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Can You Afford to Avoid Maintenance?

Cutting corners with safety has many costs, including work-related injuries, illnesses, and even deaths. You may also incur penalty fees for violating health and safety standards, costs that are easily avoidable with the right attitude towards safety. Organizations such as Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in North America and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK include plant equipment as one of their inspection priorities.

OSHA penalties can be up to $70,000 depending upon how likely the violation is to harm to employees. Regardless of whether your maintenance regime is planned, risk based, reliability centered, condition based, or on breakdown, you can avoid penalty fees by ensuring that your equipment is maintained and meets the standard.

Industry Example: Mining

In today’s globally competitive mining environment, mining companies are continually faced with a variety of initiatives and challenges across all layers of the organization. These can include workplace safety, managing the complexities of environmental and regulatory requirements, and enhancing financial performance through improved processes and cost controls.

Cut the Costs

The operating and maintenance costs of mining equipment not only represent a large portion of a mine’s operational expenditures, but they also heavily impact a mine’s profitability. Current estimates show the operating costs of 360-ton haul trucks and 80-yard cable shovels to be upwards of $500 per hour. On average, a truck that is taken offline for a shift has a financial production impact of over $35,000, and for a shovel it can be many times that.

In addition, the ability to extend the operating life of a $5,000,000 haul truck or a $17,000,000 shovel is significant with respect to the long-term success of a mine. Profitability depends on having the means to accurately diagnose any performance issues before they lead to production downtime.

Equipment maintenance costs represent between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of direct mining expenditures. Most often, mining companies employ traditional preventative and reactive maintenance programs for critical equipment, which take up the majority of the maintenance technicians’ time. As a result, other assets are often maintained less frequently or are allowed to run to failure. Equipment monitoring systems provide a real-time bridge between OEM interfaces and maintenance staff. Equipment monitoring allows personnel to manage the health of critical assets and implement an effective condition-based maintenance program.

Shift to Condition Based Maintenance

A condition-based maintenance program means that maintenance is applied to an asset based on the current condition or health of the equipment and the impact of poor performance on business and operational goals. Under this model, maintenance is planned and delivered to those assets that are underperforming and have the most impact on the business. This ensures maintenance is applied where the greatest benefits will be received while avoiding maintenance where it is not required. In essence, equipment maintenance or an equipment intervention is performed based on the need to optimize performance of the unit.

Act in Real Time

Advances in equipment monitoring technology enable time-constrained technicians and engineers to remotely discover, diagnose, and act on a fault before it results in production downtime or serious damage to the equipment or operator. By remotely accessing onboard equipment data, personnel can immediately view and analyze equipment and operator performance through a variety of dashboards, user defined key performance indicators, and alarms to facilitate immediate action.

Remote condition monitoring, maintenance histories, and operational data are now integrated and provide personnel with sufficient information to make optimal operational and maintenance decisions.

Meet the Standard

Making the shift to condition-based maintenance enables maintenance only when it is truly needed. This means that operating and maintenance costs are reduced and equipment is well maintained — a simple way to avoid penalty fees and ensure plant equipment meets health and safety inspection standards.

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