In August 2017, the REMA TIP TOP analysis and innovation team recommended the introduction of polyurethane disc return rollers (PDRTs) at a coal handling preparation plant in New South Wales.
The recommendation was produced using the CARMA process, a philosophy built around an innovative approach towards asset maintenance that has continually demonstrated value despite the pressures mining operators have faced through aggressive supply chain practices following the industry’s downturn.
The CARMA process begins by setting strategic cost and performance goals for assets. Then using the latest technologies, on-site teams tactically collect performance data, which is used by business analysts, engineers, product and maintenance specialists to recommend solutions to optimise the performance of the asset.
It’s all about reducing costs and improving availability.
At the NSW coal handling plant, data reports showed the incumbent steel rollers at the plant were failing at higher rates than the industry benchmark, with PDRTs were chosen based on their performance in wet and dirty conditions.
The downtime data showed that prior to the change, there was an average of 4,431 tonnes of lost throughput per month but with the massive reduction in unscheduled downtime, lost throughput is now negligible; since the changeout there has been no unscheduled roller-related downtime reported, a complete turn-around from before, where an idler was being changed every two days on average. It is expected that these results will continue into the future.
Likewise, at another coal handling preparation plant in Queensland, the use of thermography inspections of idler rollers showed that bearing failures accounted for more than 76 per cent of all faults and failures. It also showed that one of the plant’s washeries was experiencing higher rates of roller failures than other systems on site.
Using thermography to develop preventative maintenance schedules helped drive down the number of roller failures by up to 78 per cent.
A further recommendation saw the introduction of nylon rollers in the washery from the standard steel version, which has accounted for the average life of these rollers to improve by 43 per cent.
CARMA has driven maintenance strategies and solutions that have shown time and time again its value in delivering long-term cost reductions and improved availability across the entire spectrum of the conveyor system.