Earthmoving equipment distributor Hitachi Construction Machinery Africa, in conjunction with its Mozambique subsidiary dealership, Hitachi Construction Machinery Mozambique, has designed and provided a custom- built lubricant vehicle for diversified mining giant Vale to enhance the availability of excavators, trucks and other utility equipment at the group’s Moatize coal mine, in Mozambique.
The lubricant vehicle enhances safety and optimises equipment availability by providing essential lubricants, coolant and degreaser where the equipment is used. This reduces preventive and planned maintenance downtime, improves productivity, reduces operating expenses, increases equipment use, and offers greater machine hour productivity.
“Machine hour availability is crucial to be successful on an operation the size of our Moatize undertaking,” says Moatize Mine Mozambique coal executive manager Wilco Uys.
“The mine has operated since 2010 and, in 2017, achieved an annual production milestone of 11.3-million tonnes of coal – 5.8-million tonnes more than in 2016. With the planned production ramp-up of over 15-million tonnes for the 2018 financial year, it currently is the premier coal mining operation in Mozambique and the biggest Vale investment outside Brazil,” he notes.
However, the operation’s location in Tete, in Central Mozambique, provides substantial logistical challenges and Moatize Mine expects this new lubricant vehicle, which provides a complete mobile support solution for the mine’s production and maintenance crews, “to appreciably improve machine hour productivity”.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Africa president Toshiaki Takase notes that “the success of our equipment is tied to the success of our customer’s operation, which makes the delivery of this unique custombuilt lubricant vehicle mutually beneficial. Equipment availability is a crucial factor to the continued success of one of Mozambique’s most critical natural resource facilities”
The lubricant unit, fitted to a field-proven Hitachi chassis, includes its own 40 kW, 12 V hydraulic drive motor. This secondary power unit isolates the vehicle’s main drive engine, which can be switched off during transfers, which makes field operations safer and more economical.
The lubricant unit contains six tanks that range from 250 ℓ to 10 000 ℓ capacities and includes oils, coolant, degreaser, and a high-pressure cleaner essential for effective in-field maintenance practices. It also features a ring of ten light-emitting diode maintenance lights for night operations.
The unit has a fast fill station for ground level filling in all product tanks, overfill protection valves for every tank, a battery pack with electrical sockets, and a sophisticated, automated fire suppression system. It is controlled by means of a digital management system with automated distribution control. It also has 15-m hoses with universal couplers for depot filling and standard distribution connections.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Mozambique president Kentaro Goto emphasises that vehicle maintenance is an industrywide challenge that heavily impacts on productivity and also safety.
“This mobile lubricant vehicle enables a considerable mine, such as Moatize, to provide more proactive maintenance for its working fleet to avoid downtime, delays and incidents. “The features specific to this vehicle, with a host of automated digital optimisations, ensure the best environmental sustainability, safety and efficiency for the maintenance crews and support our maintenance and repair contractual obligations.”
Moatize excavator maintenance manager João Monteiro explains that, as overall equipment effectiveness is an integral part of total production management, it is therefore crucial to achieving efficient and productive operations to increase capability in Moatize, with reliable lubrication service and to continuously focus on the sustainability of the business, positive environmental impact and personal safety.
“This new addition ensures we are at the forefront of innovative practices, even in a remote location, in line with our site-based focus on asset care and compliance to preventive maintenance plans.”