Operations and Maint Session: Preventing Million Dollar Problems: Why Routine Inspections of Automated Lube Systems Matter

  • Session: Operations and Maintenance
  • Tuesday, September 11, 2018
  • 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Automated lubrication systems are required for optimal performance and longevity of mining equipment. These systems ensure that lubricants are delivered in the proper amounts, at the proper times, to multiple places on these machines. However, if the systems are not also properly inspected and maintained, the cost of component failure can far exceed planned maintenance costs. A disciplined, ongoing inspection and maintenance schedule can save mining companies hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in excess lubricant costs. These inspections can also help avoid downtime by identifying components that need replacement before a catastrophic failure occurs. One such inspection, during the coldest winter months in the winter, it was found a cracked tooth in the crowd bull gear of an electric rope shovel. Identifying the problem, replacing the gear before it failed, and repairing the automated system to ensure grease flowed properly to the gear saved almost $900,000. This paper will examine the fundamentals of automated lubricant systems, including critical components and their function, design features and improvements, along with grease properties and limitations. It also will focus on how-to inspect critical areas of the system, how to spot signs of problems, and how to ensure that components are receiving proper lubrication.