Site management programs developed by the world’s large crane manufacturing and maintenance services group, Konecranes, are being used by leading resource companies to pinpoint potential equipment problems long before they can cause downtime and safety concerns.
Clients such as alumina mining and processing giant Alcoa and diversified miner BHP Billiton are discovering the productivity benefits of Konecranes’ unique computerised system, under which inspection and maintenance reports on every crane are submitted to a database by Konecranes’ technicians, together with a cost summary for any future work proposed. This data is processed by specialised software and held within the database to generate regular reports for e-mailing customers.
The system draws not only on Konecranes on-site expertise for Australasian industry leaders, but also on its global experience spanning maintenance agreements covering more than 230,000 cranes of all makes and models in dozens of countries and including thousands of cranes in Australia and New Zealand.
According to Konecranes, multiple crane owners like Alcoa and BHP Billiton appreciate the benefits of knowing the real-time status of each piece of lifting equipment because detailed, up-to-date information enables them to monitor costs and maintain peak reliability and safety at all times. Use of advanced crane maintenance technology, including thermography to indicate potential points of failure, also enables them to schedule maintenance at times that suit overall site management, such as routine shutdowns, so they don’t get production cuts that can cost $50,000 an hour or more.
Given the huge volumes of valuable resources flowing through mines now, it is very easy to exceed that $50,000 figure if an essential crane is out of commission. Konecranes help to avoid such situations by blending advanced technology and predictive reporting capabilities with the on-site knowledge of staff and client staff. Benefits and knowledge also flow on from the fact that Konecranes manages and maintains cranes at highly demanding sites around Australia, including mines, metal processing plants, nuclear reactors, electricity generators and shipping terminals, which all have their own unique environments and challenges. Such customers place a heavy emphasis on maintenance scheduling and safety.
Konecranes software enables it to provide each customer with detailed information on the components of every crane together with separate cost analyses, productivity reports, service and inspection details and safety performance figures. This enables the customer to maximise the return on each crane investment.
On top of reliability based reports, the system also provides site specific Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting. These reports are determined on a case by case basis after consultation with each sites maintenance and OH&S managers. Generally they include safety statistics such as classified injuries, lost time injuries and safety act observations, but also include quality measures such planned vs completed works.
Customers who are themselves world leaders in their field employ practice,when it comes to maintenance and safety, and expect nothing less from their contract partners.
Konecranes said that by always having accurate, up-to-date data on every crane covered by a maintenance contract, Konecranes is able to utilise breaks in production for scheduled maintenance and repairs and dramatically decrease unscheduled work at every site.
Using the reports Konecranes provide, customers can track costs and downtime hours for each crane and be confident that a plant’s production levels are being maximised under an efficient and cost-effective program. Konecranes can even show how planned repairs and modifications can boost reliability and enable customers to avoid crane failures.
The level of detail in cost analysis reports is impressive. Ranging through callouts, breakdowns, inspections and scheduled repairs and upgrades these reports even pinpoint whether the fault was electrical, mechanical or both and if it was actually caused by the manner of operation. The frequency of these reports depends on the importance of key cranes in the production process.
Konecranes even use thermography to indicate potential points of failure with components like drum brakes, couplings, bearings and also for hot joints in electrical panels. This can be undertaken by technicians during production through the use of live test permits.
Konecranes latest software enables technicians to provide customers with an electronically-generate detailed report before they leave the site. This report includes a review of all previous maintenance and repair reports so that items requiring wear monitoring are checked out.
With each new customer or site, Konecranes specialist consultants undertake a comprehensive crane audit to ensure strict compliance with Australian Health and Safety Standards for both the cranes and their operating areas. These audits provide a clear understanding of the condition of every crane and enable informed decisions to be made in terms of scope and schedule of remedial works.
The range of makes and models of cranes being operated by customers is not important because Konecranes services more than 230,000 cranes of all makes and sizes worldwide and the company has intimate knowledge of virtually every model.
Konecranes has ensured that it can handle any project in Australia by equipping itself with the best crane fabrication and modification facilities and all the engineering expertise needed. The company recently established a new manufacturing facility at Ingleburn, Sydney, containing more than 3600 square metres of workshop floorspace to radically expand fabrication capabilities and streamline service to customers for cranes ranging from small jibs to Goliath gantry cranes capable of lifting more than 1000 tonnes. Local stocks of spare parts are backed up through KCI Konecranes’ international network. This means that any components required can be on-site, anywhere in Australia, within days.
Downtime can easily cost more than a crane is worth, so the avoidance of operational problems and the maintenance of world class uptime and efficiencies through expert equipment management to regulatory standards are critical these days.