No mining or construction operation can exist without maintenance, but it’s a tenuous balance to strike between keeping workers safe and machines in good shape, and getting the most out of every minute of uptime. For much of the industry, assessing the health of a machine still involves a technician inspecting it by hand for hours or days, taking notes by hand. Technology is providing companies innovative new avenues to optimize their operations, and how maintenance and service is performed is no exception to this trend.
Staying Both Safe and Productive
As markets grow more competitive and margins narrow, the pressure to squeeze every available working minute out of a piece of equipment can be intense. The costly and time consuming effort of manual equipment audits makes routine, preventative maintenance a difficult proposition. Companies can find themselves in the unenviable position of being pulled between risking a critical parts failure and missing critical productivity goals.
Epiroc’s RigScan service leverages technology both emerging and mature to make the equipment audit process faster, less intrusive, and more comprehensive. Thermal cameras can find early signs of wear or part stress invisible to the human eye, and unseen internal leaks. These high tech tools provide the technician with a much more detailed view of the machine’s health.
This new access to high fidelity data is managed digitally through a tablet which ensures that no parts are missed during the audit. The benefits of computerization continues once the audit is completed, as the results are processed and analyzed against manufacturer specifications to ensure that any issues, large or small, are brought to the owner’s attention within 72 hours. Special emphasis is placed on safety as well. Any issues that may lead to potential safety hazards are brought to the operator’s attention before the technician leaves the site.
Smarter Service Makes for Smarter Business
While RigScan is undoubtedly a step up from traditional audits as a one-off maintenance check, the benefits are only amplified by performing them on a regular basis. RigScans can be performed routinely with minimal impact on a machine’s uptime thanks to the quick turnaround time. Over time, this data will create a comprehensive picture of a machine’s health that can be used to optimize multiple aspects of the maintenance process.
First and foremost, costly unplanned repairs can be avoided, and well maintained equipment simply lasts longer. Regular audits provide useful insights on when, how, and why parts are wearing out, creating opportunities to find subtle inefficiencies that might otherwise go unnoticed. Having additional confidence in the health of equipment allows for more precise budgeting as well. Dollars that would have otherwise been set aside in anticipation of unforeseen maintenance costs can now be put to better use elsewhere.
Looking forward, the technology that supports the RigScan concept continues to evolve. As machines become more automated themselves, so too will their service protocols. Future equipment will be able to monitor and report issues on its own, letting owners know when a closer look is needed, and provide service technicians with an even greater breadth of data to use in planning maintenance.
If you would like to know more about how your equipment can maintain a higher standard of health, safety, and productivity:
RigScan is currently available for any Epiroc machine currently in production and can be ordered directly through Epiroc or through a certified dealer whose technicians have been trained on the tools and process. Contact your local Epiroc representative or dealer to learn more about Rigscan or schedule an audit.