Inventory Management Study Shows How Mining Stacks Up Against Other Sectors

New cross-industry survey illuminates the landscape and challenges of inventory management and optimization
A recent survey by consulting firm ScottMadden noted that industry professionals generally agree that effective inventory optimization is a major goal, but not everyone agrees on the best way to achieve it — and it can be especially challenging to ensure the “five rights” are accomplished consistently — right materials, right quantity, right location, right time and right cost.

The study asserted that historically, asset-intensive companies such as mining have a somewhat sub-optimal record when it comes to managing inventory, specifically excess, obsolete, incorrect material, and/or wrong quantities in stock. That said, there is no doubt that when a piece of equipment goes down in one of these industries, everyone mobilizes to “get the oxcart out of the ditch” and ensure the asset is back online as quickly as possible, according to study by contributing author Andy Flores, a partner at ScottMadden.

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MUM’s the Word — An Underwater Vehicle Made for Mining

A team of engineers from thyssenkrupp, Berlin Technical University, the University of Rostock, Atlas Elektronik and EvoLogics will begin work to develop a new type of unmanned underwater vehicle for industrial applications that could include deep-sea mining. The research and development project known as the Large Modifiable Underwater Mothership, or MUM, will receive funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy over three years. It is intended to “open up new ways to explore and harness the potential of the world’s oceans,” according to a press release issued by thyssekrupp in early November. It will be “...breaking with old conventions,” said the company, explaining that its unique modular design will enable the new vehicle class to be customized cost-efficiently for each mission. Individual MUM base modules can be combined with specific mission modules to form large systems, enabling performance of specialized tasks. This makes the new underwater vehicle ideal for deep-sea mining as well as other applications, said thyssenkrupp.

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New Geosynthetic Pad System Supports 800-tons-plus

Huesker Group, an international supplier of geosynthetics and technical textiles, has introduced the Fortrac Heavy Load geosynthetic support pad system to the market, aimed at replacing conventional — and often expensive — heavy-duty steel and concrete support solutions. The Fortrac system, according to Huesker, is designed for temporary storage of extra-heavy equipment, offering load capacities of 800 tons and higher.

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Pump Selection Tips

Underground miners considering a new pump should answer some questions internally before they approach manufacturers for recommendations. Tsurumi provided the following checklist to consider:

What will be pumped? Pumps have limitations. Mine water often has solids and can be corrosive. The filter perforation size on the pump indicates which particles can pass; some are up to 30 mm. A corrosive medium may require more durable materials. Tip: Attach anode blocks to the pumps to prevent corrosion.

What’s the pumping volume? The water volume that needs to be pumped is usually the factor that dictates the required pump output. Each pump covers one range and has an optimum, which is why there are so many types. Tsurumi has around 800. Tip: Choose slower pumps because they are less prone to wear.

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