Isaac Plains Maintenance Improvements

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  • CommodityCoal
  • LocationMoranbah, Queensland, Australia
  • Business lineOperations and Maintenance
  • ClientIsaac Plains Coal Management (IPCM)
  • Timeframe2008 - 2014
  • ServiceProgram management

Ausenco assumed responsibility of the operations and maintenance of the Isaac Plains Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) in 2008 from an existing provider, taking on full responsibility from Run Of Mine (ROM) to train load out. 

In order to commence operation of the plant Ausenco firstly had to finalise commissioning of the CHPP. During this process we identified a number of bottlenecks which prevented the plant from reaching its design capacity and anticipated production targets. A design review revealed that the crusher equipment was undersized resulting in frequent break downs. The operations and maintenance team assisted with the upgrade of the secondary sizer, allowing name plate throughput to be achieved in terms of tonnes per hour and equipment availability.

In addition, the operations and maintenance team identified performance issues with the teetered bed separator and subsequent modification to the teetered bed separator resulted in 2% yield improvement. Within six months from commencement we achieved full name plate production for the entire plant.

This enabled us to convert from a cost plus to a fixed/variable cost per tonne contract arrangement linked to key performance indicators within 12 months of operation. As part of our continuous improvement program Ausenco Rylson was engaged to conduct an asset management audit.

The intent of the audit was to review existing maintenance systems, processes and practices, identify gaps against established industry benchmarks and ascertain improvement opportunities. 

As a result of this audit, we implemented a revised labour model, supply agreements and maintenance regime through which we helped IPCM attain an increased return on capital expended by achieving over 24% reduction in Operations and Maintenance services cost per tonne, with no negative impact on plant performance.

The audit focused on three key areas, Maintenance Strategy, Work Management System, including planning and scheduling, and Cost Management, with the resulting improvements outlined below.

Maintenance Strategy

  • All relevant failure modes have appropriate tasking and spares requirements identified.
  • The maintenance strategy now utilises operating statistics and Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) practices rather than calendar time for the interval frequencies between inspections and servicing.
  • Additionally, any maintenance tasks not addressing valid failure modes are identified accordingly and are removed from the maintenance strategy.
  • Online maintenance tasks were developed and implemented to facilitate completion of preventative maintenance tasks while operating.

Work Management System (WMS), including planning and scheduling

  • We developed and implemented a WMS across the site to facilitate a proactive planning and scheduling environment enabling us to better utilise labour and resources through enhanced planning and scheduling practices. This resulted in a reduction in the number of shutdowns per annum from 17 to 10, which equates to 126 hours per annum of additional operating time.
  • All primary tasks are completed by Ausenco operators/maintainers. Where contracts are utilised there now is a focus on contractor engagement through detailed scoping of contractor activities and productivity of their personnel. This is resulting in a saving of approximately $330,000 per annum.
  • The defect elimination process now utilises better data collection for effective decision making.
  • All frequently performed maintenance tasks have standard job attachments linked to that standard task within the CMMS. 

Cost Management

  • The original method of budgeting maintenance expenditure on site was based on referencing an Asset Management Plan (AMP) developed and approved in July 2008. This static document contained budgeting information on major components in the plant and had an overall picture of the cost forecast at a point in time. However, this method did not allow work to be reforecast and drove a calendar-based maintenance approach.
  • Utilising the Rylson8* software, which is a more rigorous and risk based budgeting tool enables us to control the maintenance budget spends and reforecast actual completed versus forecast activities on a monthly basis. This gives us a true picture of future maintenance events, their criticality, planning and scheduling requirements, and their associated costs.

Continued optimisation of the maintenance strategy in the Rylson8* software has resulted in the maintenance cost reductions for budgeted maintenance activities.