Image: RCM project: Long haul truck reliability centered maintenance

Minerals & Metals3 min read

RCM project: Long haul truck reliability centered maintenance

Nunavut, Canada
Agnico Eagle
2022 (6-month duration)

For the last three years, Ausenco’s asset optimization team has been working collaboratively with Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mobile maintenance department.

The client’s Long-Haul Truck (LHT) fleet was designed and customized to fulfill their specific needs and extreme operating conditions. Over time, many activities have been added to the original preventive maintenance program without successfully reducing the failure rate. These results demonstrated the need to evaluate and improve our preventive maintenance efficiency using Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) techniques and leadership. For instance, when compared to other hauling fleets, scheduled downtime was up to 4% higher, and workload was 15% higher. However, this resulted in a failure rate that remained comparatively ~43% higher. Also unplanned downtime was ~2% higher, causing this fleet to become a bottleneck for the operations.

Agnico Eagle retained Ausenco in 2022 to complete RCM on this fleet. The RCM involved looking at strategies to preserve the functionality of their trucks, classifying/identifying where failures occurred, prioritizing the failures, and selected the most effective maintenance tasks for the failures ranked highest in importance.

We composed a team of subject matter experts to help with implementing the maintenance improvements. These included technical advisors, reliability specialists, field technicians, managers and supervisors and project support staff. Working together, our team delivered the following scope of work:

  1. Identifying, investigating and defining failures: We looked into component failures to investigate causes and the proper reliability response. Using our proprietary software Orien, our team built a component hierarchy to document all failures.
  2. Measure and analyze: The failures were then documented into a component hierarchy (more than 28,000 work orders and 44,000 parts transactions). We then classified failure downtime, identified the bad actors and instances of over-maintenance.
  3. Implementation of improvements to improve the performance of bad actors and reduce over-maintenance. Our team also looked at optimizing maintenance tasks and intervals and improving the process for work orders.
  4. Implementation of control measures: We defined KPIs with Agnico Eagle to evaluate performance, developed an annual resource plan, and proposed future improvements.

The challenge

As with many organizations, defining and recording the failure mode of components is not always easy to track. In addition, as the LHT was customized with components from multiple manufacturers, there were not many benchmarks comparisons available.

To meet this challenge, our team used the large amount of data available, focusing on the prioritized bad actors by reviewing field technician comments. This allowed us to confirm the main failures more accurately. In some cases, even using available local temperature history helped to correlate assumptions due to the harsh conditions on components failure rates and to confirm the most appropriate action to be taken.

Outcomes and achievements

Working closely with Agnico-Eagle to execute the reliability centered maintenance, we were able to achieve:

  • Reduced downtime
    • Availability gain of 2.9% for LHT fleet
    • Estimated 8,000h/y reduction in equipment downtime
    • Provided an option that was equivalent to parking one unit to achieve cost savings
  • Reduced workload
    • 14,000h preventive maintenance workload reduction (440h/unit)
  • Parts & lubes
    • Consumption reduction of $220K/year
    • Improved drain intervals
    • Engine manufacturer Cummins approved longer oil change intervals without risk of engine reliability, based on an ongoing oil analysis project

Our team is proud to have played a part in finding a sustainable solution that conserved resources (fuel, reduced emissions, etc.) for our client.

This project has shown that RCM is very beneficial in improving the performance of mobile assets. Following this project, other fleet project maintenance programs are undergoing consideration by Agnico Eagle to be optimized with the same RCM approach. Utilization of tools and methods such as the SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) will also be used to further reduce equipment preventive maintenance downtime, with a focus on achieving equipment reliability and worker safety.