Preventative and Condition Based Maintenance
Real-time data with PI Systems Integration
The SymBot for Preventative Condition Based Maintenance
Mobile equipment live in harsh environments, they haul large loads across rough roads in often extreme weather, where grit, dust and water easily enter components, adding to the stress on a vehicles electrical and mechanical components severely affecting maintenance and life.
As the mining industry is cyclical and unpredictable A1 Company has realized a need to improve mine efficiency and reduce costs. Mobile equipment such as haul trucks and loaders are key to the mines production, also accounting for 35-65% of overall operating costs for a mine. The A1 mine utilizes over 60 production vehicles, maintaining these vehicles consume 46% of the mine operating budget. The unplanned maintenance of one of these trucks can have drastic effects on overall production for as long as the truck is down. Identifying a maintenance issue before a truck has to be towed in reduces truck downtime; increases production and can generate thousands of dollars of returns. An average of improvement of 10% utilization on one single $1 million production vehicle is equal to an estimated annual increase in production revenue of $980,000 and savings of $50,000 on maintenance costs. Real-time data collection, transmission and analytics will drive improved levels of asset utilization to levels in the mine.
The SymBot offers bi-directional, store-and-forward, data collection with remote configuration capabilities. Data collected is processed and analyzed on-board for real-time reporting and alerts. Data is delivered on-surface to the SymView data management system for centralized control and monitoring, added management reports, or integration into existing mine infrastructure.
Symboticware’s solution was selected by A1 for use in their underground operations. The company required the automated monitoring of their mobile fleet and chose Symboticware for its remote and rugged capabilities and real-time data transmission and integration. The SymBot was installed on over 30 pieces of mobile equipment, including; haul trucks, shovels and loaders. Data is wirelessly transmitted into the mines central maintenance and monitoring center (i.e. PI Systems or Maintenance Systems) in which integrated visualization and analysis tools are able to monitor and display historical and current equipment health in order to identify critical faults as they develop to support maintenance decisions and actions in real time.
Preventative and Condition Based Maintenance savings
During the first year of operations with the Symbot hardware and software system installed on their mobile fleet, the mine was able to save hundreds of thousands using preventative maintenance. The SymBot was able to detect an over-temperature condition in the engine and perform repairs before any serious damage occurred. This event alone was able to save the mine over $100,000.
Tire pressure should be kept at an optimal level to improve safety and tire longevity. When the temperature increases, the pressure can also increase. High temperatures reduces tire life and can contribute to blow-out and explosion, high temperatures can also be an indicator of mechanical problems of another components or overloading problems. A1 was able to maintain optimal tire pressure on their monitored fleet resulting in increased tire life and a higher number of re-threading. The mine was able to save just over $90,000 in tires over the previous year using the Symbot and integrated TPMS system.
In previous years the mine has had to replace transmissions and axles sooner than scheduled hours of operation, causing increased downtime and repair costs. The SymBot monitors a variety of factors including; transmission oil temperature and pressure, and was able to detect particles in the oil that relate to transmission component wear. After continued analysis of the data provided by the SymBots the mine was able to determine that operator over-speed/RPM caused additional wear on axles and raised safety concerns throughout the mine. By installing the SpeedGuard system the mine was able to reduce over speeding and RPM levels resulting in increased mine safety and minimized axle blowouts. Typically axle repairs occur once or twice a year valued at $60,000 for each repair. With 60 vehicles in production the mine spends over $3.6 million in axle repairs each year alone. The combination of the SymBot and Speed Guard technologies reduced the number of axle repairs in the mine by 52% saving the mine $1.872 million in the first year.
Automated monitoring of their mobile assets aided in reducing maintenance costs throughout the mine and aided in operations planning and reporting. Bucket counts and weight for materials movement was a manual process that required an operator to fill out paper slips to account for materials moved. Some operators would record “paper buckets” to account for material moved that was not actually moved. They would receive a bonus, but at the end of the week/month the data would not reconcile with what is reported at the mine. With the SymBots integrated dynamic load weighing proper load weighing is continuously reported saving valuable office hours generating accurate employee production reviews, enabling the mine to track utilization rates and production accurately. Monitoring of the mines mobile fleet increased vehicle utilization levels 40% to 80% as a result, one additional cycle per shift per 10 yard LHD was achieved translating to increased production of $840,000 per year.
A1 Company was able to recapture their initial investment in cost savings throughout the mine in the first year and plans on expanding the monitoring of their mobile and fixed equipment over the next 5 years.