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Minimize Equipment Wear and Tear in Mining

Wet processes in quarrying operations unavoidably expose process equipment to a great deal of wear and tear. For any aggregate extraction operation to be carried out effectively, it is critical that every stage in the process runs with maximum efficiency and reliability.

There have been rapid technological advances in areas such as materials science and mechanical and electrical design and engineering, and this has seen dramatic improvements in the efficiency and lifespan of process equipment, as well as in ease of access to key parts to allow quick and easy maintenance and repairs.

However, equipment design is only part of the story, and the highly demanding applications performed by quarrying equipment will mean that the system will always be subject to wear and tear – so it is equally important that the correct repair and maintenance strategies are in place.

Historically, the vast majority of process maintenance within quarries has been carried out on a purely reactive basis, but there are a number of disadvantages to this approach. First and foremost among these is that it effectively means accepting that failures in the system will inevitably happen during the lifespan of the project.

It is important not to underestimate the significant impact that the failure of even a simple piece of equipment can have on the bottom line. Many modern processes run end to end, with flow rates at every stage carefully calculated to ensure that material flows through the system without either excessive build-ups or the need to frequently stop and start equipment to control throughput.

In the most serious scenarios, failures can cause processes to be down for several days, with serious implications for the profitability of the operation. So what can be done to minimize the occurrence of these crises?

By far the best way to mitigate the impact of failures is to put a proactive maintenance program in place to minimize the chances of them occurring in the first place. By scheduling regular system checks the condition of critical parts can be tracked over time allowing replacements to be made before excessive wear leads to a failure.

Although checking the condition of internal parts, such as a pump’s impeller and lining, may mean taking the pump out of action for a brief period, well-managed scheduled procedures require much less downtime than an unexpected reactive repair.

How frequently these internal checks are carried out should be informed by a good knowledge of the average optimal lifespan of critical parts of hammer crusher under given conditions and levels of operation. This will ensure that checks are performed often enough to guard against unexpected failure, but infrequently enough to keep downtime to a minimum.

Naturally, the scale of the proactive maintenance program for Raymond mill that is needed will vary significantly between different types of application and different scales of operation. Establishing the right level of monitoring or frequency of scheduled checks for any given process is a key to striking the right balance between achieving peak reliability and over-spending on unnecessary maintenance. However, for many of the managers Weir Minerals work with, the biggest draw of a proactive approach is peace of mind that the process is in good shape and that an unexpected and expensive repair is not going to cause chaos on site.

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