If you are running mobile earthmoving or fixed plant machinery, following the six tips below will help reduce your cost per tonne while also driving positive safety outcomes.
1) Stocking the correct ground engaging tools (G.E.T) and wear parts on site:
Having appropriate stock of ground engaging tools and wear parts on site can be a huge cost saver. The cost in lost productivity of having a machine down quickly adds up.
Where possible, store spare parts on or near to the machine. However, given the size and weight of many parts, this may not be possible. In this case keep them in the closest warehouse to where the machine is operating.
Using a stock management program or a well-maintained collaborative spreadsheet to track which machines are in use, where and when is essential to create accurate parts forecasts and ensure appropriate replacements are available when they are needed. Regular and comprehensive site audits will also assist in this process.
2) Use simple ground engaging tool systems that do not require special tools
Easy-to-use systems must be the norm. You should not need a specific tool that you are required to purchase from the supplier. It will likely go missing when you need it most.
A hammer, breaker bar and socket is all you should need. Anything else is going to cost you time and money in the long run.
3) Use reliable ground engaging tool systems
Every time a machine is stopped outside its regular 500-hour service period it’s costing money. If your machine is digging gold or uncovering coal, the downtime could be worth $20k an hour.
It makes sense then to use the best possible ground engaging tools and wear parts that will give you the maximum service life, are reliable and less likely to need changing between maintenance periods.
High quality ground engaging tools also deliver increased efficiencies with improved cutting, digging and grading performance, improved fuel consumption and reduced stress on engines, linkages, hydraulic hoses, and other assemblies.
4) Schedule and conduct regular inspections and preventative maintenance on buckets and blades
Regular inspections are one of the easiest, but often overlooked strategies that can be used to increase cost per tonne. Simply, if the wear parts on your buckets or blades are worn out, you face damage to your asset and reduced productivity.
Consider that if you don’t change bucket teeth and wear occurs in the adaptor nose, then you will be replacing a $4,000 part instead of an $800 part. It shouldn’t happen but it does, due to a “leave it to someone else” mentality.
By planning, scheduling and delegating inspections and preventative maintenance, worn parts can be replaced before productivity is compromised or damage to your machine occurs.
5) Review any problem wear areas and look to high performance wear solutions
If you are working with particularly challenging terrain or materials and have mobile earthmoving (or fixed plant) machinery that is requiring regular unplanned maintenance, you should consider alternative wear parts solutions in that area.
Using ultra high-performance wear parts will lead to an increase in wear part life, reducing unplanned downtime. It could even be an increase by as much as 525 per cent, as was seen in a particularly high wear area of a crusher chute in this case study.
6) Using the right ground engaging tool (G.E.T) for the application
The importance of using fit-for-purpose ground engaging tool systems cannot be overstated. Using the right edge or tooth to suit site digging conditions will see the machine perform more efficiently as well as reducing wear and stress on the machine.
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