According to Stats NZ, the mining industry has contributed NZD 728 million to the country’s GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018, making it a relatively significant driver of economic growth. This number also shows how much mining work is being done in the country.
The process of mining different minerals and other products is a gruelling task, not only for the human workers but for the equipment used as well. The impact of traversing different types of terrain, performing repetitive tasks and tight production schedules exposes miners’ earth-moving machines to constant wear and tear.
When mining equipment breaks down, there is inevitably a downtime in production. If, for instance, your weigh feeders are not transporting large materials properly or your submersible slurry pump is corroded, there will be delays in production. In this industry, downtime is an extremely costly problem. What’s more, equipment malfunction can cause harm to the human operator. That is why it’s crucial to spot the following signs that your mining machines need maintenance:
Machines are running at a high temperature
The long hours of mining operations mean machines are in use for extended periods, too. While some machines naturally run hot, mining equipment that is running at temperatures higher than normal can indicate a problem.
Among the first signs that a machine is failing is an excessively high operating temperature. This means that it’s been in use for far too long and is in need of a break to cool down. Hot temperatures may also be a sign that the machine is experiencing unnecessary friction, is in need of new parts, or is poorly lubricated.
It’s perfectly normal to feel a steady hum with a slight vibration when operating an earth-moving machine. After all, the gears and motors functioning inside it are working to make the machine move. But, if the vibration becomes excessive, it may be a sign that the belts or gears aren’t properly aligned or are in need of maintenance.
Vibrations may also mean that there’s an unbalanced weight that rotates around the machine’s axis. This can be caused by machining errors, deformed dirty fan blades or missing balance weights. As you use the machine longer without addressing the issue, the negative effects of the imbalance become greater until your machine finally breaks down.
The machines used for mining bear the load as companies strive to increase productivity and efficiency at faster speeds. This results in greater risk and rate of damaged machines because of things like an increased shock on pieces of equipment.
When machines experience shock, their lifespan shortens and they become more prone to breakdown. Some equipment may even fracture. Sometimes, the effects of mechanical shock may not be clearly visible, but a piece of equipment will experience fatigue failure.
All mining equipment, from heavy machinery like earth movers and bulldozers to smaller ones like pumps, experience significant wear. As a result, they need constant maintenance to keep them functioning properly. Not only will doing this keep you from downtime, but maintenance also means significantly extending the life of your machinery.