Tag Archives: mining fuels

Optimising mining operations with used oil analysis

To gain a competitive advantage, it is imperative to get the most out of your hydraulic fluid, Petro-Canada Lubricants’ Neil Buchanan* says.

It starts by selecting the right oil. This means not only using a high-performance hydraulic fluid, but choosing the correct viscosity for each pump and motor, as well as considering the temperature range the fluid must operate in.

For a mining operation, with the sheer range of equipment used – from 260 t haul trucks, to hydraulic shovels, front end loaders, right through to drills, bulldozers and cranes – and the tough conditions it is exposed to, there are a lot of individual components to consider and decisions to make; all the more reason to maximise the use of your fluid.

But it is not just about oil selection: what you do with the oil when the system is running can be equally important.

Running regular used oil analysis as part of a maintenance program can provide operators the opportunity to catch an impending failure before it becomes catastrophic. Unplanned downtime costs time and money; used oil analysis can help avoid it.

The basic principles

Used oil analysis enables operators to monitor and optimise the life of a system and its hydraulic fluid. Typically carried out in a simple three-stage process, used oil analysis involves taking a representative sample of the fluid, sending it to a qualified used oil analysis laboratory and then interpreting and acting on the recommendations of the results.

Most mines undertake used oil analysis, but, when incorporated into a reliability centred maintenance program, the process can enable lubricant technical service advisors and mine personnel to evaluate trends over time, which not only helps to get ahead of system failure but provides a basis for better informed maintenance decisions.

Monitoring key properties

Regularly monitoring the key properties within the hydraulic fluid can give an insight into hidden and potentially harmful contamination, invisible to the naked eye.

Viscosity, the fluid’s resistance to flow, is one basic property measured in used oil analysis. However, viscosity is a lagging indicator, proceeded by additive depletion and oxidation which increases the fluids acid number (AN). Acid number was previously referred to as total acid number (TAN).

Another property that should be regularly monitored is oxidation, which occurs when the fluid is exposed to high temperatures and air (oxygen) and is common in hydraulic systems. The rate of oxidation doubles for every 18°F increase from 150°F, which highlights the importance of hydraulic oil temperature to its life. The impact of oxidation is a darkening of the oil, an increase in viscosity and potential sludge, varnish and deposit formation.

Using the data

Perhaps the most important step – and the one that will give operators the greatest advantage – is to effectively manage and interpret the fluid data accrued from the analysis quickly to enable effective decision making. Digital diagnostics and customised asset management reporting are two of the tools used to secure rapid sample results. Utilising oil diagnostics keeps an operation one step ahead by using the latest technology to proactively track where maintenance is needed and predict where it will be needed in the future.

While used oil analysis is widespread among the mining industry, not every mine is using it to the full extent they could. Using oil analysis as a predictive tool can help operators ensure they get the maximum life possible from their hydraulic fluid and move away from time consuming, reactive maintenance.

*Neil Buchanan is Senior Technical Services Advisor for Petro-Canada Lubricants, a HollyFrontier business

FuelActive ready to clean up diesel engine sector

FuelActive has announced new investment, grant funding, and leadership changes as it drives the global expansion of its innovative technology solutions for diesel engines.

FuelActive’s technology ensures the cleanest fuel available is supplied to the fuel lines of diesel engines and is the first line of protection against contaminated diesel in many industries including mining, it says.

The patented FuelActive® unit replaces the standard pick-up pipe and only picks up the cleanest fuel in the tank, according to the company. This is achieved by using a floating pick-up pipe to draw fuel from the upper level; leaving water and sediment behind at the bottom of the tank.

Such technology has previously been used successfully on a Komatsu 930E haul truck equipped with a Cummins QSK60 engine at the Los Pelambres mine, in Chile.

Benefits to operators include the elimination of fuel-related breakdowns, reduction in accelerated maintenance costs and extended injector life, the company says.

“When fitted from new, an engine stays closer to its specified performance for longer and is more reliable,” FuelActive says. “Burning cleaner diesel reduces toxic engine emissions, supporting compliance with clean air regulations.”

In terms of equity investment, £500,000 ($635,384) has come from new institutional investor, the Development Bank of Wales.

Richard Thompson and Andrew Critchley, from the bank’s specialist tech ventures team, said: “FuelActive has the potential of creating a global cleantech success story. Its ability to positively influence the performance of diesel engines, which will be in use for the next 30 years, could have a real impact on the environment.

“This is our first co-investment with the Adjuvo network, who enhance FuelActive’s position. We look forward to working with Nick Massey and the FuelActive team, and to further co-investments with Adjuvo.”

Private equity investment syndicate Adjuvo, which initially invested in FuelActive during 2016, has contributed a further investment of £750,000.

“Adjuvo identifies high growth opportunities that benefit from a network of experienced investors who provide advice and commercial introductions within their wide networks,” FuelActive said.

FuelActive has also recently been successful in its bid to win an Innovate UK Smart Grant for a project value of £500,000. The grant award will evolve the current technology to add digital capability, the company said.

“Smart Grants are awarded to businesses which deliver ambitious or disruptive innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy and beyond,” it explained.

Along with these financial announcements, the company confirmed that Nick Massey had become CEO of the company, with Martin Leahy taking on the new role of Vice Chairman.

Massey has a track record of delivering growth within private equity and publicly traded environments, according to the company. His background includes private equity stints for Goldman Sachs, with Coca-Cola and PA Consulting Group.

He said: “I’m honoured to be joining FuelActive with the backing of the Development Bank of Wales and Adjuvo investors. The problems of fuel contamination are universal and FuelActive’s technology can help operators mitigate the costs, capture upside in capital efficiency and contribute to our right to clean air.”

FuelActive emerged in 1998 through the vision of Founder Mike James, an engineer for over 40 years. After designing a proven solution to fuel contamination, an extensive period of R&D followed in conjunction with universities, government funding and investment from Adjuvo.

Purify Fuel and Solvay launch new additive blend for diesel-powered engines

Purify Fuel and Solvay say they have developed a nanotechnology-based fuel additive blend designed to improve fuel efficiency, increase power and reduce harmful emissions in existing diesel-powered engines.

First marketed 18 years ago, Solvay EOLYS Fuel Additives, an essential element in Purify Fuel’s fuel additive formulations (nanO2®), have been used in more than 16 million new engines with similar nanotech combustion catalysts. They are designed to reduce greenhouse gases and regulate emissions while improving fuel efficiency.

Through this effort, Purify Fuel’s nanO2 Fuel Additive Blends leverage Solvay’s nanotechnology expertise to create diesel fuel additive blends that reduce harmful emissions while improving fuel efficiency, Purify Fuel said. “The nanO2 Fuel Additive Blends can be introduced without any upfront costs to the 400 million diesel engines not already equipped with pollution control devices,” the company said.

John Carroll, CEO of Purify Fuel, said: “It is exciting to be part of this partnership, and to be working on a technology that will make meaningful impacts to transform the rail, marine, fracking, mining and power generation industries, leading to a significant reduction in harmful emissions on a global scale.

“While we all know the world needs faster conversion to renewable sources, there is still a great deal of infrastructure that is operating on diesel that will take years to convert. We have a proven solution that is available now, that reduces costs, and improves air quality.”

Sebastien Meric, Executive Vice President of Solvay Special Chem, added: “We are pleased to combine our 30 years of expertise in technologies for exhaust emission control & fuel efficiency with Purify Fuel to tackle both increasing emission and fuel consumption challenges.”

This global technology, which will be available in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, provides advantages, according to the company, such as:

  • Reducing harmful emissions by up to 35-55%;
  • Improved fuel efficiency offsets the cost of the emissions-reducing fuel additive, and;
  • Operator savings of 6-12% on net fuel costs.

Carroll added: “If operators of existing engines implemented nanO2 to reduce emissions by 30%, it would have the equivalent effect of removing 100 million diesel trucks off our roads – buying the world more time to implement smart pollution control technologies.”