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The traditional methods of cost cutting and improving operational efficiency are not as simple as they appear. Global mining companies are faced with competing priorities:

• How to improve cost efficiencies at current, or even increased production rates?
• How to plan for operational growth when there is a need to reduce capital spending?
• How to practically and swiftly cut costs and in turn, increase profits?

Our experience is that the focus should not be simply on cost reduction, but should also be on operational effectiveness and as asset availability.

We work with mines on a daily basis and are frequently asked to suggest effective solutions that can help reduce maintenance costs and improve asset availability.

We recently polled our internal maintenance experts as well as some maintenance professionals at key customers. Maintenance costs can arise from a failure which has a root cause that is traced back to oil contamination, or failures which cause a shortened component life. A lubricated system that experiences contamination will inevitable lose efficiency over time. One of the major ways a company can reduce the risk of contamination and the associated risks that come with it is to create an environment which encourages more awareness of contamination control practices.

We have identified nine primary areas in lubrication management that can help create this environment, manage costs and improve operational efficiency:

1. Training
a. Classroom contamination control training program
b. Individual technician training program
c. New technician orientation program in regards to oil analysis & contamination

2. Machine Wash Area
a. Wash all machines before entering repair shop
b. Use high volume wash equipment to remove heavy deposits of mud
c. Pressure wash with soap & heat
d. Cleaned equipment is kept cleaned from wash area to shop
e. Wash facility has a maintenance plan in place

3. Shop Facility
a. Shop has doors to keep out contaminants
b. Support stand available and used for major components
c. Air lines are filtered at each drop
d. Parts washer solvent stands are filtered and maintained
e. Shop oil supply is filtered and meets ISO code appropriate for the oil type
f. Grinders are not located in or close to component assembly areas

4. Shop Practices
a. Caps, plugs & plastic wrap is easily available for technicians to use
b. Caps and plugs are used for hoses and tubes during disassembly
c. Protective covers or wrap is used when removing components
d. New parts are kept in packaging until ready to use
e. All seals and o-rings are kept clean and not hanging openly
f. Used oil is disposed of properly and quickly
g. Hoses and steel lines are cleaned before reassembly
h. Oil spills are cleaned up immediately
i. Floors are cleaned with soap and water - no granular floor cleaning product is used

5. Parts Warehousing
a. Parts are all kept in packaging
b. All filters are kept in packaging
c. All seals and o-rings are kept clean and not hanging openly
d. Hoses and steel lines are protected from contamination while stored
e. All engines are protected from contamination while stored
f. All wheel motors are protected from contamination while stored

6. Hydraulic Hose Assembly
a. Stock hose is stored clean with caps in place
b. The hose cutoff saw is vented to the outside of the building
c. Cut hoses are cleaned prior to assembly
d. Hose couplings are stored in a clean manner
e. Hoses are cleaned again after assembly and protective caps installed

7. Bulk Oil Storage
a. Bulk tanks have appropriate filtration leaving the tanks with kidney loop capabilities
b. Bulk tanks are equipped with 4-micron desiccant breathers and adequately handle air flow requirements
c. A preventive maintenance program is in place
d. Barrels of oil are kept clean and free of water contamination

8. Analysis/Diagnostic
a. Filter inspection procedure is in place
b. Appropriate filter cutting tools are available
c. Particle count capability on-site
d. Microscope and patch test capability on-site
e. UV detection capabilities on-site

9. Component Filtration
a. Hydraulic filter cart is available and maintained
b. High pressure kidney loop filtration is available for excessively contaminated systems
c. Wheel motor filter cart is available and maintained
d. Transmission filter cart is available and maintained
e. Axle filter cart is available and maintained
f. Method is in place to utilize "clean out" or "fine filtration" on-board machines

Consider conducting a quick audit of these nine key areas of contamination control to see where you can make improvements quickly.

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At Dingo, we have experts committed to helping your business achieve results through cost-reduction and asset-availability programs. Call us today to speak with an expert about how Dingo and our Oil Analysis or Breakdown Avoidance programs can help your organization manage costs and increase asset availability. Denver, USA 1-888-346-4630 or www.Dingo.com.

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