Floating fuel pickup – simplicity in innovation

Floating FuelActive® offers a simple but low-maintenance and highly efficient solution to the problem of fuel pollution, which is widespread in mining around the world due to the combination of dust particles and / or the use of biodiesel or low quality diesel fuel. IM Editor-in-Chief Paul Moore spoke with the company to gain insight into the potential of the technology to date.

Sometimes the simplest ideas in mining can have a huge impact when measured on a scale of equipment park. In some cases, they have not been thought of before, while in others the idea has been put forward but not implemented properly or is not supported – often it just takes a champion to install it so that the data can speak for itself. A great example of this kind of innovation can be found at Cardiff, FuelActive Ltd headquartered in the UK.

Approximately 80% of machine downtime or premature maintenance is caused by fuel contamination. This is a global problem affecting the mining sector. Fuel pollution increases operating costs by unjustifiably increasing budgets for repairs and maintenance, reducing productivity and capital efficiency. If the engine runs with less thermal efficiency, it can lead to increased emissions and reduced fuel economy. The operator is also at serious risk of causing a catastrophic engine failure on site. There are many solutions to eliminate fuel pollution, but they all require regular maintenance and replacement of parts. FuelActive says it’s the only product on the side that’s on the market today.

The patented FuelActive fuel unit is a unique innovative solution to the problem of fuel pollution in diesel engines. Unlike a standard fuel collection tube, the device uses a floating tube that pulls clean fuel from the top of the fuel level, thus avoiding harmful contaminants that settle to the bottom. Contaminants such as particulate matter and water can interfere with or impair the efficiency of even the best fuel injection systems. And pollution starts with the first filling. Having the most efficient filtration, which starts with a clean method of cleaning inside the tank, is vital to ensure that all diesel engines run at the highest level of efficiency.

FuelActive states: “By supplying the highest quality fuel to the fuel lines, FuelActive protects the fuel system and significantly reduces the problems associated with contaminated fuel. Most contaminants are carried by water and are about 15% heavier than diesel, resulting in sinking to the bottom of the fuel tank. By taking fuel from the top fuel level, the FuelActive unit avoids sedimentary contamination at the bottom of the tank. ”

This was announced by Chief Commercial Officer Max Lightl IM: “Pollution in diesel tanks usually consists of deposits (dirt, metal and rust), water and microorganisms that separate very quickly and settle to the bottom of the fuel tank. Standard diesel engines place the fuel collection point exactly where these contaminants are located, at the bottom of the tank. These pollutants create many problems for operators; early blocking of filters, damage to lifting pumps and deterioration of sensitive engine injectors. The patented FuelActive unit is a unique innovative solution to this problem. ”

The introduction of the Common Rail high-pressure system with an injection pressure> 2,500 bar further exacerbated the need for clean fuel operation. Qualified professionals can install the FuelActive device in less than an hour in virtually all applications. FuelActive immediately starts working, protecting the engine from the effects of diesel pollution. It works in almost any environment, at temperatures from -40 ° C to 50 ° C. FuelActive is also manufactured using high quality materials designed specifically to work with hydrocarbon fuels. This is backed by a five-year warranty on all standard products.

Tested in Indonesian contract mining

Mining is a very conservative industry – operators want to see data and preferably comparative data that show the effect with and without technology – and they want a lot. They also want data that shows stable performance and proven benefits for profit. FuelActive has already achieved this at a number of facilities related to mining and quarries. However, one of the most impressive was the deployment of Macmahon Holdings ’global contract mining at a customer’s gold mine in Sumatra, Indonesia. Macmahon’s extensive experience in onshore and underground mining has placed the Company as a mining contractor for global resource projects in a variety of commodity sectors.

Macmahon manages a fleet of Volvo A60H ADT fleets that experience excessive low power incidents (LPI). It is believed that the cause of LPI is a combination of dusty and humid environments and the use of B30 biodiesel, which is relatively standard in Indonesia. McMahon agreed to test FuelActive on Evidence Concept (POC). Three FA16 FuelActive units were sent to the site for installation in April 2021. Importantly, as a control, these ADT units were compared to new units of the same specification for the same application in the same location. Setting a high bar, ADT with FuelActive units already had 4,500 hours behind them. Given the age difference, the performance of Volvo’s “new” ADTs was quite high in the first two months. However, the effects of the infection began to manifest. For the last six months of 2021, the data has clearly contributed to FuelActive’s performance.

Macmahon’s service records recorded 27 LPI on “new” standard units and 9 on FuelActive units – a 66% decrease. Using Volvo OEM fleet telematics to record fuel consumption data over a 25-week period, Fuel Active units had better fuel economy in 22 of 25 weeks. In one of the three standard ADTs in the control group, the fuel injectors were replaced during the test period, and in none of the units equipped with FuelActive, also noting that in two trucks outside the control group, the fuel injectors were replaced. The average fuel economy across the control group was 36.7 liters per hour, with an average improvement in fuel economy of 3.4% from FuelActive. To turn this into sustainability and the resulting benefit – a saving of 3.4% equates to 1.25 l / h or 18 l / day (based on typical ADT operation of 15 hours per day). This statistic is 49.1 kg of CO2 savings per day or 17,930 kg of CO2 per year for each truck equipped with FuelActive. In terms of costs, based on 18 L / d, FuelActive’s return on investment was 251% in the first year.

As a result, in November 2021, Macmahon placed an order for the rest of the Volvo ADT fleet, numbering 10. In January 2022, Macmahon extended the FuelActive solution to its Cat 390 hydraulic excavator fleet and the rest of the Volvo ADT. The contractor’s fleet also includes ADT Cat 745, so there is potential for further expansion in the future.

PT Macmahon Maintenance Manager Nigel Wickson said: “Macmahon Indonesia is committed to improving business through technology. In late April 2021, we installed FuelActive on three Volvo A60s to reduce low-energy incidents that cause significant equipment downtime. It is gratifying that low-energy incidents on these trucks have been reduced by 66%, which has increased the reliability and affordability of the truck. We also recorded significant fuel savings on FuelActive equipment by an average of 3.4% over the last six months. The savings were evident each month, amounting to almost 18 tonnes of CO2 savings per year per truck. I would recommend FuelActive to install on all mining equipment to save on repairs and maintenance, increase equipment uptime, fuel economy and sustainability. ”

Tom Michaelson-Yates, director of mining at FuelActive, adds: “FuelActive is a unique“ fit and forget ”solution designed to reduce the significant costs associated with diesel pollution. Working with Macmahon, the world’s innovative mining contractor, has given us the opportunity to demonstrate that we increase mining productivity and reduce repair and maintenance costs. The fact that we can prove stable and significant fuel savings with clear financial benefits and sustainability is a potential game changer in the industry. This is in line with data we have seen in other sectors. “

Ultra-class trucks in Chilean copper

As a final note: in very different mining conditions FuelActive was installed and proved very effective during a 12-month test of Komatsu 980E ultra-class dump trucks at one of the world’s largest copper mines in the Antofagasta region of Chile in arid and high conditions. the height of the Atacama Desert. The filters worked for more than 1,000 hours compared to the previous limit of 250 hours. Pumps and injectors work in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturers – for 12 months no replacement was made. The system has shown stable and reliable operation. Trucks equipped with FuelActive provide better levels of accessibility, power and speed compared to other 400-tonne trucks at the mine. For 12 months, there were no significant fuel-related breakdowns in the units equipped with FuelActive. This equated to significant performance over 12 months of testing to such an extent that FuelActive was included by mine owners in the standard specification for future service and maintenance contracts for mining trucks. In addition, FuelActive is now being tested at another major copper mine in Chile.

Jeff Doves, President and CEO of Komatsu Mining, said: “For Komatsu Chile and our customers, the installation of FuelActive balers has proved to be an effective way to tackle the global problem of fuel pollution in diesel cars.”

Other mining applications for FuelActive active today include a coal mine in South Africa, nickel mines in Indonesia, underground mines in Australia, projects with OEMs, including an option suitable for heavy mobile crushing and screening units, and work with major OEM exploration drills.

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