Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal
Feb 23, 2016
Symboticware Incorporated, a Sudbury-based company offering ruggedized hardware and software solutions for real-time collection, transmission and analysis of heavy equipment performance data, has partnered with Wajax Power Systems to distribute its technology across Canada.
Boasting 29 locations from Newfoundland to British Columbia, including locations in Sudbury, Timmins and Thunder Bay, Wajax Power Systems serves the mining, oil and gas, construction, power generation, and transportation sectors with parts and service for heavy equipment.
Symboticware vice-president Joseph Gladu describes the relationship as a win-win for both companies.
Wajax’s national presence serves as an extension of Symboticware’s boots on the ground, while the Sudbury supplier’s technology provides Wajax with a new service offering.
“Given where the markets are now, a lot of companies aren’t buying new equipment because it’s just too expensive,” noted Gladu. Instead, they’re having to maximize the life of their fleets. That creates a service opportunity for Wajax.”
The Symboticware solution – the Symbot – is installed on heavy equipment to capture maintenance related data, including engine and transmission pressures and temperatures. It can be installed on haul trucks, LHDs, wheel loaders, tracked dozers or any high-volume diesel powered equipment.
“It provides a holistic view of the health of a vehicle,” said Gladu.
The service provider – Wajax in this case – or the end-user can receive daily or weekly reports summarizing equipment performance and highlighting any potential issues indicative of a potential failure.
“Looking at a snapshot of data at one point in time might not tell you anything,” said Gladu. “However, looking at data over a period of time can reveal performance issues that can be dealt with through preventative maintenance.
“The appetite for data is at an all-time high and it’s continuing to increase because mining company margins are razor thin and grades are lower. Mining companies have to start using data to understand where their inefficiencies are and to reduce downtime.”
Most OEMs have engine computer units (ECUs) that collect data from upwards of 200 sensors, but a lot of the data is captive, said Gladu.
“But the data is not easily available. If there’s a problem and the OEM technician comes on-site, he plugs in his laptop and is able to diagnose the problem after-the-fact. Mining companies are dependent on the OEM and customers are saying ‘We spent $1 million for that piece of equipment and want access to the data ourselves. We don’t necessarily want to have to bring in the OEM.’
“Some OEMs are starting to provide software to end-users because of pressure they’re getting from their customers, but if you have Caterpillar equipment, you’ll need a CAT solution. If you have Sandvik equipment, you’ll need a solution for Sandvik. Most mining companies have a mixed fleet. The value proposition that we offer is we don’t care how many different kinds of vehicles you have. We level the playing field. We are agnostic in terms of the OEM. We pull all that data and we present it to the end-user.
Wajax Power Systems’ business development manager Kyle Doherty is optimistic about the opportunity to help end-users extend the life of their mobile fleets.
“Through our partnership with Symboticware, we plan to provide our customers specific measured data with regards to their mobile assets so that they can in turn make efficient and better informed business and planning decisions. We feel that the Symboticware product line will be a game changer for our customers.”