machines’ performance and efficiency levels and make recommendations on areas that needed improvement.

The first thing Mr Mayrick discovered was that the machines were spending more than 70% of their time in P-mode, which is unnecessary and only required when operators need a slight temporary power boost. E-mode is an alternative working mode that still allows the machines to work efficiently whilst also reducing fuel consumption.

The operators were asked to only use P-mode when required – a simple change that resulted in the machines working in E-mode more than 75% of the time. In the first month of switching to E-mode, approximately £3,000 of fuel was saved.

The second thing Mr Mayrick identified in the KOMTRAX report was the excessive idling time of the whole fleet. More than 300 hours were being lost each month as machines sat idling. This was not only wasting fuel, but also meant the company was losing more money by not getting the most out of its operators.

Whilst it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate idling time, there are many ways companies can reduce it. JPE have achieved this by not using both of their bulldozers every day, instead using excavators to move the materials rather than have them sitting idling while waiting for the next dumptruck to arrive. They have also made sure that their ADTs do not follow each other too closely so that one has to wait while another is being loaded.

In August 2018 the |Shire Oak Quarry fleet spent a total of 546 hours idling, representing nearly 23 days of work lost. Just two months later, in October, the machines spent a total of 229 hours idling – an improvement of more than 50%.

The company’s two D65PX-18 bulldozers are one machine type that has managed to perform beyond expectations. Both dozers managed to stay in 100% E-mode for the duration of October and November and recorded less than 10 hours idling time in the same months.

Another interesting benefit from using E-mode and reducing idling time is that the DPF filters on the machines are running more efficiently. ‘There appears to be a misconception within the industry whereby people believe that machines must be running at high temperatures and power for the DPF to work efficiently,’ said Mr Mayrick. ‘The results at JPE’s Shire Oak Quarry disprove this belief as the machines are now running at a more constant power and the DPF is running perfectly fine.’

At the beginning of the project Mr Marrick was compiling the reports for JPE but he has now taught them how to use KOMTRAX independently. The company itself now spends just one-and-a-half hours a week producing and analyzing its own KOMTRAX reports.

‘We really think all companies who own Komatsu machines should be buying into this technology and learning how KOMTRAX can save them money. Once set up it takes very little time out of our week and we have already managed to save an impressive amount of money,’ said Peter Perryman. He added: ‘Richard has been a great help and it’s just one of the ways Marubeni-Komatsu add value to their machines.’

JPE, who have now been reducing their idling times and using E-mode more frequently for the past 12 months, say they have already managed to save between £35,000 and £40,000.

But idling time and working mode are not the only ways to save money. The company is continuing to work with Mr Mayrick to find other ways in which it can make savings. JPE say their next task is to analyze the use of ground-engaging tools to help increase productivity.

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