Fleet and plant operators can pick from a wide range of maintenance software, systems and platforms, but without a solid asset management strategy in place, even the best choice probably won’t provide optimal results
By Russell A. Carter, Contributing Editor
Maintenance is a key element in achieving operational goals for almost every segment of mining activity. At the most fundamental stage of mine or plant operations, equipment performance and health have a direct role in assuring worker safety and productivity. And, at the highest echelons of mine management, maintenance planning demands a level of attention commensurate for an activity that accounts, on average, for about thirty cents or more of every operating-cost dollar. Too much or not enough “wrench time” — in other words, over- or under-maintenance — can sink carefully crafted production plans and punch holes in otherwise-solid operating budgets.
It’s also the mine function with the widest selection of tools and options for getting the job done and measuring the effectiveness of planning, scheduling, task performance and outcome. In the software and systems area, these can range from simple work-order generation and tracking apps all the way up to enterprise asset management platforms that encompass everything from maintenance-related human resource allocation to spare-parts inventory control. Here’s a quick look at a selection of new-generation solutions designed to make maintenance more cost-effective and efficient, along with advice from maintenance experts on structuring critical maintenance processes and policies.