Engineering & Mining Journal

MAY 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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MAINTENANCE 32 E&MJ • MAY 2019 www.e-mj.com Maintenance is a key element in achieving operational goals for almost every segment of mining activity. At the most fundamental stage of mine or plant operations, equip- ment performance and health have a direct role in assuring worker safety and produc- tivity. And, at the highest echelons of mine management, maintenance planning de- mands a level of attention commensurate for an activity that accounts, on average, for about thirty cents or more of every oper- ating-cost dollar. Too much or not enough "wrench time" — in other words, over- or under-maintenance — can sink carefully crafted production plans and punch holes in otherwise-solid operating budgets. It's also the mine function with the widest selection of tools and options for getting the job done and measuring the effectiveness of planning, scheduling, task performance and outcome. In the software and systems area, these can range from simple work-order generation and track- ing apps all the way up to enterprise asset management platforms that encompass ev- erything from maintenance-related human resource allocation to spare-parts inventory control. Here's a quick look at a selection of new-generation solutions designed to make maintenance more cost-effective and effi- cient, along with advice from maintenance experts on structuring critical maintenance processes and policies. What's Out There There are literally dozens of maintenance software products available from a variety of sources, including major fleet-manage- ment solution providers such as Modu- lar Mining, Hexagon, and Wenco, which offer maintenance programs as stand- alone applications or as modules in their comprehensive FMS suites. Others are geared more toward fixed-asset condition monitoring, such as ABB's Ability Asset Vista. The latest generation of mainte- nance programs take advantage of the data granularity, management capabil- ities and flexibility provided by the In- ternet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, mobile devices and artificial intelligence (AI), and in many cases are designed to fit comfortably within larger enterprise asset management platforms. Modular, for example, has offered its MineCare maintenance product since 2003. It is now in its third iteration, as MineCare 3 — a cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) program that functions as a separate application or as a module within Modular's Dispatch fleet management system. Ac- cording to the company, the program's SaaS subscription structure eliminates expen- sive IT infrastructure investments, improves data storage efficiency, and simplifies in- stallation, upgrades, and management. SaaS, said Modular, doesn't require capex investment and has modest network com- munication requirements. Its capability to scale according to user needs allows mines to monitor and manage a single machine, or thousands of units across an entire enter- prise, from one centralized location. Earlier this year, Hexagon's Mining di- vision released HxGN MineOperate Asset Health, described as "a platform of servers and data-loggers that will extend the life of mining equipment. Asset Health will help maintenance and operations staff to iden- tify machine health trends in real-time, empowering them to improve efficiencies and minimize equipment downtime." The company said integrating Asset Health with its fleet management system (FMS) on a common hardware platform that efficiently uses networking and server resources simplifies installation for exist- ing FMS customers. Asset Health can be used to connect OEM-agnostic platforms for onboard data logging, telemetry and messaging. Onboard alerts can be synchro- nized with the office, dispatch, reliability engineering and maintenance centers. According to Hexagon, future develop- ment will offer Asset Health maintenance analytics with machine learning models to improve predictive maintenance ca- pabilities, enabling maintenance depart- Maintaining the Pace Fleet and plant operators can pick from a wide range of maintenance software, systems and platforms, but without a solid asset management strategy in place, even the best choice probably won't provide optimal results By Russell A. Carter, Contributing Editor Not all types of mine equipment are created equal: some are more important to production than others, and not all require the same level or kind of maintenance. A mine-wide equipment strategy is needed to ensure that each item gets the maintenance attention it warrants. (Photo: Liebherr)

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