Cost of Downtime When Machinery Breaks Down in the Mining Industry

Cost of Downtime When Machinery Breaks Down in the Mining Industry

In any business, time is money. This is why downtime caused by equipment failure and breakdown can result in hundreds and thousands of profit loss. Mining companies, for instance, rely on heavy machinery and equipment to keep their operations going. But what if machinery breaks down? How much is lost and what can be done to prevent this issue?

Our bolt tension and torque measurement experts at Boltstress Ultrasonics discuss the cost of downtime caused by machine failure in the mining industry and the steps you can take to avoid this financial concern from wreaking havoc to your business.

Downtime Cost in a Mining Industry

To ensure the high efficiency and enhanced the productivity of your business, you need to check the performance and quality of your machinery. Failure to keep your equipment in check or the continuous usage of a piece of mining equipment that is already malfunctioning will only make the problem worse.

According to experts, a typical cost of downtime in mining companies can average at about $180,000. This is the cost per incident. If left unaddressed or the issue persists on a regular basis, the total cost of downtime for a year can amount to $10 billion. The amount can go higher or lower depending on the type of equipment that broke down, as well as the size of the company and the number of machines that failed, malfunctioned, or is no longer operational.

In addition to this amount, it is also possible to lose profit based on the lost production time. Mining companies may sustain a loss of $3,000 per hour for every equipment failure incident. This may result to as much as 60 hours of total downtime, which includes the actual shutdown of the equipment plus repair.

Prevention is Better Than Cure - Tips to Combat Unexpected Downtime in a Mining Company

Considering the massive expense that comes with downtime in the mining industry, it is important to take into account these tips and tricks to prevent unplanned downtime in the company. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Ensure a comprehensive, regular maintenance of machinery.

    Once a problem with the machinery arises, you have nothing left to do but suffer the monetary consequences of not keeping it well-maintained. We recommend that to prevent massive blows to your profit, it is a smart move to inspect and maintain the operation and performance of your machinery. Check the bearings and all the other major parts to see if these are properly lubricated, no missing pieces, no loose connections, or no cracks present. Investing in ultrasonic testing is particularly effective in testing for flaws and corrosion in components of machinery such as crushers, boilers, and gears in the mining industry.

  2. Maintain a comprehensive record of maintenance.

    Keep a record of the detailed cost of breakdown as well as the other expenses including when the machine was repaired or the parts were replaced. By doing so, you can determine the next schedule for inspection and maintenance while monitoring the equipment's wear rate, thus preventing repairs and breakdowns that are unplanned and astronomical.

  3. Set up a predictive plan.

    As your equipment in the mining company is your operation's life and blood, it is only wise that you have a plan that will prevent the failure rate from increasing. Since 47 percent of all machinery breakdown is triggered by belt drive and hydraulic power failures, it is best that you establish a plan. This plan of action includes regular testing and maintenance of machinery, monitoring the wear rate, etc. It's also important that your mining business has engineers who have taken and passed a NDT course. NDT courses can help your engineers assess a range of physical and functional properties of mining machinery, be it a component or a unit of equipment.

Machinery Breakdown and Wear and Tear

Downtimes are indeed very expensive and an unnecessary use of time. But the good thing is that this can be addressed and remedied accordingly. Simply set up a plan in your company to perform condition monitoring, continuous improvement, analysis of the source of the problem, asset management, and elimination of defects in the unit. These all help in preventing expensive machinery breakdown that can cost you an easy loss of several thousand dollars per hour while suffering the costly expense of getting your machinery repaired or even repaired in certain scenarios.

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