Mining industry drilling services provider Rosond has adopted an approach to drilling equipment maintenance which entails identifying trends to assist the company in applying engineering fixes, altering maintenance periods and educating operational staff accordingly.`
“We follow a productive approach, with a strong focus on reducing loss of productivity owing to unnecessary delays in turnaround time, when tackling expensive machinery and equipment breakdowns or maintenance that could have been less severe or prevented,” Rosond operational director Ricardo Ribeiro tells Mining Weekly.
Part of Rosond’s maintenance process is the close monitoring of statistics compiled from data on all failures and breakdowns. This makes it possible to identify and address areas requiring urgent attention, subsequently allowing for reduced downtime during maintenance.
“Through our approach, we also diminish the quick-fix syndrome, where a repair is not done correctly to save costs, which is detrimental to productivity in the long term.”
Rosond has been swapping machines at mines to repair damaged machines in the workshop, rather than conducting repairs underground.
“Our main reason for this approach is to increase productivity and drilling continuity,” notes Ribeiro, adding that, depending on the type of machine and the complexity of a repair, it is sometimes quicker to do a service exchange than to repair a unit underground, especially in harsh working conditions.
Repairing machines above ground allows for work to be done under better lighting conditions and in cleaner environments, with reduced noise and easier access to tools, but Rosond still undertakes repairs and maintenance underground when it proves to be a more efficient solution.
However, Ribeiro points out that all machinery and equipment at mines have a life expectancy and certain tolerances required for smooth operation. Once these end-of-life cycles have been reached, a service exchange is more viable.
Regardless of expected life time, well-maintained machinery and equipment reduce hydrocarbon emissions from leaks and equipment failure, and having equipment operate at its best level increases efficiency and reduces energy use.
“At Rosond, we believe that stagnation means regression, and we continue to find better and improved methods and approaches to our maintenance programmes.”
Backing its commitment to high-quality maintenance, Rosond presents in-house maintenance training for staff and on-site training for clients’ employees at the mining operations it is contracted to.
Recent training of geologists was done for platinum producer Impala Platinum and gold producer Sibanye Gold. The training included operational checklists, hazard identification specific to the Rosond working area and Rosond standard operational procedures. This training helps the client geologists to plan drilling areas better, which, in turn, improves efficiencies and reduces downtime.
The company identifies training candidates from each mining operation’s staff complement through observation and approaches them to resolve issues arising from a maintenance point of view. They are trained on site to work with a qualified artisan, who further reports on the individual’s attitude and commitment.
After approval, trainees are invited to Rosond’s head office, in Midrand, to spend time in its workshop, where they are also trained in the manufacturing of the company’s machinery and equipment.
On completion of their workshop training, they are used as ‘aids’ at their respective company sites, with their development further being monitored by on-site Rosond officials.
“Individuals showing commitment can be upskilled and are exposed to other Rosond sites, working under the guidance of a qualified artisan,” Ribeiro highlights, adding that trainees can also be sent for further education at external academic institutions to become qualified fitters, for instance.
Rosond’s in-house training focuses on educating all working crews yearly on the importance of daily routine and how critical positive attitudes are in terms of maintenance.
The company also implements continuous on-site underground audits of all machine operators involved in its mining contracts and, should a crew be found lacking, Rosond initiates retraining as part of its maintenance programme for mines.
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Rosond provides clients with the updates required to consistently determine the direction and life-of-mine and, with fewer interruptions caused by breakdowns or the human factor, negative impacts on productivity are less frequent.
“Since we do cover drilling and drilling for prospecting purposes, it provides increased confidence that we can keep up with planned drill schedules, as well as maintenance schedules,” avers Ribeiro.
Rosond’s inclusion of safety processes in maintenance schedules assures clients of continuously efficient and safe repairs, he concludes.