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Production Loss Analysis in a Copper Concentrator Plant

Nov 12, 2022

Production Loss Analysis in a Copper Concentrator Plant

At RMES Analytics, we had the opportunity to work with a mining company that was facing difficulties in understanding the causes of throughput losses in their concentrator plant. The corporate head of Asset Management and Operational Excellence recognized the issue and reached out to RMES Analytics to support their team in improving performance analysis.

Our team discovered that, while the reliability team recorded equipment stoppages that impacted SAG line utilization, stoppages from secondary equipment were only considered as cause descriptions for throughput variations. This lack of clarity about the process’s bottlenecks and the impact of secondary equipment on production was hindering the team’s ability to make informed decisions.

To address this, we suggested using RMES Suite’s systemic analysis capabilities and fine-tuned a digital model of the process. This included modeling equipment interdependencies, flows, buffers, and capacities. During this process, we discovered that Maintenance was recommending the use of all existing pebble crushers, instead of keeping one machine as a stand-by. Our model analysis supported this hypothesis, showing a potential increase of 9% in the process’s maximum throughput.

After calibrating the model, the reliability team was able to use RMES Suite in its daily meetings, accurately identifying the process’s bottlenecks and their drivers. This allowed for improvement initiatives to be aligned with throughput increases, including optimizing maintenance plans, targeting failure mode improvements, and increasing coordination with Operations. As a result, the discussion shifted from focusing on individual bad performers to addressing the bottlenecks that had the most impact on throughput.

We proposed systemic availability and utilization as key measures to track asset performance. These indicators aligned with the process’s OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), giving visibility to the direct and indirect effects of asset performance. After a year of working towards bottleneck elimination initiatives, the mining company team increased systemic availability by 3pp. Our work demonstrates the value of leveraging digital tools to improve production outcomes and drive value for businesses.

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Production loss analysis in a concentrator plant

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