Condition monitoring analyst Bob Cornejo of Minera Yanacocha suggesting changes to the condition-based maintenance process.
Maintenance can easily consume up to 50 per cent
of operational costs in mining. That money is usually
split almost 50/50 between labour and materials.
Proactive maintenance approaches to managing failures
can dramatically reduce these costs and savings of up
to 20 per cent (10 per cent of operational costs in total)
can be achieved. Such savings come with increased operational
availability, improved safety performance and
reduced environmental risk from spills and excessive emissions.
Combined, these benefits result in reduced business
risk and can portray operations in a much more favourable
light with money markets, lenders and insurers. Getting it
right in maintenance delivers on all these benefits like no
other aspect of your business can even hope to do.
Breakdowns in operating equipment can often be prevented
or predicted. How many problems are detected
early through condition monitoring programs and/or online
performance monitoring but go uncorrected because of
poor followup? How many are actually caught in time? For
example, safety policy requires the haul truck parking
brake be set every time the truck is stationary for loading,
dumping, etc. With online monitoring, real-time data
showed that one operator only set it twice — for washroom
breaks. His behaviour was addressed and potential safety
problems averted. How many problems are ignored
because the available data are limited?
In a Wyoming coal mine, a shovel experienced repeated
lubrication alarms. Operators, with access to limited data,
restarted after each fault and continued to do so until the
hoist gear box failed. The proper level of monitoring by the
right people could have averted $3.6 to $6 million per incident.1
These examples illustrate what can be achieved with
a well-designed program. And that program must be executed
well or it won’t deliver the results.
Pyramid of excellence
The book Uptime — Strategies for Excellence in
Maintenance Management,2 was originally created as an
overview framework for non-maintenance managers.
However, it quickly became very popular among maintenance
managers the world over. Uptime’s “pyramid of
excellence” framework depicts 10 elements required for
excellence in maintenance including: strategy, people,
materials management, performance management, basic
care, work management, management and support systems,
process, assets and teams.
That pyramid has been copied and re-cast as concentric
circles, ladders, ball bearings, other pyramid constructs
and building blocks. Regardless of how the 10
elements are depicted, what remains critical to their functioning
is that they are inter-dependent. They are not
mere “steps” in a single process; they work together. How
they work together is what varies from operation to operation.
Two of the 10 elements — work management and asset
reliability — deliver direct benefits. However, because they
do not work in isolation, they cannot be the sole focus of
an improvement program.
Asset reliability delivers most of the operational availability
benefit through improved reliability, and cannot be
achieved without a high level of compliance to a welldesigned
and constantly optimized failure management
(reliability) program. Such programs require less work (and
hence cost) to implement than traditional programs based
on following manufacturers’ recommendations and running
equipment hard and fast to failure. The reliability program
only works if it is executed through effective work management
practices and the exercise of basic care (like
operating equipment within
acceptable limits) by operators.
Asset reliability is all about
doing the right work (effectiveness)
while work management is
about doing it the right way (efficiency).
ensures that repairs and preventive
work are carried out at optimum
cost. It results in enhanced
operational availability through
reduced repair times. However,
work management cannot deliver,
especially in the repair scenario,
without effective materials management
and — this is the part
many maintenance managers
miss — vice versa.
Since work and materials are
often managed by separate functional
departments, there is a systemic,
built-in challenge to this
two-way management process.
The goals, specific objectives and
performance measures used in
these two departments are often poorly aligned.
Maintenance often focuses on availability while materials
look at costs. But you can’t improve in either area without
some up-front spending and sustained cooperation.