The modern mining industry operates under extremely diverse conditions – from high altitudes to tropical conditions – where reliability and innovation are a must. This diversity does not come without risk.
Whether operating underground or on the surface, multiple risks are present in mining – many with the power to cause significant loss of life, loss of equipment, loss of production and income, as well as severe environmental damage.
In this article we’ll look at the different aspects of machinery maintenance for mining, and what noise control solutions are available.
Carrying out maintenance on large, expensive mining machinery can be dangerous, no matter which maintenance option is chosen. Therefore, it is essential to have custom-made solutions to protect workers while they operate and maintain mining machinery.
Correctly establishing a working environment ensures the health, safety and productivity of mineworkers, while also reducing downtime for vital machinery.
The mining industry uses large, expensive machinery, including:
Many mines’ maintenance budgets have been slashed, yet there is still an expectation to maintain productivity. Flexshield excels in helping the mining industry keep moving and minimise downtime.
Regular maintenance extends the life of mining machinery. For example, Cowal Gold Operation commissioned a Liebherr R994B back in 2005 – and thanks to regular maintenance and upgrades, the machine is now one of the oldest still in operation.
The mining industry uses a variety of methods to identify when maintenance is due for machinery, each with its own pros and cons.
Breakdown or run to failure – i.e. fix things when they break. The downside to this method is that maintenance can be costly as it cannot be planned for.
Periodically taking assets offline and inspecting or repairing them at predetermined intervals. The scheduled maintenance method extends the life of the machine and prevents downtime.
Aims to predict failures before they happen, so that maintenance can occur at the right time. PdM uses data from the machine’s sensors and smart technology to alert the maintenance team that a machine has a risk of failing.
Since failure is not always linear, this method investigates failure modes of each piece of equipment to develop and customise a plan.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to machinery maintenance in mining. Working with a company like Flexshield will deliver the best option for your mine site.
Cost to Implement
|Reactive||Fix it when it breaks||Low||Ideal for low-priority equipment||Can lead to runaway repair costs|
|Preventive||Maintenance on a predetermined schedule||Average||The best strategy to implement without expertise||Without optimisation “PM creep” can occur|
|Predictive||Condition-based monitoring triggering work orders||High||Timely and informed monitoring. More insight into the causes of breakdowns||Can be expensive to set up|
|RCM||Investigation of failure mode to determine the best maintenance strategy||Highest||If executed properly, provides the most efficient maintenance schedule||Requires time, skill and financial resources to be effective|
Flexshield has developed solutions for machinery maintenance. Learn more about our solutions in our case studies, such as Mining equipment silenced with sonic curtains
Working in the mining industry comes with high risks – not just for machinery but also for miners. Collaborating with a company such as Flexshield can assist in mitigating these risks, both for your machinery and your employees.
Ingress of groundwater or uncontrolled surface run-off (such as from flash flooding) can present a flood risk to both underground and above-ground mining operations. Historical loss of mining revenue from floods has been estimated at $2.3 – $3.5 billion.
The installation of boreholes and pump stations helps prevent water from entering mines. These systems are critical for the continuous dewatering of mining operations.
Large magnitude mining-induced seismic events (such as earthquakes and rock bursts) can cause severe damage to mining excavations and support widespread simultaneous rock falls. This seismic activity is dangerous for mine workers and machinery.
Ore is brought to processing facilities using conveyors, which can be tens of kilometres in length. For both underground and surface mines, these conveyors are of various capacities and speed and use conventional conveyor technology. They are generally covered along their length by sheeting.
The risk of underground conveyor belt fire can be increased depending on the ore being conveyed, e.g. highly flammable coal dust.
Tailings (refuse material after the collection of extracted minerals) are deposited into storage ‘paddocks’ using a conventional day wall arrangement. Overland pipelines are used to transport the tailings.
The mining industry uses large, expensive machinery; and if there is a breakdown, it can cause bottlenecks and loss of production.
Underground coal mines are most at risk from fire or explosion as dust can easily ignite. The best way to control fire is to flood the mine, which increases equipment damage rates.
When searching for solutions for your mine site, it makes sense to work with a company like Flexshield. Our expert team understand mining operations and the need to focus on quietening and maintaining equipment. For further information on mining solutions, contact Flexshield on 1300 799 969.