A partnership forged over more than a decade has delivered a new way of maintaining and refurbishing crushing equipment at the Boggabri mine in New South Wales.
McLanahan and Boggabri Coal Operations have formed a long-standing partnership since 2006 that would be the envy of many in the Australian mining industry.
The relationship started when the Idemitsu Australia Resources subsidiary asked McLanahan to supply a feeder breaker for the Boggabri coal project in New South Wales.
It was a compact two-stage crushing solution for a 400-tonne-an-hour direct ship operation that used front-end loaders to feed the run-of-mine (ROM) coal crushing station.
Three years later, the machine was upgraded and had its capacity doubled to 800 tonnes an hour.
With its next project expansion, Boggabri Coal introduced a 1500-tonne-an-hour bypass ROM in 2014.
The partnership strengthened again, with McLanahan supplying a three-stage ROM crushing system that included a new feeder-breaker, secondary DDC-sizer and tertiary DDC-sizer.
McLanahan’s engineering department custom-designed the crushing system at its Newcastle workshop, approximately 300 kilometres away from the open cut operation.
It guarantees the performance of the equipment and offers service and support for the life of the equipment.
In late 2019, 13 years and more than 20 million tonnes later, the two companies re-converged on a project to refurbish the feeder-breaker.
The scope of works included the removal, replacement and later the refurbishment of the head, tail and shaft assemblies; chain and flight bars; chain hold-downs; floor and wall wear plates; and the gearbox on the drive assembly.
The machine had served its purpose during its life up until that point, thanks to the importance that the Boggabri maintenance team placed on regular maintenance and servicing.
“Much like the regular servicing completed on your car, the Boggabri maintenance team sat down and planned for regular machine audits and the corresponding service opportunities in conjunction with the McLanahan field service technicians,” McLanahan customer service account manager Daniel Keena tells Australian Mining.
“This level of planning and regular preventative maintenance allowed the machine to operate for an extended period of time before requiring a major service.”
An example where Boggabri delivered efficiency and reduced risk is when the maintenance planning team prioritised replacement assemblies.
The team decided to preorder a full breaker head assembly, full head shaft assemblies and tail shaft assemblies.
This removed people from inside the feeder-breaker, cutting off breaker blocks and replacing them, while other staff were working on the head shaft sprockets and wear liners.
The number of personnel working simultaneously in different areas, the actual replacement time and the total number of people required for the overall project were reduced.
Old worn components were taken back to the McLanahan workshop in Newcastle to be refurbished in a controlled environment, and later returned to site as strategic spares.
“The primary focus of Boggabri is safety and it is one of the values that we have in common,” Keena says.
“In co-ordinating site teams made up of around 600 staff and local service contractors, the Boggabri maintenance planning team conducted a number of risk assessment workshops working through each task in sequence. They looked at efficiency in terms of reducing the number of movements for people, cranes, lifts, vehicles, etc.”
McLanahan, too, instilled a safety focus in its maintenance-friendly machine design. Examples of this include the feeder-breaker head shaft being able to be removed horizontally from the front of the unit; the capacity to remove the entire drive assembly from the breaker shaft; and the breaker head being able to be removed vertically from the machine frame for efficient replacement.
“Also, having it designed and assembled in Australia enables us to provide a higher level of service and support to our customers,” Keena says.
“With key customers like Boggabri Coal, we have the opportunity to work side by side with experienced operators and maintenance teams, learning more about their operational needs.
“This gives us insight which we can take back to our local design team and in turn build new equipment or modify existing equipment to be more effective.”
Keena says McLanahan has worked side by side with Boggabri Coal to share its challenges and be part of its success and growth for more than a decade.
The operation has capacity to produce seven million tonnes a year of saleable coal with a mine life to 2033.
“Given the professionalism and efficiency of the team on this site, we believe we can only see continued growth for this customer,” Keena concludes.
This feature also appears in the September edition of Australian Mining.