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McLanahan helps customers improve maintenance programs with new condition monitoring package

McLanahan has developed a condition monitoring program to help customers keep an eye on the health of their machines.

McLanahan developed the condition monitoring package for three primary reasons: to allow customers to understand the health of their machine, to allow McLanahan technicians the ability to dial into the machine remotely and to pass any data back to the McLanahan engineering team to improve future machine designs.

“It allows us to better understand the condition of the machine out in the field so that we can better service our clients in terms of purchasing spare parts or scheduling maintenance on the machine,” Daniel Fairwebster, Electrical Design Manager, explained.

“Condition monitoring is typically a slow-moving animal, so we’re looking at trends over a long period of time to actually see how the machine is performing, but because it’s a real-time operating system, we do have the data immediately, so if there is something that happens unexpectedly, we do get that data and can generate a report as it happens.”

The condition monitoring program is a modular package that consists of sensors strategically placed around the machine. These sensors are connected to a remote data communication device that sends the data back to McLanahan. From there, McLanahan technicians interpret the data and share it with the customers to improve their maintenance programs.

“Customers can then take their maintenance strategy from planning just based on a calendar event to actually determining whether the machine does require some form of maintenance,” Fairwebster said. “They can potentially push out maintenance windows or they could bring them forward, depending on the condition of the machine. That can help reduce unplanned downtime and the like.”

The condition monitoring package can be added on any existing machine or installed as part of a new build, according to McLanahan. It can be tailored to fit any size operation and to monitor a variety of machine component conditions, including temperature, vibration, pressure and more.

“The McLanahan condition monitoring package can be installed on the full suite of McLanahan equipment, from the smallest machine to the largest machine,” Fairwebster said. “We can offer a machine with a basic level of package, which a basic level of instrumentation, and we can scale it up accordingly as required.”

He concluded: “The McLanahan condition monitoring is our commitment to our customers that we are supporting them to reliably operate our equipment, and we’re utilising that to improve our machines in the future.”

Leveraging condition monitoring for preventative maintenance strategies

As IM goes to press on its January 2021 issue, which includes its annual mine maintenance focus, McLanahan is stressing the importance of condition monitoring in the plant, which, it says, can lead to a well-oiled preventative maintenance plan that reduces equipment downtime.

Now more than ever, proactive maintenance and shutdown planning is crucial to maximising plant efficiency, McLanahan says. Maintaining uptime is paramount for achieving production outcomes and ensuring equipment will perform optimally.

At a bare minimum, equipment is now expected to integrate into the processing plant and, as such, must be able to interact both physically and digitally with up-stream and downstream nodes.

“The purpose of condition monitoring is to monitor equipment during operation to check its ‘health’,” McLanahan says. “Monitoring is scalable and customisable to each plant, process, and individual pieces of equipment, depending on the needs of the customer. Standard variables to monitor include vibration, temperature and power draw.”

Condition monitoring aims to reduce reactive maintenance and move towards preventative and predictive maintenance by setting base lines, identifying anomalies and producing performance trends. This process is faster, data driven and facilitates superior decision making, according to McLanahan.

Previously, equipment maintenance was designed around planned shutdown periods. Any data available was obtained and analysed manually. Alternatively, maintenance that fell outside of planned shutdowns was due to unexpected failures. As plants grow and the amount of equipment on site increases, it is very difficult to scale this manual process to meet the needs of today’s mining producers.

Packages that utilise off-the-shelf sensors and monitors help to set benchmarks for equipment monitoring standards. These devices deliver data to a local control box, which can forward the data to an often cloud-based database for viewing by the client and the equipment manufacturer.


The type of condition monitoring system chosen needs to be based upon identifying the needs of the plant or equipment, McLanahan says. By analysing the existing data available, goals can be developed to determine which variables should be measured.

Some of these operational goals include:

  • Decrease unplanned downtime;
  • Improve throughput;
  • Identify bottlenecks; and
  • Reduce maintenance costs.

The actual sensors are often quite basic and small. For example, the most popular vibration sensor type is an accelerometer, which, as the name implies, measure acceleration levels. Vibration sensors require mounting of the transducer to the vibrating item. This has the advantage of moving with the item, such as a bearing case, to measure absolute motion. With an accelerometer, how effectively it is mounted to the machine is critically important to ensure accurate measurement.

For wear measurement, the sensor could include a laser scan of the wear material surface from a fixed data point and compared with ‘as new’ baseline. Or, it could be a metal or optic fibre probe inserted into the wear liner that responds to an electronic pulse with the resistance value base on the probe length.

In either case, the signal can be captured for forwarding to a simple data logger through a fixed 24 V DC cable or a wireless signal. The complexity comes in using the correct software to ensure the raw data can be collected, correlated and presented in a format that is useful for the operator.


The goal of most producers is to increase production while lowering costs and avoiding downtime, McLanahan says. New technologies help producers meet these challenges by increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs, improving safety and extending the life of the asset.

As the system alerts operators to potential risks, equipment maintenance moves from a reactive to proactive strategy. When a plant experiences a breakdown, technical experts are required to solve the issue. “Manual intervention and prioritisation of this urgent job often results in a mismatch with the resources required, leading to cost and time issues,” the company says.

Predictive maintenance provides improved maintenance scheduling, with this maintenance able to be carried out at a convenient time so as not to interfere with production time. This allows for increased plant uptime and productivity.

Cost reductions surrounding maintenance, personnel and parts can also be achieved by using condition monitoring. When spare parts are ordered in advance, last minute increased freight charges are avoided, freight delays are reduced and the inventory management system is improved.

Improved operator safety is also a positive outcome for plants, not just for the safety of their site personnel but also through improvements to the equipment’s design. Site personnel can be removed from potentially hazardous areas of the plant, while engineers and service personnel can provide intelligent feedback on issues through having immediate access to equipment data. To decrease the amount of paperwork and manual data entry, these tasks can be integrated into the automatic data collection system to build tables, line charts and graphs of useable data.

Improved customer relations between the supplier and customer can also be achieved, as inconvenient breakdowns are avoided and communication improves between the two parties.


With the increasing number of equipment and process flows, the resulting amount of condition monitoring data will be enormous, yet this is also dependent on the frequency of data capture – capturing data every 10 seconds will produce more records than capturing data every 60 seconds.

When implementing a condition monitoring system, the downstream consequences need to be factored in. This includes the software, systems, processes and the people who analyse and interpret the data collected. There are always barriers to the adoption of new technology and, during the implementation process, the benefits of the system need to be highlighted, McLanahan says.

Sufficient training and an easy-to-use interface will help combat non-adopters and persuade a higher adoption rate of the new system, according to the company.

The data collected must also be distributed in a timely manner, with the analysis and learnings applied in a practical way. Plant operators must incorporate real-life maintenance scenarios with the automatic data collected to assist their operators to make safer, simpler and smarter cost-effective decisions. For example, analysing the thickness of wear liners will help to ensure the correct quantity are stored on site and how often they will need to be replaced.

Data security is also a consideration. As sites move from storing data on physical servers, often located away from the mine site, more of this is being stored on cloud-based systems. Data privacy and security are priorities for customers and must be considered in the implementation of any real-time data collection system.

Important factors to consider include:

  • Where will the data be stored – is it a local data centre, or is it a regional data centre in another time zone?
  • What is the backup/failover procedure?
  • What information is kept about my site and why?
  • How is the data transmitted?
  • Data transmitted is often unintelligible until the cloud dashboard software makes it so.

Preventative maintenance

Prevention is the best cure, and preventative maintenance is one of the main benefits of condition monitoring. The system serves as an early warning sign, which, if left unattended, can lead to a full-scale breakdown, resulting in a loss of production, unexpected costs and the replacement and removal of the offending equipment and parts.

Preventative maintenance strategies should also include an audit of assets to determine which spare parts (critical parts, wear parts or consumables) should be kept on site. By engaging with the OEM, further cost reductions can also be gained, McLanahan says. Used in conjunction with real-time machine health monitoring to determine preventive maintenance activities, high quality spare parts from the OEM give operators consistency and peace of mind.

McLanahan and Mincore collaborate on gold processing plant upgrade

McLanahan recently helped process consultancy firm, Mincore, come up with a solution for managing the gold leach tailings at one of Australia’s oldest gold operations near Bendigo, Victoria.

With the gold processing plant recently undergoing a series of process upgrades, several technology partners were engaged by Mincore. McLanahan was one, with its 10M Elevated Thickener coming into play.

Richard Williams, McLanahan Global Product Manager, said: “Mincore and McLanahan have worked on a number of project studies previously. Having local engineering capability and support on both sides made the engagement much more efficient in being able to review process data and confirm the specific thickener operation and construction requirements.”

Williams said a local manufacture and relatively low overall delivered cost solution would be the best fit for the client. “Modular design provides the flexibility to manufacture in more locations and provides more certainty around time-sensitive projects,” he explained.

Due to the nature of the processing plant, Mincore specified material and design aspects to account for the highly acidic and corrosive process streams, according to McLanahan. A specific sealant was procured for the thickener flanges to perform at the correct duty, as well as stringent paint quality assurance including DFT, WFT, pinhole and holiday testing specified by Mincore to confirm coating integrity.

The thickener was designed in-house at McLanahan’s New South Wales location and included several process instruments, including bed pressure, bed level, rake torque and overflow clarity. The tank, support structures and bridge were all manufactured locally for a faster delivery time, taking only 14 weeks for final delivery to the customer’s site, according to the company.

Mincore’s site team was able to support installation by using four experienced technicians and one small mobile crane to place the thickener onto a prepared concrete-bunded hardstand. The modular nature of the tank and bridge allowed for safe, fast and efficient site installation, McLanahan remarked.

Dry commissioning includes checking for correct tank assembly, along with the installation and application of protective treatments, the company said. “During this time, the drive and instrumentation are wired, and the mechanism is checked for correct alignment.”

Once successfully completed, a wet commissioning will be conducted, where the feed to the thickener is introduced and the process outcomes are evaluated for consistency. The process will ensure the instrumentation is operating correctly, and that the data received, and process outcomes, meet the design requirements and overall client specifications.

For this thickener, McLanahan’s customised approach included minimising the number of different fastener sizes and increasing assembly speed by minimising tooling and guesswork on site.
Additionally, McLanahan designed in the following aspects:

  • Integrated lifting attachment points preventing damage to paint and eliminating the need for the customer to source specialised lifting equipment;
  • A completely match-marked assembly system using large weld metal as marking to increase assembly speed;
  • Integrated electrical cable trays and conduits that reduce site work and damage to paint coating;
  • Local marshalling panel readout of all instruments complete with trending and status providing operator feedback in real time without needing to return to the control room;
  • Maximised space and clearance under the tank, facilitating pump and instrument access and maintenance; and
  • Integrated product sampling points at multiple locations around the tank to confirm process outcomes.

McLanahan readies second DDC-Sizer for Queensland coal mine

McLanahan says it has won a second DDC-Sizer order from a coal mine in Queensland, Australia, less than a year after commissioning the first.

With the duplication of the crushing circuit, the site now boasts three McLanahan Feeder-Breakers and four McLanahan DDC-Sizers, the company said.

The mine will be processing a maximum of 715 t/h of raw coal through the new McLanahan DDC-Sizers. The secondary sizer will receive minus 250 mm raw coal from the McLanahan run-of-mine (ROM) coal feeder-breaker, with the final washable product size from the tertiary sizer being a nominal 50 mm. This involves no screening between stages, the company said.

Brad Anstess, Coal Specialist for McLanahan, said: “Not only will the customer increase their production, but they will run the equipment in a parallel configuration; that is, having two three-stage crushing modules – ensuring consistency of supply and meeting annual production goals.”

The process will see ROM coal delivered into each ROM receival hopper. Below these receival hoppers, a McLanahan Feeder-Breaker is installed where it will receive a grizzly-controlled top size of approximately 600 mm x 600 mm x 1,000 mm. The feeder-breaker will metre the feed of these large lumps and break them to a nominal 220 mm x 220 mm x 300 mm size, the company said. These nominal 220 mm lumps of rock and coal from the feeder-breaker are then processed by the secondary sizer to a nominal 110 mm and then to a tertiary sizer for a nominal 50 mm product ready for washing in the coal handling preparation plant.

The sizer assemblies were finalised in April this year and each machine was then prepared for the customer who was invited to the McLanahan Workshop located in Cameron Park, New South Wales, the company said.

Each sizer underwent three-and-a-half hours of factory acceptance testing, with vibration and temperature monitored across a range of components including the bearings, motor couplings and gearboxes. “Both the secondary and tertiary sizers ran as expected by the customer, with some minor adjustments made upon test completion,” the company said.

McLanahan Project Manager and Mechanical Engineer, Chris Raines, monitored both sizers for the duration of the factory acceptance tests, and made relevant adjustments to optimise performance on each machine, the company said.

“The McLanahan workshop team took additional care to focus on ensuring roll centre adjustment was accurate as this was important to the client,” Raines said. “The customer is very happy with the finished product. Particularly with the design improvements we’ve made over previous machines.”

The sizers are awaiting shipment from the McLanahan workshop and are due to be commissioned before the June quarter of 2020.

McLanahan refurbs DDC-Sizer for New South Wales coal miner

McLanahan says it has completed its first refurbishment for 2019 with the shipment of a DDC-Sizer to a coal customer in New South Wales, Australia.

The DDC-Sizer has been an integral part of the customers’ site for over 14 years, and has been refurbished regular by McLanahan since its original manufacture in 2005, McLanahan said. The DDC-Sizer is currently one of two machines running parallel and receiving underground feed at 1,600 t/h through bifurcated chute work.

Minor refurbishments and upgrades typically occur every three or so years, according to McLanahan. These include a process of strip and assess by McLanahan Service, which allows McLanahan to provide a fixed-cost on scope of works to bring the machine back to its true OEM specification.

All spare parts required were available stock on hand from McLanahan’s 3,500m² workshop and fitted by McLanahan service technicians out of its Cameron Park facility. At any given time, McLanahan has stock for standard design items such as bearings and seals, it said.

“In order for McLanahan to complete the refurbishment, the client opted to select free issued McLanahan parts from their own stock holding to use in the restoration. These parts will be replenished at the end of the project, ready for the next rebuild,” the company said.

The DDC-Sizer was retrofitted with a wheel box and tow point upgrades. This customisation developed by the technical services team allows the machine to move with ease and efficiency when maintenance is required, according to the company.

Before the DDC-Sizer was shipped back to the customer, it underwent mandatory Factory Acceptance Testing on February 8, where the customer was invited to attend at the McLanahan workshop for the duration.

“The test went for a standard three-hour period, in which the bearings were assessed for their correct temperature specification. Upon completion, there were no anomalies recorded in the data and the DDC-Sizer was now able to be prepared for shipment,” McLanahan said.

The strategy of having a rotable replacement DDC-Sizer has proven to be a very efficient means of maintaining optimum production for this customer, McLanahan said. “They run both machines very hard and have increased the mean time between shuts. Having the ability to remove the machine from service and replace it with a refurbished spare allows the customer to maximise production whilst the existing machine is being maintained in the workshop rather than on site.”

Direct Drive Crushing Sizers, specifically McLanahan DDC-Sizers, provide primary, secondary and tertiary reduction of friable, low silica materials such as coal, salt, gypsum, phosphate, limestone, bauxite, petroleum coke, lignite, trona, carbon anodes, oil sands, clay, shale and more, the company said.

DDC-Sizers have a direct drive arrangement and low-profile design that allows wheel mounting for a movable configuration. The preferred method of installation is to mount the unit on rails with a non-rigid connection between the feed and discharge chutes. Since the drives are attached to the mainframe of the sizer, the entire unit can be rolled out from the feed stream to facilitate maintenance, McLanahan said.

McLanahan and Anaconda combine to widen processing equipment range

McLanahan Corp is expected to complete the acquisition of Anaconda Equipment of Northern Ireland in the next 30 to 60 days, as the processing-focused firm looks to build on a partnership that started in 2017.

For the past two-or-so years, Anaconda Equipment has distributed and sold McLanahan’s line of mobile track equipment.

Founded in 2008 by Alistair Forsyth (pictured, right) and Martin Quinn, Anaconda has spent the last decade developing its extensive range of mobile tracked equipment, according to McLanahan. The range includes scalping, screening, recycling and conveying equipment, which is sold through a global dealer network.

Ove this time, it has sold over 1,200 units into more than 50 countries across six continents. Anaconda has also expanded its operations to include a sales and distribution office in Massachusetts, in the northeastern part of the US.

McLanahan said: “Both companies pride themselves on the relationships they form with their dealers and customers, as well as the service and support they provide to the industry. Because of their alignment of core beliefs, creating a more official partnership was a clear step that would provide mutually beneficial opportunities to both companies.”

Sean McLanahan (pictured, left), CEO of McLanahan Corp, said the company had looked into growing its line of track equipment in several different ways prior to this announcement.

“When it came down to it, we saw in Anaconda a company that was well established, had great employees and dealers, and had many of the same values and business principles as we do. Adding them to our family of companies seemed like a clear fit,” he said.

While Anaconda is joining the McLanahan family of companies, it will continue to operate in the marketplace as an independent brand, according to McLanahan. Its dealer network will remain and continue to support Anaconda customers around the globe, while Forsyth will continue with the company as Group President and Managing Director.

Forsyth said the company had had a lot of offers over the years. “What I saw in McLanahan wasn’t a company that wanted to take us over, but a company that could and will help us grow. Anaconda will continue on as the brand we have always been, but we now have the backing of a company that has been in business for 184 years. They share our values and our loyalty to dealers and customers. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”

Both companies will see equipment line growth, McLanahan said, as Anaconda conveyors will be a key part of McLanahan’s new line of modular wash systems, and Anaconda will be adding larger size equipment, including track-mounted crushers.

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, McLanahan has provided solutions for a variety of processing applications since 1835. Today, the family of companies now includes McLanahan Corp, Eagle Iron Works and Anaconda Equipment.