A surface mine in BHP’s Queensland, Australia, coal-mining operations has succeeded in cutting by two-thirds the time needed to carry out regularly scheduled service for its 250-ton haulers.

BHP’s Prospect blog reported that as recently as a year ago at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Daunia metallurgical coal mine, it took the maintenance team two hours to complete a regular service routine on each of the 16 trucks — and all of them had to be serviced every 250 hours, or about every two weeks. The time it takes the maintenance team to service trucks is critical to mine efficiency and productivity because it directly impacts how long they are out of action. Plus, it’s important that they are serviced safely, effectively and consistently.

The mine, according to the blog post, implemented three primary improvements to streamline this work: it introduced a dedicated service bay; allowed maintainers time to set up tooling and service kits before the truck enters the workshop; and introduced technology to design, monitor and improve work practices.

The results, said BHP, exceeded expectations. Average truck downtime for a regular truck service dropped from two hours to 40 minutes, saving one hour and 20 minutes for each truck over every two-week service interval — a potential 10 hours of extra work each week for the fleet.

The improvement comes from a program initiated by BHP to adopt new ways of working to boost routine job productivity. It’s called the BHP Operating System (BOS) and embraces “Standardized Work,” a concept that empowers frontline teams to solve problems and design solutions to streamline their processes. It also encourages greater collaboration to reduce waste, overloading and variation, and is intended to lead to more effective and consistent results.

The company said it started applying Standardized Work to truck maintenance at Daunia a year ago. It used technology to track work and then analyzed the process to find ways it could be improved. A custom app that runs on an iPad or iPhone walks a maintainer through each step of scheduled maintenance in the most efficient way. The app, said BHP, ensures that service is completed the same way every time, and its interactivity allows participants to make suggestions through it to improve performance.

The mine is about to roll out a similar approach for its 400-mt payload trucks and will shortly progress to bulldozer servicing. Because the service improvements and the associated technology are transferrable, they are now being trialed at two other BHP mine sites and, with a few tweaks to suit each site, are likely to be implemented across all BHP-operated mine sites.