Mining Global magazine reporter Abigail Phillips addresses the worldwide issue of maintaining equipment like mine rail cars used for ore haulage:
The management and maintenance of mining equipment, on average, ranges from 30 to 50 percent of total operating costs for the mine, and is a figure that is ever increasing. […]
Every year new strategies come to light regarding ways mining firms can maintain equipment in the field environment more effectively, however there are still challenges associated with complexity, size, competition, cost and safety.
Furthermore, maintenance is especially difficult to optimize, and is often fraught with inefficiencies and excessive costs, owing to mining’s special technical, physical and organizational challenges […]
Since equipment maintenance needs cause production costs to balloon incrementally, an efficient and optimized strategy not only drives down cost but also significantly improves productivity. Such a strategy also improves safety and compliance to industry regulations. Maintenance, however, isn’t a clear-cut science.
Variation in Wear
Mining equipment has varying degrees and requisites for wear. This is due to the different abrasive wear resistances of the alloys and metals used to manufacture various types of equipment. Constant monitoring and planned maintenance programs are key factors in successfully limiting equipment downtime.
Equipment and Safety
The role that well-maintained mining equipment plays in the overall safety of the mine is invaluable. With regular maintenance and inspections, mining companies can ensure that their equipment contributes to the establishment of a safe working environment for all employees.
Mining equipment that is built to the highest of quality standards goes a long way to satisfying production demands and ensuring safe working conditions. Mining companies can rely on reputable firms like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. to provide excellent products, such as durable underground rail cars, in order to meet these requirements.
(Source: Implementing Effective Maintenance Strategies for Long Term Production Goals, Mining Global magazine, Apr 28, 2014)