Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

In Search of the Ideal Truck-Excavator Combination

David Morley, Tim Joseph, Ming Lu
Pages 417-425 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

This paper considers the ideal truck-excavator combination, defined as the combination resulting in the lowest direct unit cost, in consideration of multiple haul scenarios characterized by different haul distances, material and equipment availability. Through the application of Monte Carlo simulation, selected for its unique ability to handle the uncertainty of activity durations, the “four to six passes” loading rule is shown to not correlate with the selection of the minimum cost fleet. Additionally, through the results of the simulation it is determined that the haul truck capacity has a greater effect on the overall efficiency of the system than does the excavator capacity. As a result, in order to arrive at efficient operations, the entire earthmoving system must be viewed as whole, namely, considering haulers together with excavators, as opposed to the popular method of first selecting a loading unit and then selecting a hauler obeying the “four to six passes” loading rule. Furthermore, truck utilization and excavator utilization exhibit an inverse relationship and neither directly correlates with the overall efficiency of the earthmoving operation. The following conclusions are drawn: first, with limited financial resources, it is more valuable to increase hauling unit size before increasing loading unit size and second, predefined rules or generalizations, not based on evidence, potentially eliminate optimal truck excavator combinations from being considered.

Keywords: Earthmoving, fleet selection, heavy civil construction, mining, Monte Carlo simulation