Articles

Conveyor belts – Mechanical Splicing vs. Vulcanizing

About the author

Mark Colbourn is the managing director of Flexco Australia. Article first published in the April 2018 issue of Quarry Management as Mechanical Splicing vs Vulcanizing, the full article can be read here.

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How to Improve Mining Operational Efficiency to Lower Production Costs

According to a 2014 Deloitte report that outlined key concerns for mining companies, markets won’t be able to sustain production if costs increase above a certain level.

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How to Reduce Energy Consumption & Reach Zero Emissions in Mining

The mining sector provides materials to a large portion of the global market. As the saying goes, if it’s not farmed, it is mined. However, the mining industry generates about 1.9 to 5.1 gigatons of CO2, negatively affecting the environment we live in.

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Maintenance Maturity Assessment

In early 2021, when wood prices were skyrocketing, we were asked to help a pulp and paper mill with over 700 employees in Quebec to increase availability by 20%. The plant was struggling with 55% OEE, and maintenance appeared to be the primary culprit.

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Why Are Mining Companies Still Struggling with Maintenance and Reliability?

The mining business is inherently complex. Its methods and operations are time-consuming, risky, and vulnerable to unpredictable weather and government regulations. The sector must stay progressive in the face of tightly controlled finances and increased environmental and safety operations standards.

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Operational Readiness

For the commissioning of an iron concentrator in northern Quebec, our client only had the engineering documents and equipment manuals. The entire asset management component had to be in place prior to commissioning. We only had four months to go!

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Operational Excellence & Maintenance

Many organizations are considering or initiated an Operational Excellence program without any details to define the monster beyond the compelling term. The primary objective of operating companies is to maximize production throughput safely while minimizing energy and material consumption and human costs. In many cases, it is a competitive advantage. In the mining industry, it’s a matter of life and death. My vision of Operational Excellence is built on 4 pillars: People, Processes, Assets and Cash.

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Business Transformation

Since McKinsey’s RTS offering, we have witnessed a new wave of value creation offerings. The premises of transformational change are for the business to adapt to the new market or financial constraints. From a financial and operational point of view, the agility to play with the different levers is critical (especially during uncertain times), the transformational approach needs to be customized to the maturity of the organization.

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Industrial Internet of Things

Industry 4.0 refers to the 4th industrial revolution and is the transition to utilizing advanced computing for better manufacturing. Bernard Marr’s explanation of Industry 4.0 is probably the best I have seen in social medias.

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Tool Time Analysis

On paper, the plant had a strong asset management infrastructure in place. The SAP Plant Maintenance module was fully integrated, strong maintenance plans were in place, and there was an appropriate maintainer to planner to supervisor ratio and strong engineering support.

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Contractor Management

In operating firms (be it a refinery, a manufacturing plant or a mine), we are in business to make money. Focusing on core operations is the rule of thumb. With many of the challenges facing mining & manufacturing companies, conscious decisions on business value drivers are critical in order to reduce operational costs.

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Process Optimization

Process Optimization has been thrown around as a buzzword the last few years in heavy industry. From a process engineering standpoint, the first response you get when you say you are going to “optimize the process” is “exactly what are you optimizing?”

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