A key contributor to a mine’s productivity is its heavy mining equipment. To keep all components of mining machinery running optimally throughout their complete lifetime, automatic lubrication is essential. It cuts the cost of maintenance, repair, supplies and downtime and increases equipment reliability and availability.
Fluctuating commodity prices, reduced profit margins, increasing expectations from shareholders, tighter governmental environmental regulations – it’s not easy for the heavy mining industry. No wonder mining company executives are continually striving for ways to increase their company’s productivity levels.
A key contributor to a mine’s productivity is its heavy mining equipment. Keep it running efficiently and you’re heading in the right direction, productivity-wise. Let it become sidelined and inactive due to a maintenance or repair issue, and your productivity could swiftly decline.
THE LUBRICATION CHALLENGES OF
To keep all components of heavy mining machinery running optimally throughout their complete lifetime, optimal lubrication is essential. Under- or over-lubrication can lead to machines breaking down, resulting in expensive production losses. And as many mines are in remote locations, getting a maintenance engineer or a spare part within hours can be difficult.
The conventional solution is frequent manual lubrication. However, in the tough environmental conditions in which heavy mining machinery frequently operates, manual lubrication is not easy.
Multiple aspects make manual lubrication inappropriate for the mining industry:
- Bad weather conditions can hinder or prevent lubrication from taking place.
- Off-road equipment is huge and climbing up or over an 8-meter high dump truck to lubricate the furthermost pivots can be dangerous.
- Many components such as bucket and boom pins need to be lubricated in multiple positions, which is time-consuming.
- Different machine operators will lubricate their equipment in different ways, and not all of them will be the correct ways.
OPTIMAL LUBRICATION = AUTOMATIC LUBRICATION
The solution for the optimal lubrication of mining equipment, and a key tool to help improve equipment efficiency and productivity, is automatic lubrication. Automatic lubrication involves providing smaller amounts of lubrication at regular intervals, without operator intervention. It ensures that components are lubricated when they need it most – while they are in use.
Automatic lubrication offers many advantages:
- It avoids manual lubrication downtime and reduces time spent on maintenance and repair.
- It cuts the cost of maintenance, repair, supplies and downtime.
- It increases equipment productivity, reliability and availability.
- It leads to safer operations by eliminating the need to climb on the machine to lubricate points that are difficult to reach.
As heavy mining machinery increases in complexity, automatic lubrication is really the only way forward to protect your investment and increase running time. It pushes dirt out of pivots, decreases wear and corrosion, and reduces lubricant consumption. It can even be set up with features that detect a blocked or broken line, and then alert the operator.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A Graco automatic lubrication system can be installed on most heavy mining machines as a retrofit.
It consists of three main components:
- The pump and reservoir store and provide a steady flow of lubricant.
- Divider valves or injectors (metering systems) deliver a predetermined amount of grease to each of the machine’s lubrication points.
- The controller inside the cab operates and monitors the system. It has touchpad display and LED lighting for easy programming and real-time feedback for operators. The controller engages the lubrication cycle by activating the pump. It also monitors the level of grease in the reservoir as well as the movement of lubricants through the system.
Graco also provides all the accessories needed, such as hoses, fittings, mounting hardware and product-specific guarding.
Article sourced from Graco Heavy Equipment Solutions