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Despite many industries confirming the usefulness of lubricants for their daily operations, it is currently estimated that less than 10% of mining companies realize the benefits and savings that effective lubrication can have on their industry.
In fact, within North America alone, it is estimated that the mining industry in this region could save up to $29.1 million USD each year if lubricants were better utilized. This article will discuss the advantages associated with the widespread application of lubricants within the mining industry, as well as which companies currently offer some of the most promising lubrication services.
The Benefits of Lubrication
A recent study found that over the last three years, approximately 96% of mining companies reported unplanned equipment shutdowns, many of which were due to the incorrect selection or management of their lubricants. These shutdowns resulted in 40% of these companies incurring costs of at least $250,000 USD. Aside from saving costs, the incorporation of lubrication systems into mining equipment can also allow companies to keep up with the speed and various other demands of their daily activities.
Modern mining equipment, such as rock drills, front-end loaders and hydraulic shovels, can be massive in size in order to achieve consistent production on a daily basis. As the sizes and capabilities of mining equipment continue to expand and advance, it is imperative that they are specifically engineered to include lubricant systems that will sustain these machines.
Centralized Lubrication Systems
Many of the lubrication systems that have been incorporated into mining machinery are centralized and computerized systems that dispense the appropriate lubricant as needed. A typical lubrication system will be comprised of a grease pump, a motor that drives the action of this pump and some type of injector valve that is used to measure the volume of the lubricant prior to its expulsion. The lubrication replenishment cycle for these centralized systems is typically managed by a programmable logic controller (PLC).
Mining Lubricant Products
Aside from centralized lubrication systems, the types of lubricant products that are often incorporated into mining equipment can be categorized as heavy-duty, multipurpose and general-purpose lubricants. Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants offers the mining industry with a wide variety of heavy-duty lubricants that have demonstrated their capabilities of extending the working time of mining equipment for several hours. Furthermore, Schaeffer’s lubricants create a durable shield between the machinery and any type of contaminant or harsh environmental condition that would otherwise generate heat, friction and/or wear against the equipment. In addition to reducing equipment downtime, many manufacturers utilizing Schaeffer lubricants have found that these products maintain pumpability for extended periods, thereby providing these companies with significant cost savings in terms of fuel consumption.
Exxon Mobil also offers a variety of uniquely formulated industrial mining lubricants that have been tested to withstand the harshest environmental conditions that can arise within the mine. Some of the mining lubricant products offered by Exxon Mobil include diesel engine oils, series gear and circulating oils, air compressor oils, multipurpose gear and axle lubricants and much more. Each of the Exxon Mobile mining lubricants have been found to increase the productivity and efficiency of mining operations, while simultaneously eliminating any potential environmental hazard that could occur during their use.
Clearly, the benefits of incorporating specialized lubricants into mining equipment outweigh the costs and time lost associated with machinery malfunctions. In an effort to ensure that all mining equipment is maintained to the highest standard, it is imperative for the companies within this industry to integrate the knowledge of lubrication engineers into the planning and management of daily mining operations.