Bluefield recently managed a 4100XPC AC shovel shutdown. This shovel was critical to the mine production and the shutdown duration needed to be minimised as well as keeping it within budget. We started on the shutdown during the late stages of the planning phase and there were several aspects of the detailed planning still to be completed.
A critical engineered design was part of the scope. Changes and alterations were being made only days out from when the machine was planned to walk onto the shutdown pad. This had to be finalised and reviewed for completeness.
Critical parts for the Shipper Shaft, Saddle Block and Hoist overhauls were ordered from the OEM less than 14 days prior to shutdown commencement, presenting a critical risk to the success of the planned work due to parts supply risk.
The spares for the shutdown needed to be visualised to confirm they were correct.
We also had to manage the risks and develop detailed contingency plans where required. This included work order quality checks, critical parts availability, offsite overhaul strategies, ancillary equipment requirements and site passouts, shutdown pad services, inductions / passouts / training, accommodation availability, wet weather contingencies and working in with the mine plan.
Due to the large numbers of site inductees needing urgent site authorisation, maintenance trainers were sent from site to the contractors location to expedite this process. This eliminated the need and associated costs of people coming to site for a few days to be inducted to site and passed out for working at heights, confined spaces, equipment operation etc. This eliminated a common source of delays and minimised the cost of doing so.
Although the machine had low operational hours, additional cracking on the track frames was foreseen as a possible outcome by the maintenance team, and contingency was included to protect the plan. This included additional boiler making resources scheduled to be available if required. As a result, all cracks found both in the track frames and handles were repaired during the available shutdown schedule.
Most of the problems encountered during the shutdown were managed with prior planning and preparation. The shutdown was delivered on schedule and slightly under budget which was a great outcome for our client.
Safety was well led, well communicated, shift starts were informative and had ownership through all levels of the org chart. Interactions were positive and hazards, when identified, were rectified quickly. The shutdown did not incur any recordable injuries throughout the duration and we are proud that our client was very happy with the outcomes and manner in which the shutdown was managed.
Our learning over the years is to keep things simple, plan the details, plan the details, plan the details and then...... protect the plan.