Recognising the importance of mobile equipment uptime, a leading South African coal miner has renewed its man-on-site maintenance contract with Booyco Engineering. This ensures the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems on the surface mining equipment is kept in optimal condition, so operators can always work in comfortable conditions as required by law.
According to Booyco Engineering MD Brenton Spies, the performance of HVAC systems is operationally and legally critical for companies wanting to optimise their uptime and production levels. Regular maintenance by specialised technicians can make sure that mobile equipment owners can achieve this vital goal, says Spies.
“The conditions on many South African mines are demanding – especially the variations in temperature and the high levels of dust,” he says. “For this reason, the law requires that working conditions do not present any physical hazards to operators – including extreme temperatures.”
He highlights that underperforming HVAC equipment can result in a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act – as driver cabs have extensive window space for improved visibility. This exposes operators to considerable heat in summer, he explains, and cold in winter – as the windows provide little insulation from ambient temperatures outside.
“Our man-on-site contract with this surface coal mining operation gives the customer three of our trained and experienced technicians – with vehicles – who work on the mine site to ensure ongoing maintenance is conducted,” says Spies. “This includes maintenance of the equipment’s air conditioners at intervals of 500 hours, 1 000 hours, 2 000 hours and 4 000 hours.”
Regular cleaning of HVAC systems is also important, as mines are dusty environments where these installations can be quickly blocked up by fine particles. Cleaning ensures not only better machine uptime, but also prolongs the lifespan of the HVAC system.
“In addition to the valuable preventative maintenance that the man-on-site arrangement allows, the technicians can also attend to any unexpected HVAC breakdowns on production equipment,” he explains. “To comply with strict health and safety regulations on mines, these technicians have passed all the mine’s medical requirements and have pit licences to drive their vehicles to where they are required – without undue delay.”
The technicians on the contract have more than 15 years of collective experience with the company, and are equipped with necessary Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Academy (ACRA) accreditations, as well as being certified for the safe handling of gases. They are also provided with the lifecycle analysis of each component in the HVAC systems on site, to enhance the impact and efficiency of their work.
“By having a specialist on site, a mine has someone who can focus on the HVAC aspects of the mission critical mobile equipment,” concludes Spies. “This allows the mine to focus on the business of mining.”