A no-hassle maintenance program to improve your mine

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Greg Peters
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No matter what you mine, you have to juggle a lot of priorities to make certain that your mine operates successfully. You need to maximize equipment availability, reduce fuel costs, find ways to reduce your cost per ton and more!

While you may use different tools to achieve these goals, success on all fronts demands a best-in-class maintenance strategy.

But, with so many different pieces of equipment – many of which are made by different manufacturers and have their own operating requirements – and with the increasing complexity of today’s integrated mines, a no-hassle maintenance program can be difficult to build.

Our mining experts here at Mobil have decades of experience helping companies address all types of maintenance challenges, and we are an integral part of our company’s own mine – the Kearl Oil Sands project in northern Canada. We know what it takes to keep a mine running.

To help address these commonly faced maintenance challenges, we’ve pulled together three best practices you should consider when building a best-in-class strategy.

  1. Maximize truck availability while preserving warranties

When every minute of uptime is critical, it can be difficult to justify taking machinery offline for scheduled service. At the same time, it can also be difficult to assess the optimal service interval – one that’s not too cautious nor too risky. Many mines, however, are overly cautious with their service intervals, and there is opportunity to extend them or reduce the time in shop to get more productivity from your equipment without sacrificing the reliability of them.

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You need to work with OEMs, your lube supplier, and other partners to design an optimal servicing schedule and program. These partners can help your staff test new approaches without violating your warranty – a critical safeguard. As a result, you’ll drive higher availability and lower your mine’s cost per ton.

In one instance, selecting the right lubricant for Kearl Oil Sands’ saved more than US $1.6 million by safely extending the oil drain intervals of its hydraulic equipment by six times the OEM-recommended limit.

  1. Ensure your team is working as efficiently as possible, regardless of experience level

Due to frequent personnel changeover associated with mining operations, the loss of information among personnel can often create a scarcity of knowledge among the new, young talent being brought in. Unfortunately, this means that maintenance teams are often re-learning how to properly maintain equipment.

As experts in mining equipment and maintenance, lubricant suppliers effectively help mines overcome this challenge by providing more advanced products that require less frequent maintenance. Furthermore, lubricant suppliers can help train staff in accomplishing everyday tasks, helping them better understand how an effective lubrication and maintenance program should look.

  1. Digitize your maintenance program

Mining personnel are no strangers to digitization, given that many sites have already integrated new digital technologies to monitor critical equipment performance and boost productivity. However, few technologies have focused on improving maintenance program efficiency – until now.

There is a rising crop of new digital platforms that can help you organize, automate, streamline, and consolidate all maintenance-related activities. You can schedule work orders, keep track of maintenance progress, incorporate inspection data and much, much more. To learn more, read about our first-of-its-kind Mobil Serv Lubrication Management (MSLM) platform, which is one recent example of these new digital opportunities.

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