Mine Maintenance Matters

October 18, 2017 Tara

With Australia a leader in the production of iron ore, coal, bauxite and copper, mining is certainly one of the backbones of the economy. Increasing competition and pressures to reduce costs and increase productivity has minds looking toward preventative maintenance as the highest priority. With the cost of capital equipment high, it’s vital that plant is properly maintained.

Research has revealed that a lack of equipment maintenance is a massive cost driver for operations. Although maintenance is expensive, failure to follow preventative programs can result in extraordinarily high penalties associated with lost productivity.

Big plant fleets of 30 or 40, 250 tonne dump trucks are not uncommon on the world’s biggest mine sites. That’s why programs to minimise downtime are essential.

“We know that spending money on preventative maintenance is far less expensive in the long run than rectification” said Aussie Pumps Operations Manager, Hamish Lorenz. “Our range of heavy duty diesel drive high pressure water blasters has been developed for and with the help of Australia’s mining industry,” said Lorenz.

High pressure blasters, available in hot or cold water configuration, play an essential role in production rates. Hastings Deering, the Caterpillar distributor in New Guinea, runs a 5,000 psi Aussie trailer mounted steam cleaner with its own on-board water supply for mobile plant cleaning.

“If necessary, operators can take that heavy duty trailer mounted machine into the pit to carry out cleaning or repairs” said Lorenz.

The big machine is powered by a Kubota water cooled diesel engine. The pressure ‘whack’ comes from a ‘Big Berty’ heavy duty industrial pump using 21 lpm flow at 5,000 psi.  Equipped with a stainless steel hose reel, the trailer system enables operators and technicians to move around big equipment.  Up to 50 metres of high pressure hose provides convenience, facilitates faster cleaning and improves safety.

The steam function allows operators to adjust temperatures from ambient all the way through to 130°C, ideal for blasting off grease and oil. Operating in cold water mode, Aussie’s Hydrotek unit uses the full 5,000 psi to blast caked on mud off tracks or undercarriage quickly.

Early identification of potential issues such as leaks in hydraulic systems or engines makes repair work easier for service technicians. It also minimises the likelihood of catastrophic breakdowns meaning huge cost savings for plant operators.

“As countries compete for supply of resources, mining companies will experience added pressure” said Lorenz. “Time is critical and efficiency the secret of being competitive in today’s mining environment” he said.

Aussie Pumps expects to see more importance placed on the routine cleaning of plant in the years to come. Modern miners who understand the principles of preventative maintenance will have a huge cost savings and increased production. A simple yet substantial advantage over older mines.

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