Tag Archives: mine maintenance

SPX FLOW’s MMR program helping with preventative approach to mixer maintenance

SPX FLOW says it is helping companies across six countries assess the health of mixers through its Mixer Modernization and Reliability (MMR) program.

To date, the process has assessed the health of more than 6,700 mixers.

The MMR provides a unique report on each mixer, allowing companies to take a proactive, preventative approach to mixer maintenance, the company says,

The report collects more than 30 data points on each mixer and is designed to identify at-risk equipment, obsolete equipment and installation issues, along with a review of the customer’s current inventory of spares. From there, the SPX FLOW team can work with the customer to build a modernisation plan for their mixers to help increase uptime, decrease unplanned downtime and increase the mean time between failures, it says.

An unplanned downtime event can be three to seven times more costly than planned downtime, according to SPX FLOW.

The MMR report allows the SPX FLOW team to proactively plan with the customer to increase the uptime of their mixing equipment by identifying problems before they happen.

The service team then creates a customer-centric report with plans to address current maintenance and reliability problems and a roadmap for modernisation for their information. This knowledge also allows companies to identify critical spare parts so they can be purchased before they are required, avoiding downtime and expedited delivery costs.

“In a world with so many unpredictable possibilities – from pandemics to emergencies – being able to plan whenever and wherever possible makes a difference,” SPX FLOW’s Vice President of Global Aftermarket for Mixing Solutions, Mark Cardano, said. “SPX FLOW prides itself on helping customers through the lifecycle of their equipment, and the MMR is one of the best ways to help in aftermarket support.

“The MMR program’s benefits are two-fold: providing companies a thorough and insightful check-up on mixers and access to our knowledgeable, experienced experts at the same time.”

Gold miner IMK feels the benefit of Volvo CE ActiveCare connection

Since implementing Volvo Construction Equipment’s ActiveCare, Indonesian gold miner Indo Muro Kencana (IMK) has experienced productivity improvements that could easily be replicated across the industry, according to Hendro Sugito, Aftermarket Director at Indotruck Utama, authorised dealer for Volvo Construction Equipment in Indonesia

Gold exploration and mining company IMK, based in Central Kalimantan, connected the country’s largest ever fleet of machines to ActiveCare, the remote monitoring and proactive maintenance service, in November 2021.

IMK’s 52 articulated haulers and seven crawler excavators are fitted with sensors that convey real-time information relating to their production, fuel consumption, health and even operator skill to a portal in the cloud.

Some data points, such as location, speed and load are also communicated from machine to machine to help the operators complete work safely and efficiently.

The dashboards and reports then enable the plant and site manager to identify areas for productivity and efficiency improvements, implement adjustments and set new targets for further progress, according to Volvo CE. This could involve tweaking the number and capacity of machines on site to reduce idling time, finding more direct driving routes, or introducing training for certain operators.

Nine months on, the data has helped IMK increase productivity across its three sites by approximately a third, while reducing fuel consumption for the benefit of the environment and the company’s bottom line, Volvo CE says.

Another major benefit of connecting the fleet has been the positive impact on the convenience, effectiveness and cost of managing machine servicing and repairs, according to the OEM.

With ActiveCare, an artificial intelligence tool monitors all error codes and alarms transmitted from the machines to the cloud. The algorithm sorts through the data, prioritising the alerts according to urgency and severity and attributing probable causes.

This saves a huge amount of time and effort for the plant manager and helps them to determine whether immediate intervention is required for an issue or if the service technicians can wait until the next scheduled downtime. The engineers can also remedy small issues before they have the chance to develop into more serious and expensive problems, and always be ready with the right tools and parts.

Overall, the system has given IMK unprecedented insight into equipment availability, Volvo CE says. This information is key to productivity and profitability in a mining environment where machines are expected to operate almost 24 h/d and any time lost is a loss in earning potential. With ActiveCare, IMK can now optimise its machine availability and ultimately boost overall profitability of its facility, the company concluded.

Metso Outotec adds mill lining recycling to latest Boliden Kevitsa service agreement

Metso Outotec says it has signed a Life Cycle Services (LCS) contract with Boliden for its Kevitsa mine in the Sodankylä region of Finland, which will see the OEM offer the mining company a novel Planet Positive mill lining recycling service for used liners.

The 3+2-year agreement covers the supply and optimisation services of the Megaliner™ liners for four mills with advanced discharge systems, supported by shutdown planning and execution services of the mill linings.

The contract is a performance-based cost-per-tonne agreement, with the common target to ensure the availability of the grinding circuit and to maximise valuable production time, striving for a common sustainability goal that benefits both parties, the company said.

The value of the order is about €35 million ($34 million) and the first part of the contract has been booked in Minerals’ September quarter orders received.

Anssi Poutanen, Senior Vice President, Mill Lining business line, Metso Outotec, said: “We are very excited to expand cooperation with Boliden in Finland. Metso Outotec is committed to supporting Boliden’s operative and sustainability targets and further increasing their liner wear life. When it is time to replace the worn liners, our innovative mill lining recycling service will dispose of the worn liners in a sustainable way.”

After over a decade of intensive development work and pilots for worn mill liner recycling, Metso Outotec says it is ready to introduce its latest circularity innovation, a unique separation line to process rubber, Poly-Met™ and Megaliner liners of all sizes. For customers, the new mill liner recycling service solves the problem of disposing of worn mill liners and offers a way to reduce CO2 emissions and improve environmental efficiency, as less material is being sent to landfills unprocessed, according to the company.

The first-of-its-kind service aims to recycle and create value from used mill liners on an industrial scale. It enables the separation of different liner components so that they can be either reused or recycled in the most optimal way.

Lars Furtenbach, RTD & Engineering Director, Mill lining business line at Metso Outotec, said the new separation line has already processed more than 200 liners.

“We are also exploring ways to increase the number of recycled materials in our liners to further close the circularity loop,” he added.

In the first phase, the recycling service using the new separation line is available for mill lining service contract customers in Europe. The recycling service will be expanded to new markets in 2023.

Platinum producer targets improved filter life with Metso Outotec preventative maintenance contract

Metso Outotec says it has signed a three-year Life Cycle Services (LCS) contract with one of the biggest platinum producers in the world, aiming to provide a preventative maintenance solution that will improve machine life.

With LCS, the customer’s critical assets will achieve enhanced availability and higher production, according to Metso Outotec, adding that the performance-based agreement provides, among all, a Reliability Centered Maintenance application that focuses on preventive maintenance.

The value of the order is approximately €16 million ($15.9 million) and it covers 12 filters across five customer sites.

Vivian Pillay, Director, Global Key Account Management in Metso Outotec, said: “We are very pleased to have been chosen as the key supplier of filter services for our customer’s sites. Our service approach will improve the safety, overall filter reliability and performance in line with customer’s throughput targets.”

Metso Outotec’s LCS offering covers the entire after-market portfolio, including process support and optimisation, sustainable wears, spares, and service solutions. Core service elements in the LCS packages for filters are spare parts, repairs, maintenance, reliability, connected equipment and process optimization.

The company says it has the most comprehensive filtration portfolio on the market with 15 different filter types available for hundreds of applications. It has performed over 14,000 filtration tests and has delivered over 5,000 filters around the world.

ScrapeTec to display latest conveyor belt alignment tool at Bauma 2022

ScrapeTec is preparing to present the E-PrimeTracker, a conveyor belt alignment tool that, the company says, can sustainably protect people, the environment and conveying technology, at the upcoming Bauma 2022 event in Munich, Germany.

Wilfried Dünnwald, owner and developer of ScrapeTec, plans to present the functionality first-hand at the trade fair.

The PrimeTracker offers a special roller that detects belt misalignment and automatically compensates for it. In contrast to other solutions, the solution is not conical but cylindrical, with the subtle difference ensuring fast and automatic correction if the belt does not run centrally.

The PrimeTracker’s mode of operation is mounted centrally on an axis and can therefore “swing” freely in any direction to react sensitively and directly to the slightest misalignment and, by correcting it, allow the conveyor belt to run optimally again, according to ScrapeTec. lf everything is in order and the belt is running straight, the PrimeTracker simply acts as an idler.

ScrapeTec is now offering a further development: the E-PrimeTracker 4.0. Its self-regulating function on conveyor belts corresponds 1:1 to that of the PrimeTracker, with the E standing for the “electronic added value of this device”, which ScrapeTec’s developers have integrated. This sees the roller additionally equipped with robust sensors that record all relevant characteristic values such as belt position, belt speed or the condition of the belt splice, making them available for monitoring.

If misalignment situations occur that could lead to a possible belt standstill, the operator is warned in time and can take precautionary action. And, even in the worst case scenario, such as a misalignment scenario with belt lesions and impending belt breakage, the operator is indicated in good time.

These warnings are observed via a colour display on the device, which shows the belt running situation from green to red. On the other band, the information from the sensors can also be transmitted wirelessly to a monitoring system in which the control data is displayed.

Bauma 2022 is due to run from October 24-30, in Munich, Germany.

AspenTech Mtell Agents getting ahead of the mine maintenance game

AspenTech is looking to turn condition monitoring procedures in the minerals processing plant on their head by providing prescriptive maintenance tools powered by machine learning that offer the earliest possible issue detection along with the required context to allow operators to act.

“After more than a decade of working on Mtell, we understand how to slot into an operation to make sure our data is clear, prescriptive and acted on,” Mike Brooks, Global Director of APM Solutions at AspenTech told IM recently.

Aspen Mtell® has been a gamechanger for industries such as metals and mining, according to the company, performing prescriptive maintenance by forecasting degradation and equipment failures, alerting staff in advance of when a failure could occur, identifying potential causes and the scope of any failure, and providing advice on the corrective action to avoid or mitigate the impending failure.

This is leading to increased operational efficiency, resulting in improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions, according to the company.

Unlike other mining-related predictive maintenance proponents, AspenTech and Aspen Mtell have been using machine learning for over a decade, using the benefits of this technology to improve on the condition monitoring and firefighting maintenance procedures in place at industrial sites.

“By obtaining sufficient domain knowledge and packaging it into a solution, we have created a product that is able to detect patterns in the data, track any anomalies and contextualise these anomalies on the basis of past performance and previous incidents,” Brooks explained.

This process involves detecting failures, “hidden failures” (spikes or changes in behaviour not associated with an event) and when an asset is offline from past operating data and contextualising this within what is considered ‘normal’ operating conditions. From this, data analysts create “Failure Agents” and “Anomaly Agents” to spot potential failures and watch for changes in normal operating behaviour.

Once these Agents have been trained from historical data, they are deployed to monitor live equipment feeds with all deviations labelled as anomalies and detected by the appropriate Agent.

If an anomaly does not match the signature of a deployed Failure Agent, the anomaly triggers an alert requesting an inspection to determine the cause. The results of the inspection will categorise the anomaly as either a new variation of “normal” or a new never-before-seen failure pattern.

If it is the former, the Anomaly Agent will be updated with this new information to make sure no future false alerts with the same signature occur. If categorised as a new failure, a new Failure Agent will be deployed to allow for earlier detection in the future.

The more operating data the Aspen Mtell platform ingests, the more accurate the alert system becomes and the more context the solution can provide operators. Brooks said around a year’s worth of data often proves enough to know what ‘normal’ looks like while ensuring false alerts are kept to a minimum.

In some instances, Aspen Mtell has managed to get ahead of a potential failure on certain components by 4-6 months, allowing maintenance personnel to strategically schedule maintenance procedures and reduce unplanned downtime, according to Brooks.

“Not only are we able to identify the root cause and failure mode with alerts, but we can also often provide details of exactly what is needed to fix it based on past experience,” he said. Such information is particularly useful in an industry like mining, which has an ageing employee demographic that will, in the future, need to be replaced with a new generation of personnel.

“This is all part of our vision of the ‘Self-Optimizing Plant’,” Brooks said.

The Self-Optimizing Plant, as AspenTech puts it, is a self-adapting, self-learning and self-sustaining set of software technologies that work together to anticipate future conditions and act accordingly, adjusting operations within the context of the enterprise. The plant does this through pervasive real-time access to data and information, combining engineering fundamentals and artificial intelligence, and capturing and using knowledge to optimise across multiple levels, provide recommendations and automate actions securely in a closed feedback loop.

While the mining industry is still some way off adopting such a vision, AspenTech is getting nearer to convincing the sector of its potential future worth.

Brooks provided an example from a mining company with a worldwide presence that was having difficulty with frequent production interruptions caused by unexpected equipment failures as a case in point.

This company decided to deploy Aspen Mtell across a whole site to improve the reliability and availability of equipment, boost production yields and reduce maintenance costs.

On the secondary cone crusher at the operation in question, the Aspen Mtell application gave an extreme early warning and exposed a multi-dimensional pattern showing fast incremental changes, according to AspenTech. This provided the technicians with the required insights to detect the degradation issue and take the appropriate action, avoiding operational complications that can result in production and maintenance costs in the order of $100,000-500,000 per incident.

Similarly, Aspen Mtell was able to deliver a very early lead time and warnings of a bearing issues on the cone crusher, well in advance of the vibration detection system, allowing early action to service a minor issue before a catastrophic failure. This resulted in savings of around $75,000, according to AspenTech.

Equally, monitoring and catching potential bearing problems on conveyors allowed early replacement without the extended shutdowns associated with unplanned maintenance. Such avoidance is generally worth around $1-$1.5 million in operational costs, AspenTech says.

“The net results were that the company was able to better plan and schedule service and repairs on the mobile heavy haul trucks and the static ore processing, improving operators’ safety, extending component lifetimes, and increasing equipment availability besides improving on spare part/resource planning,” it said.

“The positive results encouraged the company to expand the Aspen Mtell application to other mining sites.”

Brooks says this specific company is one of a handful of miners realising the benefits of Aspen Mtell, with the mining sector fast becoming one of AspenTech’s key growth markets behind oil & gas.

And, with AspenTech having just completed the acquisition of Emerson’s OSI Inc and Geological Simulation Software business, there could be many more mining-related opportunities on the horizon.

Sandvik highlights parts supply and management options as it continues predictive maintenance focus

Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions is offering various parts supply and management options to suit customers’ needs and help facilitate its own corporate focus on predictive maintenance through the flow of real-time data on its equipment.

Among the options, according to Amith Ganasram, Business Line Manager – Parts, Commercial, at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, is Vendor Managed Inventory.

“To streamline the availability of spare parts, our people can be on site with an inventory of stock that we manage,” Ganasram says. “The main advantage here is that this makes parts available to the customer at reduced lead times.”

He notes that his team works with the customer’s operational staff on site, as well as with the service teams from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions. This means that uptime can be optimised, as the right parts are readily available when they are required.

Alternatively, customers may prefer to opt for a stock model that is based on consignment. Under this arrangement, the customer manages a parts holding on their own site, but they only pay for what they consume.

“We can conduct a regular audit every couple of weeks, for example, to check that the stock level is well balanced with the parts that are actually used,”Ganasram says.

Every effort is made to allow customers to leverage the value of OEM components, as their inherent quality safeguards the lifecycle of machines, minimising any unplanned downtime which could lead to lost production and revenue.

“We make it easy for customers to standardise on OEM parts, by creating bundled offerings when they purchase equipment,” he says. “This allows the customer access to high quality parts at a discount, when they take advantage of a total offering with new equipment.”

Through its advances in fleet data monitoring solutions, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions offers customers digital tools to track the performance and condition of their equipment. This includes prediction of key indicators like Mean-Time-Between-Failure, so that servicing and parts supply can be better planned. All these factors contribute to safer and smoother operations, with the lowest total cost of ownership for operating equipment, it says.

Metso Outotec goes digital with field service platform

Metso Outotec has launched a new digital platform and a set of tools to, it says, support, streamline and develop its field services.

The global implementation of the new Field Service Management Solution (FSM) started in 2021, with approximately 1,000 field service professionals now using the system in their daily work. The platform is, Metso Outotec says, helping to deliver a consistent high-quality service to customers, while improving efficiency in their internal operations.

Martin Karlsson, Senior Vice President, Professional Services, Metso Outotec, said: “Our customers are already expressing strong confidence in our service experts’ knowledge and technology competences. When a customer has a request for field service support, they can trust they will get the best service solution executed on time, safely and with high quality. To achieve our ambition of being the preferred services provider in our industry, we are continuously developing our field service capabilities.

“The Field Service digital platform is already widely implemented, and we have received very positive feedback from our customers and technicians.”

Metso Outotec’s Field Service offering meets customers’ maintenance, repair and refurbishment needs and supports customers in maximising the performance of their equipment throughout its lifecycle, the company said. Metso Outotec has an extensive footprint of more than 3,000 field service professionals and 140 service locations close to customer operations.

The new platform unifies and simplifies the way field service operations are planned, dispatched and executed. Operating on one platform helps to deliver a consistent high-quality service to customers both onsite and online, while improving efficiency and transparency in internal operations, the company added.

“For customers, it offers a more uniform experience through the digital connection,” the company said. “Information about ongoing actions during a site visit is shared reliably and in real time. The customer can review and confirm the completed work order on their mobile device. The technician can create a preliminary site visit report for the customer immediately onsite and a full technical report later.”

In addition, the digital inspection application captures information electronically and supports service technicians in performing equipment inspections for fast onsite reporting of possible critical issues.

Furthermore, the platform allows remote connectivity between service technicians and customers. In addition to remote assistance and video, the use of advanced technologies, such as augmented reality, is now enabled. This supports Metso Outotec’s sustainability targets by reducing unnecessary travel and increases the company’s ability to solve problems from their first service intervention, it said.

Sandvik and Boliden partner on 3D parts manufacturing project

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has partnered with Boliden on a small-scale trial of 3D manufactured parts that, the companies say, will help both companies assess the potential of 3D printing.

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing as it is more commonly known – is maturing fast, and has progressed from printing plastic components to now being able to print ceramics and metals.

To discover the potential of the technology, Boliden has teamed up with Sandvik to run a trial that will see machine parts printed digitally and installed on underground drill rigs.

The trial with Sandvik involves a set of specially redesigned components printed digitally at a Sandvik-managed facility in Italy, with their performance being monitored on machines in Boliden’s underground mines – first in Sweden, then in Ireland.

In theory, the 3D metal parts could perform as well – or even better – than traditionally manufactured items, the OEM said, adding that the first components have been put into operation at the Garpenberg mine in Sweden, with performance still to be evaluated.

“Additive manufacturing shows a lot of potential, both in reducing carbon footprint within the supply chain, through reduced or eliminated need for transport and storage of parts and also shorter delivery times,” Ronne Hamerslag, Head of Supply Management at Boliden, said. “This trial will give us a deeper understanding on how we can move forward and develop our business in a competitive way.”

3D printing is an exciting prospect for OEMs too, as Sandvik’s Erik Lundén, President, Parts & Services at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, explains: “Mining equipment can last up to 25 years – and needs to be supported throughout that time – even in the most remote of locations. We have many different SKUs (stock keeping units) and, from an inventory point of view, we can’t tie up the capital that keeping all these parts in stock would entail. 3D printing of parts locally offers us the prospect of not only getting parts to the customer much faster, but doing so far more sustainably.”

Although in theory any part could in future be 3D printed, it is likely to be maintenance and repair operating items that are the first to get the additive manufacturing treatment, such as the bushes, brackets, drill parts, etc. that customers need to change every 3,000-4,000 hours.

But printing of the parts is only one part of the puzzle that the trial with Boliden is trying to solve.

Another is working out the future business model for 3D printed parts. Who does the printing – the OEM, the miner, or a third-party printing company? What will the costs be? What about intellectual property rights, warranties and liabilities? All these elements – and more – need to be resolved in the development of a 3D printed future.

Hamerslag concluded: “If you ask me, it’s the most exciting thing that’s happening in the supply chain. Its efficiency, speed and climate friendliness mean that we have to investigate additive manufacturing closely. We are only at the proof-of-concept stage with Sandvik right now, but it’s already clear that it could become a game-changer for the spare parts business in mining – for both miners and equipment manufacturers.”

RealWear assisted reality devices help IMDEX overcome travel restrictions

IMDEX personnel are using assisted reality devices from RealWear to, the company says, guide Australian and international clients isolated by COVID-19 as they install and use its latest products.

Using RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 devices delivered to its mining clients, IMDEX hardware and software engineers and product developers can assist on-site workers from thousands of kilometres away.

IMDEX turned to the solution to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions, which prevented support personnel being on site.

The RealWear technology is a rugged, head-mounted, voice-controlled, device that offers hands-free operation for frontline workers, according to IMDEX. The devices are equipped with a high-definition camera to take pictures and video from the wearer’s perspective, enabling IMDEX experts to guide the worker and provide advice.

Two-way audio with optional noise cancellation and a high-resolution micro-display that sits below line of sight, allowing for maximum peripheral vision, give workers and IMDEX experts the real-time data they need to operate, inspect and maintain equipment, according to the company.

Use of the assisted reality devices emerged after IMDEX grappled with how to support clients in South Africa when sending support teams was not possible because of border closures.

IMDEX Global Equipment Integration Engineer, Chris Havenga, said the hands-free aspect of the RealWear devices meant they had particular application for underground mining, where operators sometimes had to hold tools and tablets while working above eye level.

“COVID inspired innovation and change at IMDEX to ensure we continued to support our clients,” Havenga said. “There are endless possibilities with the RealWear device. It’s worth having a device supplied to clients along with our products and tools and, if there are any issues, operators can put it on and get the experts to assist for that particular site at the time they are having the problem.

“We can join them remotely while they are working, assess the issues and provide a solution.”

He said the devices could become a standard inclusion for IMDEX client support, along with manuals and tutorials. Offering the same functionality as a tablet, the devices enabled operators to consult manuals and other written material while dealing with on-site issues.

IMDEX is using the devices on sites in South Australia, New Zealand, the US and South America, it said.

Realwear Asia Pacific Vice President, John Higgs, said: “HMT-1 devices provide a reality-first, digital-second experience. Previously, industrial workers have not been able to use wearables, as they were overly immersive and not rugged enough.

“RealWear is unique in its ability to deliver hands-free connectivity without distracting the worker on a very rugged device capable of being deployed even in explosive environments.”