Over many years, Bluefield Asset Management Specialists (Bluefield), have reviewed the maintenance strategies and practices of many of the world’s mining and contract mining companies and found competing interests between having a great maintenance strategy and executing the maintenance well.
From our experience in the industry, over the past 10 years we have noticed an increased focus on maintenance strategies, sometimes at the expense of executing the maintenance work correctly.
During our site evaluations we have covered more than 1,100 large pieces of mining equipment including draglines, large shovels & diggers, haul trucks, and fixed plant. The companies ranged in size from small contract miners through to some of the world's largest mining operations.
The key driver to better maintenance outcomes
Bluefield found that the primary driver for improving the reliability of mining equipment and reducing the cost of maintenance is to execute the maintenance work completely and accurately. Bluefield found that while good maintenance strategies do assist and are important, they only deliver value if they are executed with ownership and the defects captured through PM inspections and condition monitoring are resolved adequately. It does not matter how good the strategy is, if it is not executed adequately it will not make any difference.
A Common Example: Great Strategy and Poor Execution
A mining operation had well-documented equipment maintenance strategies and condition monitoring programs. One of the condition monitoring reports illustrated that a component was defective (starting to reach clearly documented wear limits) and in need of replacement. No subsequent work order was created to replace the component and it subsequently caused additional damage, cost and increased downtime (Line boring and more component replacement).
Conclusion: Execute the maintenance well first
Unfortunately, Bluefield has found that the example above is far too common and in many cases has serious safety consequences as well. There are many maintenance reports that are not acted upon causing maintenance costs to multiply and reliability rates to fall. Additionally, this drives the reduction of defect reporting because the technicians realise that no action is being taken.
If mining operators and contract miners are looking for quick ways to reduce their maintenance costs and increase their reliability, Bluefield recommends that the companies ensure that their maintenance work is executed correctly before maintenance strategies are sought to be improved or at least do both concurrently.
About the “Bluefield Transformation Process”:
The process that we have developed for identifying these problems enables companies to transform and implement these basics is called our "Bluefield Transformation Process". The process starts with an evaluation and then the provision of support as required to ensure the necessary changes are implemented. We are happy to share this process with the maintenance community so please contact us if you want information on how it has been implemented. Some further insights are provided in this article here.