A leading nickel mine in Madagascar had been using a manual vibration data collection process on its critical equipment for many years. Fed up with frequent breakdowns and subsequent costly unplanned downtime, the mine heeded SKF’s sound advice on the cost-saving advantages and added value of an online solution.
Since switching from manual vibration data collection to SKF’s online system, the mine has seen vastly improved critical equipment monitoring of 250 assets and 750 physical points. There has also been a significant reduction in the number of unexpected breakdowns and a subsequent shrinking of maintenance- related costs. In addition to increasing the level of planned activities, digitalisation is also boosting mine production as a direct result of extended machine and equipment availability and improved uptime.
SKF has been supplying bearings to the customer since the mine was first commissioned in 2002. “We noticed that the mine was using portable data collectors for manual vibration data collection,” says Leopold Massouka, SKF Area Manager, Central Africa & Indian Ocean. He explains that a total of 2 300 pieces of equipment were being monitored by only four data collectors. “As the data collectors were unable to cope with such a vast amount of equipment, the frequency of measures was low and unsatisfactory.”
“Technical days led at the mine site by our SKF Africa’s expert, Kutsi Jaka, presented us with the perfect opportunity to share the tremendous advantages and cost saving benefits of our online solutions with our customer,” continues Leopold. “Thanks to our close cooperation, the management support provided by the North West Africa Director Haitham Aboshibi, and the relationship of trust that we have built with the mine over the past 10 years, we were able to convince our customer to switch to online monitoring for their critical and semi-critical equipment.” Leopold also points out the synergies between these online equipment monitoring solutions and SKF’s bearing contract with the mine which will add further benefits for the customer.
SKF recommended the IMx-16 and IMx-1 vibration and temperature sensor systems as the most efficient solution to meet the mine’s unique requirements. The 28 wired online IMx-16 systems, along with 185 sensors, are designed for the most critical equipment and include an annual subscription to the SKF Observer Cloud for the most critical equipment.
For semi-critical equipment, SKF proposed the wireless 450 IMx-1 sensors, 30 gateways and 20 Atex Quick Collect sensors as well as a subscription to the Enlight Centre. “The subscription allows for a permanent dialogue between our customer’s engineers and our Enlight Centre, whenever assistance is needed,” explains Leopold. “With the commencement of the annual subscriptions to the SKF Observer Cloud and the Enlight Centre in February 2020, the mine has become one of the largest users of SKF’s Enlight Centre and Observer Cloud,” concludes Leopold.
SKF’s team of skilled technicians will be providing the mine with technical training on the IMx-16 and IMx-1 in August 2022. The correct use of the two monitoring systems by trained personnel will deliver best results and ensure asset optimisation.