SKF Zambia installed IMx-16 Multilog online monitoring systems on two mobile mining haul trucks at a leading copper mine in Zambia to ensure continuous mining operations by predicting critical component failures and allowing for planned predictive maintenance procedures to be carried out.
The arduous operating environment triggered frequent component failures on the haul trucks causing unexpected breakdowns. The ensuing unscheduled downtime was simply not acceptable as these machines are critical to the mining operation. A monitoring system to manage the health of the trucks was urgently needed and it had to be a remote solution as a manual procedure was not feasible for the mine. Sending technicians out to obtain vibration and temperature readings from critical points on each truck would be counter-productive due to obligatory work stoppages. The mine decided to approach SKF Zambia for a viable solution.
“Once we had concluded our site visits to determine all the critical points on the trucks that would require monitoring, we recommended SKF’s IMx-16 Multilog system to our customer,” states Mel Patel, key account manager at SKF Zambia.
The installation, which was done over a period of two days per truck, included the fitment of vibration and temperature sensors on critical components including the front wheels, wheel bearings, lift pump, brake pump, alternator, drive motor and rear wheel traction motors. The scope of work also required the integration of an hydraulic oil sensor into the IMx-16 system.
The IMx system’s 16 inputs can be configured for both vibration and temperature monitoring. The data is continuously collected by sensors in real-time while the machines are operating, eliminating the need for work stoppages. The Wi-Fi/3G Sim compatible system then automatically forwards the collected vibration and temperature data to SKF’s Remote Diagnostic Centre (RDC) in Johannesburg, for analysis by highly skilled engineers. “When anomalies are detected, the IMx system sends alerts to the end-user’s cellphone or email in real-time,” adds Patel.
Access to structured truck component data point analyses in real-time, coupled with SKF recommendations by expert analysts, enables the mine to plan repair work and carry out the necessary preventative maintenance during scheduled downtime, avoiding potential catastrophic machine failure and all the associated costs.
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