Keeping them rolling

A more structured approach to roller maintenance is paying big dividends in the crushing area at Nelson Point with a 70% reduction in roller failures saving millions in downtime.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore reports that a more structured approach to roller maintenance is paying big dividends in the crushing area at Nelson Point with a 70% reduction in roller failures saving millions in downtime.

Led by Scott Kinninment the new maintenance strategy is allowing the team to identify and capture maintenance opportunities on the rollers under the proven premise that prevention is better than cure.

“For each hour that a car dumper is down it costs the business around $200,000 in lost production” Scott said.

“That means that if a $200 roller fails and takes half an hour in downtime to replace, it can cost the business around $100,000.”

In a bid to limit this sort of impact the Crushing Superintendent Chris Fox and his team introduced the changes in September last year to consolidate the crushing roller maintenance into one area.

“We wanted to move more from an ad-hoc approach to maintenance to something more structured, and the results, through Scott and his team, have certainly showed the benefit in terms of reducing breakdowns,” Chris said.

According to Scott, by consolidating the roller maintenance and giving it a dedicated focus, the team has been able to structure and plan its preventative maintenance activities.

“We have been able to formalise the inspection process, establish a more structured approach to changing faulty rollers and are now capturing a large amount of opportune maintenance for roller replacements outside the planned five weekly consolidated shutdowns,” he said.

“We work closely with the two Schedulers, Len Wright and Frank Garcia to give us a better view of opportunities where we can conduct maintenance, and have introduced our own forward planning log to manage that.”

When it comes to the impact of the project — the numbers speak for themselves. Prior to implementation, roller failures were costing the crushing area about 1,000 minutes per month. Since the adoption of the new approach, this has been reduced by 70 per cent.

In dollar terms this has saved an estimated $27 million in downtime.

This sort of success has lead to an expansion of the project with Scott now implementing a similar approach to roller maintenance in the ship loading area, having also commenced work in West Yard.

This article was first published in Oresome (September 2007, Volume 017) – an internal company publication published by BHP Billiton Iron Ore.

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