Using RCM an iron ore mine was able to remove several thousand redundant maintenance plans, minimize data that requires management and create more efficient work schedules.
Iron ore has played a key role in driving Australia's growth over the past decade, with the hardy mineral fueling the Chinese construction boom and helping Australia recover from the global financial crisis. When demand for iron ore skyrocketed, the Pilbara mines were focused almost solely on growth and the high resource price meant they could easily absorb inefficient operating practices.
During this period, many mines were hasty in the design and construction of infrastructure; and they fast-tracked maintenance tactics and work management master data.
There were hurried implementations of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and, post start-up, companies were finding themselves throwing labor at the planning and execution of work to cope with the increasing problems, without addressing the fundamental quality of the work management master data to control maintenance strategies and work scheduling.
Now that the economic tide has turned, and demand for iron ore has dropped, iron ore producers are shifting the focus from growth to efficiency. They seek sustainable ways to control costs ($/ton).
This was the case for an iron ore mine located in WA's Pilbara region. It recognized that there was significant room for improvement within its work management master data and maintenance strategies. The Pilbara mine wanted maintenance strategies that focus on doing the right maintenance at the right intervals, and called in ARMS Reliability to:
The improved quality of master data quality within the maintenance work order management system has reduced maintenance costs by making the job more effective, and the planning and scheduling process more efficient. With ARMS Reliability’s direct involvement in the process of improving the work management master data and maintenance strategies – including ‘on the job’ mentoring and coaching – the iron ore miner has made excellent progress in terms of its understanding and knowledge of best practice work management. The mine now has reliability engineers capable of using data and analytical tools to complete detailed RCM studies for critical and problematic assets; and who can conduct FMEA analyses when RCM is not warranted.
As well as these long-term benefits, the Pilbara mine has also experienced significant, immediate outcomes:
- Removal of several thousand redundant maintenance plans
- Improvement to hundreds of plans, items and task lists by adding external services, components and additional labor operations where required
- Consolidation of master data and maintenance service instructions across like equipment to minimize the amount of data that required management
- Improvement to work scheduling
With iron ore prices dropped from the huge highs of $180/t in 2011 – this iron ore miner now has the tools and knowledge necessary to reduce the ongoing operating costs of its maintenance department. In doing so, it will take the organization as far as possible to the left-hand side of the cost curve, and help support its sustainability and profitability for many years to come.