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To address the unique challenges posed by the Gécamines Quarries in Diack, Senegal, Topcon was called in to supply a bespoke weighing solution to ensure operations continued to run smoothly

topcon The Gécamines Quarries required a solution that was easy to learn and operate. (Image source: Topcon)

Every year, three million tonnes of basalt rock from gravel to riprap, is taken from the Gécamines Quarries in Diack, Senegal, for use in public and maritime work sites. The quarry also produces around 500,000 tonnes of limestone for use in cement factories and construction projects in the region.

Across northern, western and central Africa, Topcon has already provided innovative products that meet the needs of its clients in the field, through its partner, SmartFleet – a subsidiary of BIA. 

The Gécamines Quarries required a weighing solution that was easy to learn and operate and Topcon worked with the operating company to design a simplified version of its Loadmaster Alpha 100 weighing system – creating a bespoke solution tailored to the customer’s needs.

This system offers a simplified user interface, designed specifically so any loader can pick up and operate with ease. This new system is also currently being trialled on other sites across Senegal.

The bespoke system was designed to enable workers to load trucks as quickly and efficiently as possible, simply by using a QR reader and beeper that indicated to the driver when the correct amount was reached. This ensured that the truck was loaded properly in the first instance, which was confirmed by the weighbridge. 

Following the introduction of Topcon’s bespoke solution, the average travel time for each truck decreased by approximately 30 minutes, a huge time saving for teams on the ground. Jean-Yves Chouteau, director of the Gécamines Quarry (Vicat group) in Diack, Senegal, commented, “Since we load between 250 and 400 units a day, this solution has helped us save a significant amount of time and cut down on fuel consumption. Moreover, Article 14 of the West African Economic and Monetary Union treaty states that the overloading of trucks must be limited as much as possible to prolong the durability of roads, meaning our new weighing solutions are also benefitting the impact on local infrastructure.”

The partnership between Topcon and SmartFleet was a crucial part of the success of this project. Not only does SmartFleet represent Topcon across the region in providing quality support and service to customers, but its network of technical experts act as an on-the-ground presence at customers’ work sites. 

Fabrice Simon, sales support manager at Topcon for Africa and the Middle East, added, “The Gécamines quarry in Diack is one of our most important sites in terms of on-board weighing in Africa and our partnership with SmartFleet was crucial to the success of this project due to its understanding of the needs of local markets. 

“Having a presence on the ground also allowed us to offer 24/7 support, with the ability to receive and adapt to feedback in real time. This meant we could quickly intervene in case of any issues, offering additional peace of mind.”

To date, Topcon and SmartFleet have supported the Gécamines Quarry through the provision of eight weighing systems – four of which were equipped with the bespoke QR code system. Additionally, five loaders equipped with Topcon technology, directly connected to the computerised weighing systems, have also been provided and work with quarry operator’s existing ERP system. Two Loadmaster Alpha 100 systems have also been installed at outside warehouses for control purposes. 

As the project continues, the companies hope that an additional seven systems will be delivered by the end of the year, with further projects planned for the future.