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Greasing the wheels of efficiency

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As mining vehicles and machinery face conditions ranging from minus 34 degrees up to nearly 50 degrees at sites around the world they need tough engines and motors to keep them moving.

And lubrication is what keeps these motors from grinding to a halt.

Especially in Australia where high levels of floating dry dust and grit present a constant hazard to motor life.

Shell recently worked with global mining company Barrick Gold Corporation to improve its motor performance and reduce overall energy consumption at its Plutonic gold mine in Western Australia. 

Shell Lubricants worked with Barrick's engineering staff to identify energy efficiency opportunities.

Following studies, it suggested to the miner that it would benefit from changing its existing hydraulic motor lubricant from Shell Tellus S2 M to Shell Telluis S4 ME on its conveyor systems.

Barrick reportedly agreed to implement a six month trial of the new lubricant in two of the Haggulunds MA 200 hydraulic motors installed on conveyors at the mine.

During the trial Barrick measured several factors, including load; temperature; filters; filter ratings; lubricant viscosity; and viscosity index.

The overall results were recorded by a power monitor, which Shell provided.

According to the miner, results of the trial showed that by switching to Shell Tellus S4 ME in the two hydraulic motors it reduced energy consumption by approximately 5.27 per cent annually - providing a saving of around US $ 10 520 a year.

Barrick says it also benefited from extended oil-drain intervals, and reduced labour costs and downtimes at Plutonic.

It also expects the change will extend machinery life.

The miner is now planning to use Shell Tellus S4 ME across all of its 25 gold mines around the world.

Shell has also recently developed Tellus VX, a hard wearing lubricant designed for use in frigid Arctic environments.

It passed testing at a remote Siberian mine where temperatures varied from minus 50 degrees up to 35 degrees.

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