Crushing belts circuit avoids 4 billion in costs

June 3, 2022

Considering the need for improvement, in the inspections of the crushing belts circuit at the Sossego Plant and establishing the causes of the main anomalies presented in the conveyor belt, sensors and gateways were installed in the plant, in more than 264 points for remote and continuous monitoring of the asset.  

The project’s objective was to reduce the occurrence of problems related to engine heating, compressed air leaks, and the difficulty of cleaning the gear during preventive inspections, among others. 

Read more about the improvement plan idealized by Grupo CCQ – Ajuste Fino, from Vale, linked to Dynamox technology next.

Failure History

Via prioritization matrix, the problems identified in the plant were divided into severity, urgency, tendency, and autonomy. In evidence, we had the occurrence of failures in components of the crushing conveyor circuit between inspection routes, getting higher scores and weight in the problem analysis scales. 

Once the priority was defined, the predictive team’s intention was to reduce the number of occurrences of unsignaled failures between inspection routes, improving the current situation of the manual model that were being carried out every two weeks with offline collectors.  

Conveyor Belt Circuit Problems

Because the belts circuit are dynamic assets that operate in constant regime, problems such as lubrication failure, water and ore contamination, even if momentary, can generate temperature rises and vibration, evolving to a mechanical blockage and even a corrective shutdown event.

Every 15-day inspection routes are not efficient for the immediate handling of these events.

Hence the need for automated temperature and vibration data collection that monitors according to the rapidly changing behavior of vibration and temperature as they occur. 

Action Plan for Repairs

For effective treatment on the cause of the failures, an action plan was drawn up and executed with the activities of team alignments and the installation of wireless sensors along the conveyor.

Due to continuous conveyor operation and variations in machine behavior, continuous vibration and temperature monitoring would be the most efficient option. 

After an implementation study, done by the plant’s predictive team, a total of 264 monitoring points were installed in the primary crushing belts circuit.

The activities in the plan consisted of performing manual data collection, followed by the installation of wireless sensors, risk-free data collection, and the installation of gateways

During the project, the activities in the action plan occurred successfully, resulting in the creation of an automated detection dashboard, with criticality flagging of the items, tracking and status of assets. 

Earning Verifications

Alongside with Dynamox, an automated diagnostic dashboard was created to obtain criticality signaling, monitoring, and asset condition status. 

According to history, in 2020 there were 188 failures between biweekly routes.

And, after applying remote monitoring, the occurrences of vibration when mapped, received treatment as alerts and sending of automated reports for decision making. 

Based on operational safety, the removal of predictive inspectors from the vibration collection activity risks and the reduction of corrective stops were the main pillars for the choice of continuous asset monitoring: production optimization allied to employee safety. 

In 2021, the events began to be signaled at the time they occurred, generating an alert in all occurrences of vinration elevations above the limit, with the generation of alerts on the platform and e-mail, making decision making faster.

So, the goal set at the beginning of the project was achieved and the process of automating the failure diagnostics was completed in 1 year.

Still on the gains, we can point out:

  • Reduction of inspector exposure to noise; 
  • 4 billion in avoided corrective cost; 
  • 100% of the Plant’s predictive team removed from the risky environment of the collection activity; 
  • Decrease of activity severity from severe to mild; 
  • Predictive Technician Training; 
  • Activity Standardization. 

The project’s success represented the Sossego Plant in the Base Metals Maintenance Story 2021, affirming Vale and Dynamox’s commitment to continuous processes improvement in industrial asset maintenance.

If you liked this content and are interested in the system learn more about the DynaPredict Web Platform to help you in asset management.

Source: Vale

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