Mining with Plant Wellness Way

Achieve world class reliability at your mine sites with the robust Plant Wellness Way methodology

Developed in Perth, Western Australia, the Plant Wellness Way has been strongly influenced by this industry in its design and can exceed the stringent standards of mine site operations. The nature of mine sites is such that when equipment failures occur, they can have catastrophic effects on the profitability of the operation, safety of employees, natural environment, and reputation of the company in question.

To support mine site operators and owners in avoiding business and operational risks, PWW uses a series of double-checks within the development process. The purpose of these is to ensure that any changes to be made will bring about the desired outcomes of effective risk management processes that are economically viable.

The real-life example below is a sample of just how PWW provides mine site operations with unrivalled advantages.

The example has been adapted from the latest edition of Industrial and Manufacturing Wellness with all identifying features of the company intentionally removed. All rights reserved by the publisher and original author.

Equipment Risk Reduction Strategy for a Pump-set Bearings

Centrifugal pump-sets are an asset that commonly breaks down. With multiple sources of risk, and high operating stresses, multiple maintenance issues can occur throughout their lifetime. In this circumstance, the centrifugal pump-set was required to have near-perfect operational uptime to keep the mine site viable.

After experiencing significant issues with a specific centrifugal pump-set this mining company decided to review their maintenance strategy, utilizing the PWW approach and IONICS process to do so. This example only contains part of the IONICS process that is relevant.

Identify Risks

A team of employees from all levels of the company was assembled. This group held a collective knowledge of how this component fit within the greater business and operational systems, and how it worked. They began by drawing a detailed process map for the equipment.

Order by Importance and Numerate Options

When satisfied with the detail shown, the team then conducted a full Physics of Failure Reliability Strategy Analysis for each assembly. During the analysis, the team identified risks and suitable controls to eliminate or severely restrict the opportunity for each risk to occur.

Introduce Solutions and Control Processes

From these controls they set about developing a new maintenance strategy that would deliver high reliability for all the pump’s components. 

Table 1 shows an example of this company’s final operational risk reduction strategy for the pump’s bearings. As a result of these operational and maintenance activities being completed properly, the pump’s bearings experience a long failure-free life, reducing the risk opportunity and severity of a bearing failure event.

Equip Tag No Current Failure Events Failure Events Frequency TDAF Cost of Failure Risk Reduction Activity Improvement Expected Freq of Activity Cost / Yr Failure Event Reduction
Pump 1 Bearings fail 2 years $35,000 Laser shaft alignment to precision practices every time the pump is installed A precision alignment is expected to deliver 5 years between bearing failures Every strip-down $200 Failure interval now likely to be greater than 5 years
        Oil and wear particle analysis every 1,000 hours of operation Oil and Wear Particle Analysis can indicate the start of failure several hundred hours prior the event 1,000 hrs or Six monthly $600 Failure will be prevented by a predictive planned condition monitoring task
        Visual inspection by the Operator each shift of the oil level in the sight glass Visual inspection of the oil level ensure the bearings are always lubricated Every Dayshift No cost Failure will be prevented by operator condition monitoring
        Operator physically touches pump bearing housing each week to feel for changed temperature and vibration Touching the bearing housing will identify impending problems before they cause failure Wednesday Dayshift No cost Failure will be prevented by operator condition monitoring
        Motor load monitoring using process control system to count overloads Monitoring the electrical load will identify how badly and how often the equipment is stressed by overload Continuous with monthly report to Ops Manager $100 Poor operating practices will be identified and personnel trained in correct methods
        Pump performance monitoring of discharge flow and pressure using process control system Monitoring the pump performance will indicate gradual changes of pump internal clearances affecting service duty Continuous with monthly report to Ops Manager $100 No direct impact on reducing risk of pump failure, but identifies performance drop and allows planned maintenance to rectify internal wear.
Table 1: Operational Risk Reduction Strategy for Pump Bearings Table

Many managers in mining companies are hesitant to redesign their operational and business processes. While understandable due to the potential negative impacts if done poorly, a massive opportunity cost is incurred. The fear of change means that operations are kept at a sub-par level, containing unnecessary and potentially highly costly risks. As shown Table 1, a single $35,000 risk can be mitigated through actions that cost only $1,000. 

With the Plant Wellness Way methodology, there is no need to restructure your entire company or maintenance department.

It is possible to select only high-risk assets and develop maintenance processes and strategies for them specifically.

Explore the Plant Wellness Way

Click on the links below to learn more about the Plant Wellness Way approach and how you can utilize it in your operations

Remove the risks and hazards your mine site operations today with PWW. Contact us directly to make your production performance achieve zero breakdowns.

We will be in contact with you within 3 business days. All sections with an asterixis (*) are required.

10 + 15 =