Improving Mining & Minerals Plant Performance – Operations and Maintenance Working Together

Colette Munro,
Abstract Operations and Maintenance departments have long had an adversarial relationship. The widespread evolution and adoption of modern management techniques such as Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Lean Production however has driven interest in working co-operatively to optimize overall plant performance. Mining and minerals operations have long adopted RCM in maintenance, and are now adopting Lean throughout the organization. Modern management initiatives like these explicitly call for co-operation between the two disciplines of maintenance and production and many advances have been made in the realms of people and methodology. One area that has lagged behind in supporting these developments however is information systems. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems in maintenance and newer Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) in production have not been truly integrated in the way needed. Complicated plants, different software architectures, continually changing conditions and many variables have lead to systems problems which have contributed to the maintenance/operations divide. Master data synchronization (the “plant tree”) and integrated reporting of real-time data with transactional data are just two of the issues that are being solved by new approaches in information technology including web services and service orientated architectures. New technologies are coming on-stream to enable the final “bridging of the gap”.
Keywords: Production, Information technology, service orientated architecture, Optimization, Web services, MES, EAM, RCM, Maintenance, Lean
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