Aggressively applying the throttle, breaking too heavily when going down ramps and hitting gas when going uphill.
These are some of the most common gas guzzling habits that the team at Fort Knox has been able to identify among mine truck operators as part of an innovative training program that uses an advanced driving simulator to enhance fuel efficiency.
The program uses life-size simulators to measure gas consumption on a typical work day. Gas guzzling habits are identified and drivers are then trained on techniques for increasing fuel efficiency before being re-measured in the simulator under the same driving scenarios.
The improvements were significant, especially when it came to driving on ramps and hills. The changed habits have the potential to save more than $1 million in fuel consumption over the next year.
“It has been one of our best CI initiatives at Fort Knox and even our most seasoned drivers made improvements. Our open pit mobile fleet diesel costs have the potential to be reduced by 3%,” explained David Clark, Senior Manager, Global Continuous Improvement Programs.
John Pitts, Mine Training Supervisor, who first saw the simulator at a fuel efficiency conference and immediately thought it could benefit the site, championed the program, which ran last January. Other key members of the team included David Clark, Craig Natrop, Mine Superintendent, Brandon Holm, Mine Operations Training Coordinator, Lynn Gibbs, Mine Training Coordinator, Slavic Puchalsky, Mine Training Coordinator, Brian Byrd, Mine Training Coordinator and Pedro Marujo, Manager, Global Energy Efficiency Program.
“Through our company-wide operational improvement initiatives, we’ve been sharing best practices. Other sites have expressed an interest and the intent is to expand the advanced fuel efficiency training,” said Sunil Kumar, Director, Energy Strategy, Operations Strategy.
Brian Byrd, Mine Training Coordinator, takes the wheel in the driving simulator
The Fort Knox driving simulator team from left to right: Brandon Holm, Mine Operations Training Coordinator, John Pitts, Mine Training Supervisor, Brian Byrd, Mine Training Coordinator, Slavic Puchalsky, Mine Training Coordinator, Lynn Gibbs, Mine Training Coordinator (Not pictured: Craig Naatrop, Mine Superintendent)