Here’s How Rio Tinto, BHP Plan to Save Millions in Haulage, Maintenance Costs

A large U.S. insurance company closes its current TV commercials with the slogan, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” As a catchphrase, it could just as easily be applied to ongoing efforts among the world’s largest miners to increase productivity. These companies have seen a few things, and they know what needs to change in order to meet their goals. High on the list are improvements in loading, haulage, and equipment maintenance and replacement practices that offer the prospect of boosting productivity with little or no investment in additional primary production equipment.
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Controlling Compressor Vibration and Surge

Controlling vibration and surge is one of the most critical aspects of keeping centrifugal and reciprocating compressors up and running. If improperly monitored and maintained, these types of compressors can experience frequent functional issues and ultimately shorten their life span.

Vibration controls are essential concerning any kind of rotating equipment, and compressors are no exception. Regarding reciprocating compressors, typically the vibration sensing is not all that sophisticated. One will generally see a velocity measuring device, transmitting in inches per second, mounted to the block of a reciprocating compressor. As the vibration increases, the velocity of that vibration is going to increase along with it. This signal is then fed into a PLC or another comparable device. The signal is compared with a set of predetermined points. In the industry, these points are referred to as the “high” and the “high high.” An alarm is set to go off on the “high” to warn the operator that the vibration is starting to exceed a velocity that is recommended. If the vibration does not level off or slow down, the “high high” point will be triggered, which is programmed to shut down the compressor so it does not cause any irreversible damage.
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Operating Ideas - December 2017

Performance Improvements for Continuous Miners

For underground coal operators, the continuous miner is an indispensable piece of equipment. Room-and-pillar mines rely on them for production and longwalls depend on them for development. The industry has seen a steady stream of safety improvements related to the operation of these machines such as wireless remotes and proximity detection systems, and the machine itself has also seen a few changes.

The Joy continuous miner is popular in the U.S. Komatsu Mining recently claimed that nearly all of the top 20 room-and-pillar mines in the U.S. were running Joy continuous miners. Over time, the Joy 12CM, has evolved to meet the higher productivity requirements today’s underground operators expect. While many of the basic elements remain the same, these machines have been improved to withstand rigorous conditions.
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Operating Ideas - October/November 2017

Modeling Solves Coal Flow Problems

The James H. Miller Jr. plant in Alabama is one of the top 10 largest coal-fired power plants in the United States, responsible for 46% of the power generation in Alabama. The plant converted to Powder River Basin (PRB) coal about 20 years ago to gain the environmental benefits of the coal’s low sulfur properties. The downside of PRB coal is the 12,000 tons per hour (tph) that the facility needs to consume to maintain an equivalent power output.
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Operating Ideas - September 2017

Connecting the Connected Mine

How do you connect operations that cover vast stretches of land in some of the world’s most rugged and remote locations?

That’s the question many mining companies are asking today as they look to create a connected mine. They want to take advantage of greater data access, real-time analytics, autonomous systems and services such as remote monitoring, but they first need a network infrastructure that will tie all of those technologies and capabilities together.

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