As a part of Xstrata’s overall plan to improve the reliability of it’s mobile fleet and fixed plant, George Fisher Mine, located 20klm north of Mt Isa, has undertaken a bold, industry leading project to upgrade the 10 level underground mobile maintenance workshop lube storage and reticulation system.
In conjunction with the change to Mobil as the primary supplier of lubricants to Xstrata, there has been a change in the wind to improve the lube practices across the Xstrata sites.
The introduction of the Performance Improvement Team (PIT) lubrication meetings, has seen a new wave of incentive and drive to learn more about the cause and effect of improper lube practices resulting in contamination, premature component failure resulting increased machinery downtime and costs.
The results to date have shown a slow but steady improvement in lube practices to minimise contamination and improve the reliability of Xstrata’s assets.
George Fisher Mine management have been the first to tackle the reliability issues of it’s mobile fleet front on, by upgrading the 10 level underground mobile maintenance workshops fluid storage and reticulation system.
George Fisher’s reliability engineer Craig Matthews was given the exciting but daunting task of a total overhaul of the workshops lube practices.
With this mammoth task at hand, Matthews employed the services of Australia’s leading lubrication equipment supplier, Alemite Lubrequip.
Alemite Lubrequip’s ability to offer a complete package of design, manufacture and installation was the resource Matthews was looking for to successfully upgrade the lubrication storage and reticulation system with minimal interruptions to the workshops capabilities.
Alemite Lubrequip’s design and installation engineer Drew Willis along with Xstrata’s reliability engineer Matthews conducted extensive research and development to put together a package which will overcome the common supply and contamination issues faced by the George Fisher Mine site.
The state of the art 16 Hose Reel dispensing gantry boasts unmatched performance with seven types oil, waste oil evacuation, Primax coolant, grease header tank, compressed air, bulldog detergent options and potable water conveyed through the ever reliable Alemite dual pedestal hose reels and control valves.
All of the oil products offer both fast fill dry break connection as well as splash fill for ease of use.
The equipment gantry’s also offer a full length fluid drip tray connected into the wast oil recovery system and is filtered before being transferred to waste oil facility for transport and disposal, just one of the many special features installed.
Alemite Lubrequip has completed extensive research and development in the storage and reticulation system.
The Fluid tank storage area contains nine 3000 L tanks of various fluids all contained in a fully bunded configuration.
Some of the many features offered on the Alemite Lubriquip tank system are as follows: individual upload pumps, five micron inlet and outlet filtration, 2 micron desicant tank breathers, tank high level cut off valves, provision for offline filtration and provision for filling the underground service truck.
The oil reticulation pumps used are Alemite P/n 7735 10:1 ratio material pumps capable of handling the highest viscosity products offered in the ever changing market.
The Alemite 7735 provides a more than satisfactory pressure and flow rate to carry out all servicing, and has been detuned after offering some extraordinary flow rates unexpected by Xstrata maintenance personnel.
This is a far cry from the antiquated 1000 litre POD and reel system which is employed in most underground workshops.
All oils, grease, coolant and degreaser are delivered via stainless steel pipe work which gives the lubrication storage and delivery system, life longevity and a classy finish unmatched in the mining industry.
The addition of the Permex Oilwatch system has put the finishing touches to a project which has been 8 months in the making, with an outcome which has exceeded the expectations of most.
As another initiative to move a step closer to the contamination control goal, was to take delivery of a Mitsubishi Canter Lube truck and a Landcruiser six wheeler tray back with removable lube module.
The truck body and module were designed and manufactured by Alemite Lubrequip at their Brisbane operation.
The lube trucks and 10 level workshop upgrade were designed to complement each other and improve the consistency of the oil delivery to the George Fisher Mine mobile fleet
The introduction of the Lubrication Technician (formerly known as greasers) accreditation has also been a master stroke by Xstrata management.
Giving ownership to a position which is critical to the operation and up until recent times has not been held in high regard is a move which will see the companies lubrication rating steadily increase.
Alemite Lubreuip’s business development manager Paul Smart has been a regular attendee of the PIT lube meetings and says attending these meetings has given Alemite Lubrequip a greater understanding of what Mt Isa Mines are wanting to achieve.
The meetings certainly have been a great tool for being able to offer solutions which do meet the specific needs of each area of the operation.
“Some of the points that we picked up from the PIT lube meetings has prompted us to change the design of the 10 level workshop configuration to be in harmony with their target,” says Smart.
Alemite Lubrequip’s greater understanding of the new and improved lube practices being employed in Mt Isa, has made them a focal point as a company willing to partner the Lubrication Technician’s and Reliability Engineers to achieve never before achieved results.
* This article was submitted by Mark Williamson of Alemite Lubrequip. Australian Mining magazine does not endorse any products, or support any vendor's claims.