This thesis is an economic feasibility study to see whether the cash flow generated from the machine guidance warrants the installation of further GPS on more equipment at Collinsville Coal Mine. The results show that the pay back period for a digger with machine guidance is 5 months, while the dozer machine guidance pay back period (for three dozers) is a year and a half. The format of results allowed for this study to be applied through other mining operations as they were documented as a saving per bcm. The trend of the data illustrates that the more material moved, then faster the pay back period for both dozer and digger machine guidance.
Dozer machine guidance has been widely used and documented in the mining industry with many companies advertising their products (such as Modula, Leica, Trimble and Tritronics), though these studies are prominently regarding dozers as an ancillary tool. Collinsville Coal Mine is starting a new process of introducing dozers as a production piece of equipment, using them to push material into the final spoil position (bulk dozing). This process is being aided by the introduction of machine guidance which monitors the production rate of the dozer allowing for optimisation of the extraction process, along with determining the changeover point from bulk dozing to truck and excavator (saving $0.106/bcm). Further benefits include a reduction in survey by two thirds (at a saving of $0.076/bcm).
The use of machine guidance is also being used on a Leibherr 994 at Collinsville giving benefits such as saving rehandle, reducing over and under dig of the low wall as well as controlling bench height to maximise production rates. Unfortunately the topic of using machine guidance on excavators has not been widely published due to each company wanting a leading edge over the rest. Of the articles that have been found they have all been in high support for the system stating the safety and rehandle savings. The major cost savings of digger machine guidance include over dig, under dig and bench height control (give savings of $0.047/bcm, $0.015/bcm and $0.0008/bcm respectively).