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Production and Payload Management System Benefits Syncrude Canada

By Mark S. Kuhar

BMT WBM, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, announced the successful deployment of its innovative machine health, production and payload management system, the Pulse TerraMetrix RS for Syncrude Canada, based in the Northern Alberta Oil Sands region which produces over 350,000 barrels of oil a day.

Due to high production demands, Syncrude identified the need for a shovel-based payload monitoring system to allow operators the opportunity to implement strategic truck-loading control strategies.

Charles Constancon, director of BMT WBM Canada explains: “Electric rope shovels have become an integral part of open pit mining operations, where rugged reliability, high performance and optimum productivity are key requirements. The Pulse TerraMetrix RS helps to maximize efficiencies with its high accuracy and ability to significantly increase productivity levels – both of which are of vital importance to Syncrude Canada and other mining companies around the world.”

Configured to communicate with any third-party truck-dispatch system, the Pulse TerraMetrix RS system can be applied to different models of electric rope shovels including P&H4100 and CAT 7495. Recent developments of the system have included a comprehensive machine health monitoring capability using strain-sensing transducers placed on the A-frame and boom structures.

These transducers allow the system to track boom jacking and adverse swing events, identify alarm events and quantify the mechanical damage per swing cycle. Productivity indicators provide meaningful online feedback to the operator including average bucket/truck payload, overall shift production, swing cycle time, as well as operating and delay times.

The system developed for Syncrude Canada is configured to communicate through the mine wireless mesh to a server located in the mine’s administration offices.

Data is saved in a SQL database and is accessible through an advanced server analysis program located on the mine’s intranet. This enables maintenance, training and production staff to easily access, process and analyze the data on a shift basis to identify where production shortfalls arise and where further operator training is required.

About Syncrude

Syncrude is one of the largest producers of crude oil from Canada's oil sands. The company operates a large oil sand mine, utilities plant, bitumen extraction plant and upgrading facility that processes bitumen and produces value-added light, sweet crude oil for domestic consumption and export. We call our product Syncrude Crude Oil (SCO).

In 2010, Syncrude produced 107 million barrels of Syncrude Crude Oil. They currently have the capacity to supply 15 percent of the nation’s petroleum requirements.

Syncrude is one of the largest private sector employers in Alberta, Canada, employing around 5,500 people directly and an average of 1,000-1,500 maintenance contractor employees. Its operations provide jobs for 14,000 people directly and indirectly across Canada.