Tag Archives: maintenance

Metso Outotec establishes new training program for field service technicians

Metso Outotec has started an integrated competence development platform, the Services Certification Program, looking to standardise the competency of the company’s service employees working on site.

The OEM has an extensive footprint of over 3,000 field services professionals and additional support resources close to customer operations. The certification training program has been designed to validate and develop their employees’ knowledge and skills at servicing their respective products and technologies, it said.

Markku Teräsvasara, President, Services business area, Metso Outotec, said: “Our customers are already expressing strong confidence towards our service experts’ knowledge and technology competences. With the development program, the expertise is officially validated and standardised across the world.

“We have a unique opportunity from being able to combine strong maintenance support with process knowledge. To achieve our ambition of being the preferred services provider in our industry requires us to strive for unified development of industry leading competences based on high performance and safety standards, and resulting in exceptional customer experience.”

The Services Certification Program consists of three distinct and progressive training levels that allow personnel to develop their skills and apply them in on-the-job situations as well as validating existing work experience. All service personnel must achieve a “License to Service” certificate before starting the certification program to ensure a shared understanding of what service means within Metso Outotec and to clarify the standards including safety all are expected to hold themselves to in their work.

The Services Certification Program is designed and managed by the Metso Outotec Training Academy organisation which manages all technical and product trainings globally in the company.

RCT introduces new ‘smart’ solution for fleet service monitoring

RCT has brought a new product to its Muirhead® range of protection solutions designed to protect both machines and operators in mining.

Easily installed, the Smart Service Monitor takes the traditionally basic device, which previously only gave an estimate on when a machine requires a service, and delivers an all-round information system for up to eight inputs, RCT says.

RCT’s Mining and Resources Product Manager, Mick Tanner, said: “This allows the monitoring of up to eight measurable components. Having the information allows for companies to schedule servicing of different components of a machine when it’s due.”

He added: “Information is power and having accurate information, delivered in an easy and concise manner allows management to ensure machines and their individual components are serviced correctly, therefore significantly increasing machine availability and extending the lifespan of equipment.”

The Smart Service Monitor was developed by RCT in response to industry demand, according to Tanner.

“Clients wanted more specific information about their machines and components in order to streamline efficiencies,” he said. “Having all the machines operating at optimal performance ensures this is achieved.

“This solution is all about minimising the costs associated with machine running costs and maximising the utilisation of machines.”

For example, it is possible for the monitor to intelligently log engine run hours; by monitoring the RPM, the device can monitor the time in idle and the time in a work state off the same input. The counter has been designed to count, up or down, depending on what is required.

By logging such an integral piece of information, it is possible to ensure machine servicing is carried out regularly when required to ensure optimal performance, according to RCT. This is not only a legal obligation to reduce any risks because of unexpected failures, but it also prevents machines running at a lower efficiency.

The Smart Service Monitor is designed to monitor the work hours of equipment to alert the user if the equipment requires or is overdue for a service. In addition, it is also capable of sending out both visual and audio alarms to alert the operators.

“The most impressive aspect is that the system can monitor up to 10 different things at once, which allows the end user to have a great overall picture of a machine’s health and be assured operations are running optimally,” Tanner said.

All that is required to monitor a machine component via the Smart Service Monitor is either a frequency input, PWM input or just a straight digital or analogue voltage.

In addition, the Smart Service Monitor is complementary to RCT’s automation solutions. The Smart Service Monitor can record the operating hours of these solutions to ensure servicing can be carried out at appropriate times to maintain optimal efficiency.

RCT’s Smart Service Monitor can be positioned on any machine, with the device configured through an in-built programming tool. All that is needed is a smart device, PC, laptop or phone connected to Wi-Fi. For security reasons, connection is password-protected to prevent people from making changes that the supervisor might not want including re-setting counters.

Tronox’s Cooljarloo mine feels the benefits of Weir Minerals Total Asset Management Plan

Weir Minerals says it has further strengthened its partnership with Tronox following the signing of an exclusive arrangement to take ownership of maintenance, asset management and optimisation of the mine’s key assets.

Weir Minerals’ Total Asset Management Plan is a “unique and innovative” service contract that is revolutionising mining operations, with improved performance and a reduction in unplanned maintenance time, the company says.

Such a plan was successfully implemented at the Tronox mine in Cooljarloo, Western Australia, with Weir Minerals managing 20 assets including slurry pumps on the plant, two floating dredges and a floating concentrator which processes over 3,000 t/h of heavy mineral concentrate.

Tronox produces more than 770,000 t/y of heavy mineral concentrate using a dredging operation and dry mining techniques at Cooljarloo, Tronox says. The dredging operation recovers heavy minerals from the sand and clay using a series of gravity spirals, with the dry mine using earthmoving equipment to extract ore located above the water table, feeding it to a land-based concentrator for separation using a hopper and conveyor system.

Daniel Fleckhammer, Weir Minerals Director, said: “The Weir Minerals team worked closely with Tronox to determine what their goals and vision for their mine were. The team then developed a tailored Total Asset Management Plan which aimed to look after the customer’s assets, improve their wear life and keep the mine running.”

Weir Minerals successfully helped Tronox reduce its maintenance costs by 10% and cut unplanned maintenance by 30%, according to the company. The miner is also now able to transition from a six-month shutdown cycle to an eight-month shutdown cycle, which will save the mine over A$1 million/y ($774,802/y) on maintenance costs. Weir estimates this increased reliability is potentially worth over A$1 million/y in additional productivity.

Dave Netherway, Tronox Maintenance Manager at Cooljarloo, said the Total Asset Management Plan the company has in place with Weir Minerals means it pays “on a cents per tonne” arrangement based on the throughput through the plant.

“Weir have skin in the game with the way we operate,” he said.

Being located on site, the Weir Minerals team is prepared for crucial maintenance and gains vital insights into the customer’s issues.

“By leveraging their worldwide expertise in pump technology, the team proactively evaluate each asset and provide outstanding service to Tronox,” the company says.

A clear set of key performance indicators developed in conjunction with Tronox enable Weir Minerals to increase savings and improve the reliability of assets, it says. Both companies work towards a common goal that is mutually beneficial to all.

Ian Rennie, Tronox Site Director at Cooljarloo, said: “If other companies around the world are looking at this type of agreement, I’d really encourage them to explore it. At Tronox, we’ve only been touching the surface for a year now and we really see some huge benefits already.”

RPMGlobal adds predictive element to mine maintenance solutions with IMAFS buy

RPMGlobal has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire Canada-headquartered, inventory optimisation management software company, IMAFS.

As a Software-as-a-Service and cloud-delivered provider of inventory optimisation software, IMAFS has more than 20 years experience developing and selling its flagship IMAFS product, RPMGlobal says.

The IMAFS solution is an inventory management and forecasting software solution that connects to an organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and uses proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to greatly improve inventory management, according to the company. The product has been designed and built for the sole purpose of optimising the inventory holdings of large asset-intensive companies.

RPM CEO and Managing Director, Richard Mathews (left, pictured with David Batkin, Executive General Manager – Technology Consulting), said: “We are very pleased to have concluded negotiations to acquire IMAFS and are really looking forward to welcoming the Quebec-based IMAFS team into the wider RPM family. The product is a great fit with the existing RPM product suite and further builds on our cloud and optimisation offerings.”

RPM explained: “In the mining industry, management and optimisation, specifically the maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) inventory is critical to ensuring operational continuity and attainment of production targets.

“The key to accurately forecasting any type of inventory is understanding future demand. Mining MRO inventory optimisation is often a unique challenge to solve due to low volume and/or erratic turnover with long lead times, high component costs and the complex logistics associated with operating in remote locations leading to companies over-stocking parts inventory and tying up capital unnecessarily.”

When it comes to mining, properly managing MRO inventory is vital, RPM says. If the plant, or key pieces of equipment (loaders, trucks, conveyors, etc) stop operating because spare parts are not available, a costly operational problem develops. A poor inventory optimisation process can result in a company ordering inventory urgently due to reactive inventory processes rather than predictive inventory processes.

IMAFS has developed a hosted subscription service that, RPM says, allows inventory data to be extracted from a company’s ERP product or Computer Maintenance Management system and analysed programmatically.

IMAFS’ proprietary and cutting-edge algorithms also include AI logic incorporating parameters such as transport mode, carrier, weather, customs, seasonality, holidays, availability, and many other data points. IMAFS will also identify excess or obsolete stock that can be returned or disposed of, according to RPM.

Mathews added: “Four years ago, we acquired iSolutions because we understood the importance of planning maintenance in parallel with production. AMT stands alone when it comes to forecasting the lifecycle cost of an asset using its dynamic lifecycle costing engine. This real-time engine accurately predicts when customers will require major parts and components.

“In other words, by going back to first principles (as AMT does), we can predict the future demand that can be factored into IMAFS’ advanced AI algorithms. That future demand is the critical piece of the puzzle so that IMAFS can optimise procurement and management of critical parts and components.”

Mathews says the AMT solution is used by the major OEM’s and their dealer network. These organisations can take forecasts from their customers into the IMAFS product, thereby assisting them in optimising their spare parts inventory.

“While we haven’t had a product to do this in the past, we have been involved in a number of discussions with dealers and miners to do exactly this,” he said.

Robert Lamarre, IMAFS Founder, said: “It is immensely pleasing to see the passion emanating from the team at RPM to championing inventory optimisation and cloud-driven enterprise integration. We are convinced that the IMAFS product suite will benefit from increased investment and the sales and marketing support that RPM can offer these products right around the world.”

Following completion, Lamarre will continue his involvement with promoting IMAFS through a third-party business partner authorised to market and distribute IMAFS products to customers in North America outside of mining and resources.

The acquisition is expected to close on November 25, 2020 subject to several conditions precedent and customary completion events.

Metso Outotec and Boliden renew service contract for Aitik copper mine

Metso Outotec and Boliden have signed an extension of their service contract for Boliden’s Aitik copper mine in Gällivare, northern Sweden.

The “3+2-year extension” of the Life-Cycle Services agreement covers the supply of mill lining, chute lining solutions, preventive maintenance of the grinding circuit and recycling of used wear parts, the mining OEM said. The first part of the contract has been booked in Metso Outotec’s orders received in the September quarter of 2020.

The contract is a performance-based cost-per-tonne agreement, in which Metso Outotec gets paid according to the output of the customer’s process. The goal is to ensure the availability of the grinding circuit and to maximise valuable production time, striving for a common goal that benefits both parties, the company said.

Metso Outotec and Boliden have cooperated since the 1960s. Throughout the decades, the collaboration has evolved to meet new emerging needs, while continuing to improve uptime and annual production, Metso Outotec said.

“Safety is Boliden’s top priority and enhancing it is also embedded in the scope of the new contract,” the OEM said. “Metso Outotec will provide solutions that simultaneously cut maintenance time and increase the wear life of parts even further.”

The new contract also focuses more on the management of worn wear parts, with Metso Outotec developing capabilities to recycle and dispose of them more sustainably. The AG mills in Aitik will continue to use Metso Outotec’s innovative Megaliner™ mill lining.

Megaliner helps to maximise the availability of large mills by using an innovative design that speeds up liner replacement. The larger-than-average liners mean fewer individual pieces are needed. Megaliner also has fewer attachment points compared with conventional liners, further improving installation and removal time, Metso Outotec says. It also improves worker safety during maintenance as the liners are bolted into position from outside the mill.

The pebble mills and two regrind mills at Aitik will be lined with rubber and Poly-Met mill linings, Metso Outotec said.

Aitik is one of the largest copper mines in Europe. In 2019, the mine produced close to 41,000 t of copper, employing nearly 800 people.

Cat looks for durable, sustainable dozing performance with new D9 GC dozer

Caterpillar has increased the durability and sustainability of its renowned D9 dozer, with its new Cat D9 GC Dozer.

Built for best-in-class owning and operating costs while delivering reliable performance and straightforward operation and maintenance, the D9 GC Dozer shares the same frame as the Cat D9 Dozer, also updated recently, and continues the series legacy with its superior durability, Cat says.

The frame, powertrain and major components are designed to be rebuilt to give the dozer a cost-effective second life with like-new performance, it added.

Application-specific configurations and multiple blade attachments deliver efficient dozing performance in a range of mining, construction and industrial applications such as production dozing, ripping overburden, site maintenance, fleet support, bulk materials handling and land reclamation, the company says. Special configurations are available for desert, arctic and steel mill applications.

The D9 GC replaces the D9R and continues to feature the Cat 3408C engine, producing 308 kW in the new dozer. The engine now offers longer fuel and air cleaner life, a single high-efficiency oil filter for lower maintenance costs and a new, robust self-tensioner. The D9 GC powertrain incorporates the Cat three-speed planetary powershift transmission and torque divider with free-wheel stator, which puts more power to the ground and saves fuel, Cat says.

Delivering more tractive effort to push through tough cuts, Caterpillar’s elevated sprocket and suspended undercarriage isolates the final drives, axles and steering components from harsh impacts to increase machine longevity. The suspended undercarriage reduces shock loads transferred to the undercarriage by up to 50%, resulting in a smoother, more comfortable ride for the operator, according to the company.

The D9 GC offers an isolation-mounted operator platform with ROPS and FOPS for operator safety and comfort, while the Cat Comfort Series seat is fully adjustable with thick seat and back cushions to improve operator comfort and support. Simple hand controls combine steering clutch disengagement and brake application for each track to deliver operation. A notched fuel tank and narrow ripper carriage deliver exceptional visibility of the front and rear work areas to enhance operating safety, Cat says.

“The new D9 GC has many of the same components, parts and systems of the D9R Dozer, offering a familiar design for service technicians,” the company says. “Both left and right equaliser bar pin bearings and pins are conveniently lubricated from a remote lubrication point that is easy to access. Daily powertrain oil check and sampling ports are conveniently accessed from the service platform for added safety.”

The new high-efficiency aluminum bar plate radiator for the engine features a large cover for quick access and improved cleaning efficiency. Sealed electrical connectors lock out dust and moisture to elevate electrical system reliability and servicing, while the bottom guard has a secondary retention system, which allows a service technician to free a stuck guard and safely lower it to the ground.

Cambrian college to offer battery-electric vehicle training course

Cambrian College, in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, is trying to equip miners with the relevant skills to facilitate the sector’s electrification transition by offering a new Corporate Training course focused on battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

The BEV training course is being delivered by Cambrian’s Corporate Training division in partnership with the College’s Centre for Smart Mining – part of Cambrian R&D, the college’s applied research division. The course is designed specifically for heavy-duty equipment technicians employed in the mining sector.

The use of industrial BEVs is increasing in modern mining and the industry needs skilled workers to implement and maintain this new technology, the college said.

“Cambrian’s latest Corporate Training course will ensure those employees already working in mining can obtain that expertise and qualifications in Greater Sudbury,” it said.

Stephen Gravel, Manager of Cambrian R&D’s Centre for Smart Mining, said: “An often overlooked, yet critical component in the adoption of new techniques and technologies in the mining sector is ensuring the workforce is adequately trained.

“A major barrier to getting new technologies like BEVs into mines is the lack of familiarity and comfort among heavy-duty equipment technicians in the field. The Centre for Smart Mining is looking to address this problem through targeted technology upskilling in a number of important high-tech areas; the first of which being BEVs.”

The course begins online shortly and will be led by a qualified instructor, Cambrian College said. On-campus in-person learning opportunities are expected to be available in the future as activities fully resume on the college’s campus. Those looking to upgrade their skillset will gain much needed industry knowledge, Cambrian College says, through four modules:

  • Fundamentals of Battery Electric Vehicle Safety;
  • Introduction to Battery Electric Mobile Equipment;
  • Introduction to Battery Electric Vehicle Communication and Troubleshooting; and
  • Practical Battery Electric Vehicle Training.

“At Cambrian, we’re committed to keeping up with the latest industry trends and making sure our courses are meeting demands in real time,” Cambrian College’s President, Bill Best, said. “The advancements in mining, especially with innovation and the shift to battery-electric vehicles, is just one area where we are the premier destination for those looking to upgrade their skills to be ready for the jobs that just didn’t exist a few short years ago.”

Metso wins plaudits in Chile with Phibrand supplier ranking

Metso Outotec has received recognition as the leading supplier in the Mining Suppliers’ Ranking conducted by Phibrand in Chile.

In the winning categories, Metso Outotec was nominated under the name Metso, as the survey was initiated in May 2020, prior to the merger of Metso Minerals and Outotec on July 1, 2020.

These categories include Crushers, Mills and Plant Maintenance as well as the highest recognition in the ranking, the Best Performing International Supplier.

Eduardo Nilo, President of Metso Outotec’s South America market area (pictured in the middle), said: “This recognition makes us happy and this is truly a moment of pride for us, as the winners are nominated by the customers themselves in a very competitive, high-end market.

“We want to continue improving and delivering the best service to our customers by knowing their needs and innovating solutions.”

He added: “We are experiencing a historic year for several reasons – we have taken a new step of growth by becoming Metso Outotec, and the pandemic has led us to develop new, safer ways to operate in factories and service centres as well as in the field. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their exceptional work.”

The Mining Suppliers’ Ranking is a globally unique survey in the mining industry, according to Metsou Outotec, providing an outlook on how suppliers are positioned in the Chile market.

Metso Outotec has a strong presence in the whole South America market with six service centres, four factories, four distribution centres, a foundry and a performance centre established in 2019 to focus on remote monitoring.

ABB ramps up remote services to counter COVID-19 crisis

ABB says it is accelerating the roll out of and access to remote service tools and digital solutions across critical industries as it looks to equip customers with the means to continue operating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is working with customers to ensure the access to field operators and service engineers who cannot be on-site at this time by delivering control room livestreams, operational insights, process data and plant key performance indicators to users at home.

To ensure continuous operations, customers can access ABB remote-enabled solutions, including remote condition monitoring of critical assets; augmented reality maintenance support; online tools for training and spare parts stocking; and self-diagnoses that mitigate risk to assets, processes and security.

Many of these services are delivered to customers through ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations, a suite of digitally enabled solutions and services, and its network of Collaborative Operations centres located around the globe. ABB has Collaborative Operations centres dedicated to the mining industry to connect mine and mill operators and engineers with ABB applications and experts in mining processes, automation and electrification.

“With 24/7 access, ABB domain experts and data scientists use digital technologies to help customers monitor assets, processes and risks; jointly derive insights from data; suggest mitigating actions; and provide critical remote assistance to help customers to keep production running,” it said.

Peter Terwiesch, President Industrial Automation, ABB, said the COVID-19 outbreak was leading to governments and companies having to make difficult choices, balancing people’s safety with economic livelihood.

“ABB is committed to supporting both: protect people, while helping businesses to stay operational during these challenging times,” he said. “Remote services and digital solutions can make a major contribution to keep people safe, production running, and critical supply chains and economic livelihood preserved.”

He continued: “We are committed to support our customers to run their operations safely, to keep the lights on, keep people connected, and help us all to weather this storm, together.”

Kwatani stresses importance of screen servicing

To ensure uptime on critical equipment, maintenance contracts are becoming an ever-more popular choice, according to vibrating equipment OEM, Kwatani.

The South Africa-based company should know, as it has customised contracts in place to service over 500 of its machines in the Northern Cape alone.

“Vibrating screens are critical to a mine’s material flow, which is its lifeblood,” Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin, says. “This requires OEMs to be experts, not just in design and manufacture, but in service support and maintenance.”

As a leading local OEM, Kwatani has seen mines gradually embrace the value of maintenance contracts to avoid costly downtime. One of its contracts covers about 400 screens on a single mining operation.

The range of its contracts extends to various commodities, from hard materials like iron ore and manganese to soft material such as coal. In one coal operation in Limpopo, Kwatani has contracted to service 160 of its machines.

Schoepflin highlights how regular, expert maintenance is vital for mines to achieve the lowest cost per tonne in their production process. However, she warns these contracts can only be conducted responsibly and effectively with the right level of knowledge and experience.

“With our depth of know-how gathered over more than 40 years, we understand exactly what inspections and critical replacement need to be done and when,” she says. “As importantly, we know how to conduct this work cost effectively.”

Accurate costing of maintenance contracts can only be based on a firm foundation of expertise, especially when contracts invoke penalties due to breakdowns. Kwatani’s experience in the field ensures the requirements of its maintenance contracts are met. This allows the company to offer a range of financial models to customers when they consider such contracts.

“We are so confident of the quality and reliability of our vibrating screens and feeders that some customers pay us a cost-per-tonne rate to maintain them,” she says. “We design, manufacture, install and commission according to their requirements, and then we take financial responsibility for keeping them fully operational.”

Long-term contracts often also include a commitment to improve and enhance the performance of the screens over time. To do this work professionally requires qualified service teams who are supported by solid engineering teams. Kwatani has developed these resources locally over more than four decades, and continuously develops skills in-house, alongside the various management systems to ensure such skills are available timeously to the customer.

“In addition to training and employing local people for a service role at our branches, we also collaborate with mining customers to empower their locally-based suppliers where this is feasible,” Schoepflin says.

She highlights Kwatani’s solution-orientated approach, combining the company’s expertise in its screening technology with the customer’s specific needs and resources.