The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2016

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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64 | ASIA Miner | Volume 13 • Issue 4 | 2016 Supplier News Mining companies continue to feel the ef- fects of low commodity prices while the added pressure of China's slowing econo- my is expected to lead to further market vol- atility . This has resulted in many companies putting greater pressure on plant and equip- ment in an effort to increase production and boost revenue . Ryan Sharp and Arnold Williams of BMT WBM, a subsidiary of BMT Group, believe a sustained increase in production can only be truly realised when robust maintenance procedures are in place . Taking a clos- er look at draglines, they consider current maintenance challenges and highlight how technology can help optimise and in some cases, reduce maintenance and inspection workloads . THE mining industry has been dealing with difficult times. Reduction in demand for raw materials caused by the economic slow- down led to coal and iron ore prices falling to their lowest level this century . As a result, mining companies are not able to justify capital expenditure on purchasing new ma- chines and have been focusing on devising upgrades to existing machinery to help im- prove production capacity through increas- ing payloads and reducing cycle times . However, this often has the effect of re- ducing the service life of machine compo- nents and structures due to increased duty . With resistance to 'avoidable' downtime, too often payloads are increased and cycle times reduced without the required machine upgrades being installed, based on the ex- pectation that the increased maintenance cost and effort required would be more than justified in consideration of the increase in production . The approach towards maintenance has often been ad-hoc and 'conventional' with maintenance plans for a piece of equipment often simply put together on the basis of recommendations or instructions obtained from Original Equipment Manufacturers for operating in the original machine configura- tion . As a consequence, certain preventa- tive maintenance tasks have become stan- dardised, remaining somewhat unchanged and unreflective of the change of duties or increased loads handled by upgraded plant and machinery . With strong emphasis on machinery avail- ability and the continuing trend towards op- erating at increased rates of production, this 'conventional' approach is no longer sus- tainable and mining companies must look at utilising every available tool and technique to improve maintenance practices . Al- though the OEMs will provide maintenance departments with guidelines for servicing plant based on the specification on which it left the factory, what many operating com- panies do not consider is the effect that increasing the machine's capacity or duty cycle will have on reliability and the required maintenance . Often, machines will be upgraded to op- erate significantly above their original design loading. Such upgrades create specific is- sues that cannot necessarily be dealt with in the traditional way, i . e . when something breaks, you simply replace it, or when it cracks you weld it . This approach does not work when a machine has been pushed beyond the original design specifications as it leads to an unacceptable 'Mean Time Between Failures' (MTBF) . When increasing the load, it's important that the implications of this change are duly considered and thought is put into how you ensure original design reliability is maintained to avoid fur- ther issues in the future . Otherwise failure rates will increase and availability will begin to fall away . A smarter approach to mainte- nance is certainly needed . Advances in technology are noteworthy and have impacted the way in which main- tenance departments operate . The tools that are available for engineers are getting faster and more accurate . In the past if there was a structural failure, it may have taken two to three weeks before a decision could be made as to whether to shut down pro- duction to fix the problem or continue op- erating the machine but with today's struc- tural modelling and analysis tools such as ANSYS, Femap, IDEAS, LS-DYNA and Ab- aqus, these decisions can be determined more effectively and efficiently. Dragline innovations Draglines are large items typically used to remove overburden . BMT WBM has been involved with dragline maintenance issues and improvement strategies for over 40 Maintenance must also be optimised By Ryan Sharp and Arnold Williams of BMT WBM BMT WBM has been involved with dragline maintenance issues and improvement strategies for over 40 years .

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