Whether your crushing spread is the integral link for a mining operation, producing road gravel for the local municipality, or making plant mix for a highways project, extended downtime due to a lack of parts inventory is a profit killer!
At a recent training seminar at the ELRUS branch in Leduc, AB, participants were asked to list their single biggest challenge or problem in regard to their conveyors.
Many operators have a conflicted relationship with screen boxes.
Let me clarify: most operations would love to see more screening capacity and uptime from their screen box, but are loath to spend time working on and inside of one.
The winter freeze hit Western Canada at the end of October – a month earlier than the previous two years. This means that your gear has been subjected to an additional month of wear and tear while operating at the extremes of winter.
Despite their shortcomings, the haul trucks keep rolling.
But more and more, we are seeing the dollar savvy operator switching from trucks to using conveyors and stackers for stockpiling their aggregate material.
How important is this? Seems like a simple question, but it is one that doesn’t get asked or expressed often enough.
I have long said that the North American Aggregate and Mining industry is the ultimate setting for the Ford vs. Chevy debate; both literally and figuratively.
Literally speaking, I have not been on many jobsites where some attempt wasn’t made to goad me into the age old debate. This despite the fact that I was driving a company truck, for me when I was handed the keys to my 2010 F150 it didn’t cross my mind to ask for a Silverado instead. Regardless, I was expected to defend my choice of driving a Ford to anyone that preferred Chev’s. About the time I figured out how to side step this debate without insulting the Ford or Chev supporter, just to complicate things, Dodge guy showed up.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful”.
Sadly there’s no fire in this song, just cold wind, blowing snow, hard conveyor rubber, thick oil, frozen chutes and a cranky ground man holding a frozen shovel that makes you nervous every time he looks in your direction. Nothing to fear though, he’s just fondly remembering years past where the onslaught of winter meant four months of X-Box and DVD’s while he waited for the thawing winds of Spring, so he could return to work.
Downtime, the mere mention of it makes wallets slam shut and sends shivers down the spine. It’s a dirty word that is talked about endlessly; it’s the main topic of discussion at meetings and continuous improvement programs everywhere.
Downtime affects all areas and levels of business; it’s like a plague, an incurable disease and an endless source of torment that manufacturers, consultants and practitioners of long forgotten and mysterious dark arts all promise to help you reduce so you can increase production, operate more efficiently, be more profitable and sleep better at night. You would think that something that carries such a heavy weight to attract so much attention would eventually get solved, but the source of downtime can be so far reaching and difficult to assess that it is almost impossible to get a handle on.