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The Importance of Diesel Fuel in Mining

In the mining industry, diesel fuel is utilized in various equipment such as loaders, haul trucks, drills and more. With equipment being run constantly for hours on end, these engines face strenuous operational hours resulting in mechanical stress.

These stresses in combination with the use of poor-quality fuel could lead into mechanical failures that cut into a mining site’s financial overhead. With complex engine failures and the required parts not being immediately available, these repairs could take extended amounts of time to be corrected.

Diesel fuel begins to degrade after less than 30 days from the time it is refined. When fuel begins to degrade, the reliability of engine operability is put at risk. With large mining operations using hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of fuel each and every day, contamination in a storage tank can quickly spread to affect many of the engines operating on the site.

This fuel contamination can lead to costly injector failures, rendering crucial equipment disabled until they can undergo critical repairs.

With the introduction of Tier-4 diesel engines to meet EPA standards in emissions reductions, this problem is further compounded with the presence of high pressure common-rail (HPCR) injection systems.

These HPCR injection systems are designed to reduce fuel mist droplet sizes and completely burn out before the fuel reaches the lining of the engine cylinder.

With the demands of mining equipment, these fine injector tolerances can prove to be a problem. Poor-quality fuel being supplied to these can result in improper combustion and soot build up, which leads to injector blockages and injector failures.

This compromises engine reliability and efficiency, which could prevent the mining equipment from being operated as demanded.

Operational Efficiency and Fuel Quality

The supply of quality fuel provides numerous benefits to the mechanical operability and reliability of mining equipment.

Poor quality fuel can result in common equipment problems such as:

  • Trouble starting
  • Low engine power
  • Rough idle
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Excessive smoke

With the occurrences of problems like these that are effects of fuel contamination, it is recommended to implement a fuel maintenance and management plan to bring the fuel back up to a desired quality. Failure to do so could result in more significant equipment damage, which could become costly.

AXI International’s reputation as a global leader in Intelligent Fuel Management™ allows us to solve the various problems that arise with bulk fuel storage and supply. Solutions include fuel conditioning devices, filtration systems, monitoring devices and more. AXI International also offers consultation for fuel site analysis and design to optimize the efficiency and quality of a fuel site.

Fuel quality has a direct correlation to engine performance. When equipment is running reliably and being supplied with quality fuel, mining operations are able to be more efficient and effective in increasing production–thus increasing site revenue.

Being used in mining operations around the globe, AFC Additives are a proprietary fuel additive distributed by AXI that offers a concentrated treatment ratio and an array of benefits to prolong engine life and increase equipment efficiency.

By prioritizing fuel quality, mining operation managers can mitigate unexpected equipment issues and failures. In doing so, mining sites can be as efficient and effective as possible.

Maintenance schedules are important to maintain the longevity of critical mining equipment. Without strict maintenance schedules being met, mining equipment is more likely to fail and result in extended periods of downtime which affects the overall operational output of the mine.

Reliability Engineers develop preventative maintenance plans that are implemented into mining operations to continue efficient production of the facility.

Diesel fuel management is a priority in these maintenance plans, as a continuous supply of quality diesel fuel is necessary to sustain mining operations. With the amount of mining equipment being used on-site, mining operations can consume incredible amounts of fuel.

One drag line has two engines and can burn 1,600 gallons of fuel per day. Diesel fuel contamination can wreak havoc on critical equipment if not properly mitigated. It is their responsibility to implement plans to prevent these issues from arising.

The different types of equipment used on a mining site include:

  • Water Pumps
  • Generators
  • Pipe
  • Excavators
  • Dag Line
  • Feeders and Crushers
  • Drill
  • Dump Trucks and Haul Trucks
  • Dozer
  • Trencher
  • Scrapers and Graders
  • Loaders
  • Fuel Trucks

With most mines being under operation 24/7, equipment must be in operation constantly. When equipment goes down, money is being lost. This makes maintaining equipment uptime especially critical in enhancing profitability for many mines.

To improve operational efficiencies, mining operation managers will grade the roads to be as smooth as possible, reducing tire drag and increasing fuel efficiency. Using computer algorithms, mining companies design and build roads at the mining site to ensure the equipment has the most direct travel to the site, improving fuel efficiency.

Air quality has grown to be a point of significance within underground mines. Miners are impacted by the emissions from the equipment, and in tight spaces are susceptible to breathing issues from the poor air quality.

Smoke from equipment can decrease visibility underground, as well as have other negative effects on workers. It is for these reasons that underground mines have put an increased focus on improving air quality and reducing equipment emissions.

This can be achieved through the introduction of additives into the fuel being consumed by mining equipment. AFC Fuel Additive is engineered to improve fuel combustion, and through supplying mining equipment with clean fuel dosed with fuel additive, fuel economy is increased along with equipment power and fuel combustion.

By achieving a more-complete burn of fuel, less fuel is wasted, resulting in reductions of fuel gallons per hour being used, particulate matter in exhaust emissions, and injector fouling.

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