Where Does The Money Go? Maintaining Dozers, Excavators & Shovels In The Mining Industry

Over the past few years, countless Bluefield clients have told us the similar story: they need to reduce the operating costs of their mining equipment and although they focus on it, finding and implementing practical solutions which drive sustainable cost reductions is difficult.

Over the past 4 years, Bluefield has analysed more than 100 dozers, excavators & shovels for mining operations across Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe. We have found that operators of these machines often pay more, over the life of their machine, than their life cycle cost baselines.

So where does the money go?

The Undercarriage

The undercarriage of these machines often represents the greatest sustainable cost reduction opportunity. Our Bluefield life-cycle cost models have demonstrated that the undercarriage makes up more than 35% of all component costs of the machine.

While the undercarriage components wear rate is highly correlated to the material type, there are many operating and maintenance practices that can be implemented to extend the life of these components.

Changing major components too soon

Bluefield found that the timeframe (or 100% mark on the CTS reports) for replacing major components is rarely questioned by major mining operators. Bluefield also found that while some components should be changed at the suggested timeframe, a number of major components are consistently changed out well before their usable life and the opportunity to repair and re-use components is overlooked.

Lack of quality information

Bluefield found that due to lack of quality information about the state of components and lack of documented processes for extending life, operators commonly swap out components well before their useful life. A common cause of this is that the operators have not stretched that component to understand the full useful life within the working environment. Many operators err on the side of caution when they don’t have good information and this can significantly increase costs.

Cost reports don’t show the full story

Maintenance cost reports on these machines often show the cost of replacing major components or the age of the component but they are often silent on the difference between what the cost was and what it could be. Many cost reports do not include benchmarks which clearly illustrates the cost of replacing the component before it’s real useful life.

The opportunity

Bluefield’s work has demonstrated that implementing the correct management program can save up to 20% of the undercarriage cost for dozers, excavators & shovels over the life of the machine. Further reductions are also available by utilising proven aftermarket suppliers for key components.

Find out where your maintenance budget is going

Contact Gerard Wood to discuss your challenges and how you can start to reduce your operating cost and extending the life of your machines.

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