In a busy workshop a worker typically leaves their work bay multiple times for various reasons, but each time they do so, safety and efficiency are compromised.
Bend-Tech has developed a solution that makes work practices and workplaces safer and more efficient and delivers measurable results.
The Perth-based company has nearly 30 years experience in metal processing and fabrication.
Their latest innovation ‘E-Hub’ is a mobile workstation that allows an operation to harness efficiency and boost safety by connecting systems, tools, and culture directly to the workshop floor.
Built for a tough environment, E-Hub saves time, enables accuracy and improves safety by enabling workers to stay on their bay to complete various tasks.
Maintaining a strong supervisor presence on the workshop floor is crucial to avoiding potential safety issues, and keeping an operation running efficiently.
E-Hub connects the worker to the supervisor.
The unit’s push-button call system immediately notifies the supervisor of an issue on a specific bay and initiates a timed response to that issue.
By alerting the supervisor to the need for action, the worker stays on the job and the workshop continues to operate, with minimal down time.
Ordering and checking parts are streamlined and this saves the worker valuable time from not having the required part or the right part.
To access live parts information the worker no longer needs to leave the bay.
The unit is designed to incorporate existing computing hardware and software allowing live part checking to take place on-bay.
Wiring diagrams and manuals are often accessed off-bay by workers, but this wastes time; the diagrams and manuals accessed off-bay may also be outdated.
E-Hub allows instantaneous recall of up-to-date, accurate wiring diagrams accessed on-line at the bay.
The diagram is displayed on the large monitor, and the worker can zoom to the area of importance ensuring an accurate diagnosis and faster repair.
E-Hub gives workshop managers the ability to measure and track jobs more efficiently.
The supervisor can see instantly the clocking on and off of jobs enabling bays to be quickly re-allocated to other jobs.
The E-Hub can be applied to any busy workshop environment, but is particularly beneficial to mining.
Unproductive trucks and other machines can cost a mining operation around $10,000 to $15,000 an hour – not including lost production, so the smallest gains in maintenance turn-around times can have an impact on the bottom line.
“Based on a machine that runs at a cost of $10,000 per hour, if a worker leaves the bay 10 times per shift for an average of 15 minutes each time, he clocks up 150 minutes of lost time,” Bend-Tech managing director Jim said.
“Let’s say E-Hub saves him five trips off-bay. That’s 75 minutes saved in one shift, by just one worker.
“With a truck costing $10,000 per hour, the workshop potentially saves $12,500 per bay, per shift, daily.
“Extrapolate this saving over multiple bays and it doesn’t take long for E-Hub to pay for itself.”
E-Hub offers a range of benefits for any mining maintenance workshop, boosting efficiency by creating a streamlined environment where employees are able to better manage their work, as well as receive on-the-job training.
Ruggedly designed to withstand the effects of heat and dust, it also makes optimum use of available space.
Maintenance bays are interchangeable with E-Hub, and the size of the on-site library can be radically reduced, or even eliminated.
The E-Hubs were first placed in service early in 2014 at a workshop at BHP Billiton’s Jimblebar Project 41 km east of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
BHP Billiton’s Superintendent Mobile Maintenance - Jimblebar Project Nathan Crookes said the E-Hub delivered on expectations.
“The units have provided more efficient tool time. By keeping the information in the work bay there is less ‘lost time’ leaving the planned task area,” he said.
“Face to Face handover is now carried out in the bay. Again this is more effective as techs are looking at the job together.
“The large screen aids troubleshooting which is a real bonus with detailed schematics.”