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Simulation of initiatives to improve mine maintenance

D. M. Louit and P. F. Knights

Poor Good
Low equipment availability, a high proportion of
unplanned maintenance and non-compliance with maintenance maintenance
preventive maintenance programmes are common
problems in the maintenance of mobile mining equip-
ment. In combination they can create a vicious circle
from which exit is difficult. Analysis of the mainte- Savings
nance performance of a mining company that operates
two gold and silver mines in the north of Chile con-
firmed the existence of these problems. A discrete
event simulation model was developed to quantify the Hidden costs
effect of various management initiatives aimed at
remedying the situation. The model indicated that Hidden costs
significant improvement can be achieved through ini-
tiatives designed to reduce the frequency of unplanned
failures and the times necessary to repair them. Two Unplanned and
initiatives of particular relevance are the elimination emergency work
Unplanned and
of breakdowns through root-cause failure analysis
(RCFA) and the development of repair standards that emergency work
detail the activities, spares, materials, tools and time
needed to effect common unplanned repairs. Preventive and
Preventive and planned
Equipment maintenance and repair costs are the largest planned maintenance
controllable costs in mining operations.1 For this reason the maintenance
development and implementation of policies designed to
improve the performance of mine maintenance should be of Planning Planning
primary importance in the management of mining companies.
The objective of maintenance is to provide the required pro-
duction capacity in a sustainable, safe and environmentally Fig. 1 Maintenance comparison. Adapted from Musgrave3
sound fashion to maximize the profitability of a company.
Poor performance of the maintenance function not only adds
to unplanned equipment downtime but also increases operat- a vicious circle from which it is difficult to exit. In addition,
ing costs and compromises the safety of mine workers. the cost of performing a repair under unplanned conditions is
Diverse authors have stated that good maintenance practice often at least double the cost of the equivalent repair under
is characterized by a high level of conformance with preventive planned and scheduled conditions.6
maintenance programmes and low levels of unplanned failures Various initiatives can be taken to improve mine mainte-
and repairs.1,2,3 Where this is not so maintenance organi- nance performance, but the success or failure of each
zations are working sub-optimally (Fig. 1). The existence of depends on a multitude of factors. The challenge is to assist
such problems in an open-pit mine in Chile owned by a group the management of the company that operates the mine in
of multinational companies is demonstrated in the work pre- question to determine which of these initiatives will be most
sented here. The principal problem is a high incidence of beneficial and what results can be expected. The present
unplanned maintenance work, which affects the productive study attempts to facilitate such a decision between compet-
capacity of the mine. ing alternatives by simulating the effect of various initiatives
A mine maintenance department has a limited quantity of on the maintenance function of Compaia Minera Mantos de
resources that must be shared between unplanned mainte- Oro (MDO), which operates the La Coipa goldsilver mine
nance (firefighting) and planned maintenance (including near the city of Copiap in northern Chile. The period of the
programmed, preventive and predictive work). If the level of study coincided with the simultaneous exploitation by MDO
unplanned work increases, planned maintenance work must of the Chimberos silver deposit, located some 37 km north-
be rescheduled and delayed. If preventive maintenance east of the Coipa pit.
services (PM) are postponed, the probability of equipment A discrete simulation model was constructed to represent
breakdowns increases and the maintenance system enters into the mine maintenance system. Different scenarios were gen-
erated corresponding to the different initiatives. The results
of the simulations were then compared on the basis of three
Manuscript first received by the Institution of Mining and
indices: fleet availabilities; the proportion of preventive
Metallurgy on 14 December, 1999; revised manuscript received on maintenance performed beyond the scheduled time; and the
13 September, 2000. Paper published in Trans. Instn Min. Metall. percentage of unplanned maintenance. Estimation of the cost
(Sect. A: Min. technol.), 110, JanuaryApril 2001. The Institution of implementing the various initiatives was, however, outside
of Mining and Metallurgy 2001. the scope of this study.
Table 1 Principal mining equipment operated by Mantos de Oro

Fleet Equipment Description Units

Loading Marathon Le Tourneau L-1100 Wheel-loader (leased) 1

Cat 992-C Wheel-loader 1
Cat 994 Wheel-loader 1
Pala O&K 170 Hydraulic shovel 1
Pala P&H 1900 Hydraulic shovel 2

Drill Ingersoll Rand DM-LSP 1

Ingersoll Rand DM-45 1
Tamrock 1100 1
Ingersoll Rand DM-M2 1

Haul trucks Lectra Haul Mark 30 120-t truck 11

Caterpillar 785 B 150-t truck 1
Caterpillar 785 B 150-t truck (leased) 12

Support Cat D8N Bulldozer 2

Cat D6H Bulldozer 1
Cat D10R Bulldozer 2
Cat 834B Wheeldozer 1
Cat 824C-2 Wheeldozer 1
Moto Cat 16G Motor grader 2
Moto Cat 12G Motor grader 1
Moto Cat 16H Motor grader 2
Cat 773 WT Water truck 1
Dresser Water truck 1

Diagnosis and quantification of the problem shop space); (ii) lack of spares; and (iii) operating priorities
(equipment was not available for maintenance on account of
General information production priorities).
The mines studied are in the Andean Cordillera in the inte- In many cases the reason for delays was not explicitly
rior of the 3rd Region of Atacama, north Chile. La Coipa stated in the shift reports and had to be inferred. For this the
mine is situated 200 km northeast of the city of Copiap following rationale was applied: if the equipment was parked
at an altitude of 3800 m above sea level. Ore from the up, the delay was attributed to a lack of resources; and if it
Chimberos deposit, located 40 km to the north of La Coipa was in production, the delay was put down to operating
at an altitude of 4600 m, is transported to the plant at La priorities. In general, there was no problem in determining
Coipa via a haul road that has a high point 4800 m above sea when a lack of spares delayed maintenance as this was clearly
level. stated in the shift reports.
Table 1 lists the principal mining equipment employed by
MDO. The study considered the fleet of Lectra Haul Mark Results
30 trucks but did not consider the leased fleet of 12 Table 2 shows the percentage of PM performed after the
Caterpillar 785 B haul trucks since these were subject to a scheduled date for the different equipment fleets. The figures
maintenance and repair contract with the equipment dealer. show greater compliance with the preventive maintenance
In addition, since it was surplus to production requirements, programme for the shovel, loader and drill fleetsa fact that
one of the P&H 1900 shovels was not considered in the reflects their relative importance at the mine. Table 3 lists the
analysis. In the case of the drill fleet the analysis included the average delay in operating hours.
rigs DM-LSP, DM-45 and Tamrock 1100 (for pre-splitting),
but not the DM-M2, which was being overhauled during the Table 2 Percentage of preventive maintenance services per-
period of data collection for the study. formed with delay
Methodology Fleet Percentage of preventive work
To diagnose and quantify the problem data were collected for
the period January to May, 1999. Information contained in Drill 55
the weekly maintenance reports was compared with that Loading 36
listed in the maintenance registers for each equipment. This Haul trucks 66
enabled the proportion of postponed preventive maintenance Support 62
to be estimated. In all cases in which preventive maintenance
work was postponed the duration of the delay was estimated Table 3 Average delay in performing preventive mainte-
by comparing the differences in the recorded number of oper- nance
ating hours with the programmed PM interval.
In a second stage of the diagnosis shift reports prepared by Fleet Delay, operating hours
the maintenance foremen were used to classify jobs as either
planned or unplanned. Postponed maintenance jobs were Drill 38.64
classified into three categories according to the principal Loading 42.23
reason for non-compliance with the planned maintenance Haul trucks 61.95
programme: (i) lack of maintenance resources (personnel, Support 32.28

A more detailed examination of the delays revealed the quantity of equipment available) versus the quantity of equip-
truck fleet to be the area of greatest concern, with 22% of PM ment available. Fig. 2 shows that an inverse relationship exists
delayed by 100 hours or more (to comply with the mainte- between the two parameters for the drill fleet. This tendency
nance programme PM should be undertaken at intervals of was repeated for the other equipment fleets. It can be con-
250 operating hours). Table 4 shows the proportion of cluded that, in general, operations are prepared to release
unplanned maintenance and repairs as a percentage of all equipment for preventive maintenance provided that sufficient
maintenance work performed. equipment remains available to enable production targets to
be met. The principal reason for operations to refuse to release
Table 4 Proportion of unplanned maintenance and repairs equipment for PM is the large amount of equipment that is out
of service. This out-of-service equipment consumes mainte-
Fleet Proportion of unplanned work nance resources, which, in turn, generates further delays in the
planned maintenance programme.
Drill 61.4%
Loading 48.4% Diagnosis
Haul trucks 58.0% A limited quantity of resources is available to a maintenance
Support 45.0%
department and it must be divided between planned and
preventive maintenance services and overhauls, accidents
When factors were assigned to explain the reason for the and unplanned repairs. At Mantos de Oro a number of
delayed PM the primary cause was found to be operating pri- operational accidents in the first half of 1999 consumed a
orities followed by lack of resources and, in third place, lack substantial quantity of resources that could have been
of spares. The last factor was found to have a greater effect on assigned to other maintenance tasks.
the fleet of auxiliary equipment. If programmed and preventive maintenance is not per-
formed in a timely fashion, the probability of equipment
breakdown increases, which, in turn, consumes resources and
further impedes the ability to complete planned maintenance
tasks. This creates a vicious circle (Fig. 3), which increases
operating costs. The situation is further aggravated by a lack
of spare parts and excessive delays in the repair of major com-
ponents, such as transmissions.
The challenge is to invert the feedback signs associated
with the vicious circle model, transforming it into a virtuous
circle that improves the proportion of planned maintenance
and lowers the overall cost of operation (Fig. 4). To this end
the frequency of equipment operating accidents and delays
Fig. 2 Relationship between intensity of denied PM and quantity due to lack of spare parts or major component repairs must
of equipment available (11 data points) be reduced or eliminated.

Fig. 3 Model of vicious circle

Since operating priorities were identified as the primary Initiatives to exit from the vicious circle
cause for non-compliance with PM plans, a more detailed
analysis was undertaken to distinguish between coordination Complex management problems often do not have unique
problems between maintenance and operations. Graphs were solutions. Usually, there are various alternative courses of
prepared of the intensity of PM denied (defined as the ratio of action available. The following is a brief description of initia-
number of PM not performed for operational reasons and the tives identified for exiting from the vicious circle.
Fig. 4 Virtuous circle

Maintenance benchmarking resources and include estimated completion times facilitates

Camp4 defined benchmarking as the systematic and conti- expedient planning and permits better control of variations
nuous measurement and comparison of a companys business in repair downtime. According to Tomlingson1 correctly
processes with those of the world leader to identify areas of planned repairs can be completed with 6% less downtime and
possible improvement. Benchmarking studies permit (1) the 15% less labour on average than equivalent repairs under-
establishment of realistic goals; (2) productivity improve- taken without prior planning.
ments; (3) development of new work foci; (4) early warning
of competitive disadvantages; and (5) employee motivation Increase in resources for maintenance
by demonstrating what it is possible to achieve. Since it is an Maintenance resources can be increased by contracting addi-
analysis technique intended to generate more direct initia- tional labour, constructing new workshop space or acquiring
tives, maintenance benchmarking cannot be simulated as new tools. The desirability of such improvements must be
such. Nevertheless, it is mentioned here as a valuable tool for evaluated by the company from an economic standpoint
identifying areas of potential improvement to maintenance according to whether an insufficiency of resources is deter-
processes. mined to be contributing to equipment availability problems.

Root-cause failure analysis Organizational changes

The elimination or reduction of the causes of breakdowns is a Problems can be aggravated by how work loads are assigned
process in which the experience of the mechanics, electricians within the maintenance department. Initiatives that involve
and operators of the equipment is indispensable. Root causes organizational change include revision of the duties of key
can be grouped according to whether they are associated with personnel in the maintenance department; exclusive assign-
the inspection, maintenance or operation of the equipment or ment of personnel to preventive tasks; and integration of the
the design and quality control of equipment components. This planning of production and maintenance so as to facilitate the
facilitates the determination of corrective actions designed to flow of information and take advantage of planning synergies.
eliminate the basic causes of failures. Priorities should be (To this end the management of the Candelaria copper mine
established to address those failures which are responsible for in north Chile recently concentrated all mine and mainte-
the majority of unplanned equipment downtime. Several tech- nance planners in a single work space.)
niques exist for establishing failure priorities, including Pareto
analysis and the use of log dispersion graphs.5 Incorporation of maintenance personnel into opera-
tions functions
Changes in inventory policies Greater interaction between maintenance personnel and
Planning of stocks is essential, since if spares and consumable equipment operators is facilitated by drawing the former into
requirements are not adequately defined in advance, the operations functions. A good example can be seen at the
probability of breakdowns and delays is increased. Initiatives Bagdad mine, U.S.A., where maintenance technicians are
to improve the availability of spares include analysis of com- assigned to refuel haul trucks, which leads to improvements
ponent replacement frequencies and stock levels; use of in the quality and frequency of vehicle inspections.7
predictive maintenance techniques8 to detect failures before
they occur and thus improve spare parts planning; and opera- Maintenance contracts
tor training to ensure cooperation in the prompt notification The option exists to contract out maintenance work. This
of irregularities in equipment functions. permits a mining company to focus on its core activities of
extracting and processing ore and the decision to externalize
Repair standards maintenance work thus has both strategic and economic
The establishment of standards that detail repair and mainte- aspects. An analysis is beyond the scope of the present study,
nance procedures, incorporate quantity lists of the necessary but a good discussion of the advantages and disadvantages
has been presented by Alfaro et al.8 tributions could be used to represent operating hours
between failures.
Initiatives already adopted For the purposes of the model it was necessary to adjust
Awareness of the problem spread to senior management level equipment operating hours to calendar hours. To affect this
and Mantos de Oro implemented several initiatives designed adjustment operating hour data were divided by a fleet uti-
to alleviate the vicious-circle effects detected in the diagnostic lization factor (FUF), defined as the ratio of the effective
stage of the study. These included improvement in the quan- operating time and the available operating time for all equip-
tity and quality of information contained in the monthly ment in each fleet. Mathematically this is expressed as
maintenance reports and modification of the 43 simultane-
ous shift system (four days on followed by three days rest for
both maintenance planners) to a 44 alternating system to Operating hours equipment

provide greater continuity in the planning process. FUF = (2)

Available hours equipment i
Development of the simulation model i

A discrete event simulation model, as described in the work The time between failures (TBF) can then be calculated as
of Banks and co-workers,9 was developed for the MDO
maintenance system. The principal stages in the development OHBF (3)
of the model are outlined below. FUF

Data collection Like the operating hour distributions the TBF data are log-
Maintenance data from monthly mine maintenance reports, normally distributed, as illustrated in Fig. 6.
weekly maintenance schedules and equipment history regis-
ters were collected and analysed for the six-month period
JanuaryJune, 1999. Statistical distributions were determined
for the time between mechanical failures (including welding
repairs), the time between electrical failures, the operational
accident frequency, the time between successive PM, repair
and maintenance times (for both breakdowns and PM), the
probability of lack of spares and associated delays, the proba-
bility of major component repairs and associated delays and
the number of labour hours per repair.

Time between failures

The monthly maintenance reports detail equipment oper-
ating hours and the number and type of unplanned
interventions. Division of these two quantities enables an esti- Fig. 6 Frequency distribution of ln(TBF) for mechanical failures,
haul-truck fleet
mation of the mean monthly operating hours between failures
(OHBF), where
The Weibull distribution is also commonly used to model
OH month i the time between failures for mechanical components.10 To
OHBF = (1) test this proposition Weibull distributions were fitted to the
Number of breakdowns month i
TBF data for mechanical breakdowns with use of the three-
parameter Weibull function (see Appendix).
This calculation was carried out for the mechanical failures of Fig. 7 shows a Weibull distribution fitted to the TBF data
all equipment in each fleet. Frequency distribution graphs for the mines truck fleet. In this case a linear regression fitted
were plotted for OHBF as a function of discrete time inter- to the data returned a correlation coefficient of 92.94%.
vals. These graphs showed a clear bias towards the origin,
typical of lognormal distributions (Fig. 5). Replotting of the
frequency distribution graphs against the natural logarithm of
the OHBF data confirmed the hypothesis that lognormal dis-

Fig. 5 Frequency distribution of operating hours between mechan- Fig. 7 Weibull distribution fitted to time between mechanical
ical failures, haul-truck fleet failures, haul-truck fleet

Greater correlation coefficients were obtained for the other
equipment fleets. In the case of electrical breakdowns the
normal distribution was used to model the distribution of
time between failures.

Time between accidents

The occurrence of operating accidents is random in nature,
which justifies the assumption of a normal distribution for
time between accidents. In accordance with the mines his-
tory of operational accidents the simulation model considered
only accidents affecting the haul-truck fleet and the two water Fig. 9 Relation between labour hours (LH) per repair and repair
trucks (auxiliary equipment). times, haul-truck fleet

Time between successive PM

Preventive maintenance is performed every 250 operating combination of a linear regression with TTR and a randomly
hours on Mantos de Oros equipment fleet. Once again, it is distributed variable. The latter variable is normally distri-
necessary to divide these time intervals by the fleet utilization buted and has a standard deviation that increases linearly
factors. with respect to TTR at the same rate as the regression model.
Conceptually, this process is illustrated in Fig. 10. The rela-
Repair times tionship between labour hours and TTR can be written as
The frequency distributions of the repair times had similar
shapes to those of the time-between-failure data for mechani-
cal breakdowns. Bell curves obtained from graphs of the (
LH = a TTR + Vs x + c ) (4)
repair frequencies and the natural logarithm of the repair
times again confirmed the applicability of lognormal distribu- where a and c are the coefficients obtained from a linear
tions. In some cases two distinct distributions were observed
for the repair time data. This can be explained by the exis-
tence of two distinct classes of failure modes that require
different repair times. A good example of this can be seen in
Fig. 8, which represents time-to-repair (TTR) data for the
mechanical breakdowns of the loading fleet. In this case, in
addition to determination of the mean and standard devia-
tions for each bell curve, the probability of occurrence of each
class of failure modes was determined by establishing the pro-
portion of repairs in each bell curve.

Fig. 10 Schematic of modelling concept for random component of

distribution of labour hours

regression of the two variables. In the case of Fig. 10 a =

1.361 and c = 0.9914. Vsx is a normally distributed random
variable with a mean equal to zero and standard deviation, s,
obtained from the distribution of the variable [(LH c)/a
Fig. 8 Distribution of repair times, loading fleet TTR]. Fig. 11 shows a plot of this variable for the loading

Spare-part delays and major component repairs

It was assumed that all delays that arose from obtaining spare
parts and repairing major components were associated with
mechanical repairs, which was true of all the cases observed
during the period of data collection. The probability of a
delay occurring was calculated by dividing the number of
cases observed by the total number of mechanical repairs. To
estimate the associated delays a uniform distribution was
assumed with minimum and maximum limits defined,
respectively, by the minimum and maximum observed delays.

Labour hours
Graphs of the labour hours necessary to effect a repair versus
TTR for both mechanical and electrical repairs enabled a
relationship between these two variables to be established
(see Fig. 9). Labour hours per repair were modelled as the Fig. 11 Distribution of Vs , loading fleet

fleet. It can be seen clearly that the variable is normally dis- version of AWESIM was not, however, available and the
tributed with a mean very close to zero. This situation was model was constructed with a student version (release 1.4) of
found to be repeated for the other equipment fleets. The the software, which presented two restrictions: the maximum
resources allocated to each equipment fleet and the quantity number of concurrent entities in the system could not exceed
of personnel required for each type of work (number of 300; and the maximum number of nodes (elements) that
mechanics, electricians and workshop space) were assigned make the logic network of the model could not exceed 200.
according to actual company practices. These restrictions meant that it was not possible to develop
a single model capable of considering the status of all the
Model logic development mines equipment simultaneously. Instead, four independent
models were developed by grouping the fleets according to
The simulation model was constructed by using the special- the assigned resources (mechanics, electricians and workshop
ized discrete event simulation language Visual SLAM and the space): model A, drills, wheel-loaders and shovels; model B,
software development tool AWESIM, which is compatible haul trucks; model C, bulldozers and water trucks; and model
with MS Windows 95 and later versions. The professional D, graders. The models simulate the occurrence of preventive

Fig. 12 Basic logical structure of simulation models

maintenance and unplanned mechanical and electrical Mean fleet availability =
failures as well as the repair times and resources necessary to
return equipment to operational status. They were designed
in such a way that combining them would not present prob-
lems in the future should the professional version of the
Nominal hours - Downtime
i (5)

software become available. The software presented some

incongruencies with respect to the use of the Weibull distrib-
Nominal hours

ution and permitted the use of two-parameter Weibull

distributions only. For this reason lognormal distributions where Nominal hoursi and Downtimei are the nominal hours
were used to model time between failures. and downtime associated with the ith piece of equipment of
All four models were developed using the same logic struc- each fleet. The period from January to June, 1999, comprised
ture, which consisted of three clearly defined stages (Fig. 12). 4344 nominal hours per piece of equipment.
(1) Generation of maintenance work In the first stage, by use Table 5 compares the actual and simulated availabilities
of the established TBF distributions, all maintenance events for each fleet. It can be seen from this table that the maxi-
were generated for each fleet, including mechanical failures, mum error obtained was 3.40%, from which it is reasonable
electrical failures, accidents and preventive maintenance. to conclude that the models are valid.
(2) Filter and assign repair times A logic filter was applied to
the events generated in stage (1) so that equipment could not Table 5 Validation of models
suffer failures while under repair in the workshop. The filter
eliminates all events generated during equipment mainte- Fleet(s) Mean availability, %
nance. Preventive maintenance work is excluded from the Real Simulation Error
filter since it is possible to carry out a PM opportunistically
when equipment is in the workshop for an unplanned repair. Drill and loading* 78.86 82.17 3.31
The second function of this stage of the model was to assign Haul trucks 62.85 66.25 3.40
Bull/wheel-dozers, water trucks* 61.17 58.85 2.82
probabilities for delays due to a lack of spare parts or major
Motor graders 72.42 74.02 1.60
repairs as well as simulate repair times for each maintenance
event. *In two-fleet models the real values were calculated by weighting
(3) Mine workshop In the third stage resources were assigned each fleets availability by the quantity of equipment.
to each event on the basis of available mechanics, electricians
and workshop space; the labour hours necessary to complete
each event were simulated; and job statistics were compiled Experimental design
before the elimination of events from the system. Once the models had been validated a suitable time interval
had to be established for each simulation run. To determine
Model validation this ten simulations of the models were run for various time
Once the parameter data and logical structure of each model intervals to analysis convergence trends. Fig. 13 shows such a
had been correctly programmed and executed each model graph obtained for the fleet of drills and loading equipment.
was validated by comparing actual mean fleet availabilities It can be seen that the mean fleet availability increased from
with the simulated values. The simulated mean availabilities 3000 to 4000 h, whereafter it remained relatively stable.
were obtained by averaging the results from ten independent Interestingly, convergence of results does not occur at greater
simulations. Mean fleet availability is defined as the fraction simulation intervals; the minimum variance is observed at
of nominal calendar hours in which the equipment is physi- 4000 h. A similar trend was observed for the other models,
cally available to operate: which is thought to be due to the influence of the accidents
and delays attributable to spare parts and major repairs. As a

Fig. 13 Determination of optimum length for simulation runs

result of the analysis 4000 h was selected as the optimum Simulation of initiatives
interval over which to simulate results. Table 7 lists the initiatives that were simulated, the principal
The effectiveness of each initiative was measured princi- parameters affected by each initiative and estimates of the
pally as a function of the variation in the mean fleet magnitude of the changes effected. As previously discussed,
availability in relation to the base case. The base case was maintenance benchmarking was not simulated since it is an
defined as the average of 100 independent simulations for analysis technique intended to generate a series of more
each model, each of 4000-h duration. By dividing these runs direct initiatives.
into groups of ten simulations it is possible to establish an
estimate of the error associated with the use of a sample of ten Results
simulations. To reduce the amount of work needed for the Table 8 shows the mean fleet availabilities obtained from the
analysis initiatives were evaluated on the basis of mean avail- simulation models for each initiative. It can be concluded
abilities obtained from ten simulations. Table 6 shows the that for the drill, shovel, wheel-loader and haul-truck fleets
base-case simulations. The errors associated with each model the most effective initiatives are elimination of breakdowns
mean that the models do not provide discrete values for fleet through root-cause failure analysis and shortening of repair
availability estimates, but rather a range of possible values. times through development of work standards for unplanned
repairs. The model also shows that for the loader, drill and
haul-truck fleets additional work bays would improve
Table 6 Base-case simulations availability.
The most effective initiative for the auxiliary equipment
Model A B C D
fleet is the adoption of policies designed to reduce delays
Drill, Haul Dozers, Motor
loading trucks w. trucks graders
associated with the lack of spare parts. Following this, root-
cause failure analysis and the introduction of repair standards
Mean availability, % will also yield benefits. The model also indicated that the
Value 82.66 69.97 64.29 67.64 work load for this fleet exceeds the capacity of the labour
Error 2.33 3.43 3.18 5.44 currently assigned to the fleet, for which contracting addi-
tional mechanics may bring a benefit.
Unplanned work, % It should be noted that in respect of the recommendation to
Value 66.96 65.47 67.46 58.58 increase maintenance resources the models are not conclusive.
Error 1.93 2.37 3.45 4.23 This is because four separate models were constructed that
limit the free flow of resources between equipment fleets. It is
PM presenting delays, %
Value 23.07 70.11 67.69 47.26
advisable to verify some of the tendencies observed (especially
Error 6.81 4.65 5.29 8.40 the downtime due to haul trucks waiting for maintenance
bays) before actions are implemented.

Table 7 Initiatives simulated and parameters affected

Initiatives Affected distribution(s) Variation(s)

Primary (increased resources)

(A) Increase labour (hire workers) Available resources Mechanics: +1; +2
Electricians: +1
(B) Shop construction Available resources Bays: +3*

Secondary (consequential benefits)

(C) Root-cause failure analysis Time between failures : +10%; +20%
s: 0%
(D) Changes in inventory policies Probability of shortage of spares Prob.: 50%
Delay due to shortage of spares Delay: 50%
(E) Incorporation of maintenance Time between failures : +2%
personnel in operations functions s: 0%
Available resources Hiring workers
(F) Increase operating safety standards Time between major accidents : +100%
s: +100%
(G) Develop PM standards Downtime associated with 6 h: 0%
PM inspections 12 h: decreases to 10 h
24 h: decreases to 20 h
(H) Repair standards Repair times : 10%; 20%
s: 25%
(I) Organizational changes Available resources Exclusive dedication of
workers to PM programme#

and s refer to variations in, respectively, the mean and standard deviation of the affected distribution.
*It is not reasonable to construct a new shop with fewer than three work bays.
Workers hired for this objective would not perform other duties within the maintenance organization,
thus labour available at the shop would not suffer any variations.
The variation of the standard deviation is due to the construction methodology for these distributions.
It is assumed that a 250 operating-hour inspection cannot be performed in less than 6 h.
Variability of repair times should decrease when using clearly defined job standards.
#The number of workers is equivalent to the minimum of 10% of the total labour force assigned to a
particular fleet and the number of workers required to perform an inspection.

Table 8 Results measured as variations of mean availability, per initiative

Initiative* Variation of mean availability, %

Model A Model B Model C Model D
Drill/ Haul Dozers/ Motor
loading trucks w. trucks graders
2.33 3.43 3.18 5.44

Primary (increased resources)

(A1) Hire 1 mechanic 3.17 (+) 1.83 (+) 7.09 (+) 8.15 (+)
(A2) Hire 2 mechanics 3.17 (+) 1.83 (+) 17.9 (+) 18.36 (+)
(A3) Hire 1 mechanic, 1 electrician 3.90 (+) 1.83 (+) 7.31 (+) 8.26 (+)
(A4) Hire 2 mechanics, 1 electrician 3.90 (+) 1.83 (+) 18.1 (+) 18.40 (+)
(B1) Build 1 additional bay at shop 6.60 (+) 16.73 (+) 4.57 (+) 4.89 (+)
(B2) Build 2 additional bays at shop 6.83 (+) 19.14 (+) 4.57 (+) 4.89 (+)
(B3) Build 3 additional bays at shop 6.85 (+) 20.28 (+) 4.57 (+) 4.89 (+)

Secondary (consequential benefits)

(C1) 10% increase of mean time between failures 3.97 (+) 12.35 (+) 11.3 (+) 8.12 (+)
(C2) 20% increase of mean time between failures 4.50 (+) 15.11 (+) 12.7 (+) 14.50 (+)
(D1) 50% decrease in probability of shortage of spares 0.37 (+) 2.88 (+) 4.19 (+) 5.46 (+)
(D2) 50% decrease in delays due to shortage of spares 0.78 (+) 2.48 (+) 12.5 (+) 8.23 (+)
(D3) Initiatives D1 and D2 together 0.36 (+) 4.79 (+) 12.9 (+) 10.46 (+)
(E) 2% increase of mean time between failures 0.88 (+) 4.86 (+) 9.8 (+) 0.65 (+)
(F) 100% increase of mean time between major accidents Not applied 3.91 (+) 7.71 (+) Not applied
(G) Decrease in downtimes associated with preventive inspections 4.69 (+) 0.74 (+) 4.48 (+) 9.15 (+)
(H1) 10% decrease of repair times and 25% decrease of their standard deviation 0.32 (+) 11.80 (+) 6.76 (+) 12.52 (+)
(H2) 20% decrease of repair times and 25% decrease of their standard deviation 4.81 (+) 18.34 (+) 10.1 (+) 14.11 (+)
(I) Exclusive dedication of mechanics to PM programme 3.78 (+) 1.42 ()

(+) Indicates increase of mean availability; () indicates decrease of mean availability.

*Only the modified parameters related to each initiative are indicated in this table. Each initiative is listed in Table 7.
Error (from Table 6).
Availability drops drastically to values near zero; thus, this initiative is not applicable to these fleets.

Conclusions Acknowledgement

The following conclusions were drawn from the diagnostic The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Compaia
phase of the study. Minera Mantos de Oro. In particular, thanks are expressed to
(1) The mine maintenance system currently exhibits high Carlos Pizzaro, operations manager, Juan Lpez, mine main-
levels of unplanned repairs and non-compliance with preven- tenance manager, and Csar Banciella, maintenance engineer
tive maintenance schedules typical of a vicious circle. at La Coipa mine.
(2) This situation is accentuated by the occurrence of oper-
ating accidents, a lack of available spare parts and excessive References
1. Tomlingson P. Mine maintenance management, 9th edn
delays in repair to major components (especially in the case of
(Dubuque, Io., U.S.A.: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1994).
auxiliary equipment). 2. Hartmann E. Productividad de mantenimiento Cmo
(3) The frequent complaint by maintenance personnel that mejorarla?. Notes from Seminario Internacional en Gestin de
operations refuse to release equipment for PM cannot be jus- Mantencin Efectiva, presented by CIDES Capacitacin
tified. The study indicates that refusal to release equipment Empresarial, Santiago, Chile, 1994.
3. Musgrave K. Managing maintenance in the 21st century. CIM
for PM on the part of operations is a direct function of the Bull., 90, no. 1014, 1997, 613.
quantity of equipment available. 4. Camp R. Benchmarking: the search for the industry best practice that
In the simulation of initiatives for exiting from the vicious leads to superior performance (Milwaukee:Quality Press, 1989).
circle the following findings were made 5. Knights P. Analysing breakdowns. Min. Mag., Lond., 181, no. 3,
(4) For the drill, shovel, wheel-loader and haul-truck fleets 1999, 16571.
6. Moubray J. Reliability centered maintenance, 2nd edn (New York:
the most effective initiatives are elimination of breakdowns Industrial Press Inc., 1997).
through root-cause failure analysis and the reduction of repair 7. Chadwick J. Bagdad battles. Min. Mag., Lond., 180, no. 4, 1999,
times through the development of work standards for 18890.
unplanned repairs. 8. Alfaro V., Hanton R. and Feeney I. Servicios mineros integrales
en la minera Chilena. In 49a Convencin Instituto de Ingenieros de
(5) For the auxiliary equipment fleet the most effective Minas de Chile, Marbella, Chile, vol. 1 (Santiago: Instituto de
initiative is the adoption of policies designed to reduce the Ingenieros de Minas de Chile, 1998), 17796.
delays associated with the lack of spare parts. Following this, 9. Banks J., Carson J. and Nelson B. Discrete event system simulation,
root-cause failure analysis and the introduction of repair stan- 2nd edn (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996).
10. Hall R., Daneshmend L. and Knights P. Reliability analysis of
dards will also yield benefits. The model also indicated that
mobile underground mining equipment: a case study. Paper
the work load for this fleet exceeds the capacity of the labour presented at 10th CIM Maintenance engineering conference,
currently assigned to the fleet, for which contracting addi- Saskatoon, Canada, September, 1998.
tional mechanics may bring a benefit.
(6) The simulation results indicate that the situation can be Authors
improved substantially through implementation of the initia-
tives outlined here. Darko Louit N. was awarded a master of engineering science degree

from the Catholic University of Chile in 1999. He is currently Australia. Since 1996 he has been employed as an assistant professor
employed as a professor in the Mining Centre of the Catholic and acting director of the Mining Centre of the Catholic University
University of Chile. E-mail: of Chile.

P. F. Knights holds a Ph.D. in mining engineering from McGill Address: Centro de Minera, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de
University, Canada. From 1988 to 1992 he worked as a research Chile, Vicua MacKenna 4860, Casilla 306 Correo 22, Santiago,
engineer with the Mining Systems Group of BHP Research, Chile; e-mail

Appendix Table 1 Parameters for distributions of time between

Fitting of Weibull distributions
By use of a three-parameter Weibull function the probability Fleet Type of Parameters
of a component surviving t operating hours, R(t), is given by distribution
t - t0
- Time between mechanical failures
R( t ) = 1 - F ( t ) = e

(A1) Drill Lognormal = 4.678

s = 1.056
Weibull h = 128.808
b = 1.286
where F(t) is cumulative probability of failure and h, b and t0 Loading Lognormal = 5.129
are the scale factor, form factor and failure-free time, respec- s = 0.631
tively. Since the function requires the use of cumulative Weibull h = 168.768
failure probabilities, the time-between-failure data must be b = 1.513
ranked according to increasing value to enable F(t) to be esti- Haul trucks Lognormal = 5.123
mated by dividing the cumulative number of failures by n, s = 0.669
the sample size. Weibull h = 105.166
However, to eliminate potential bias in the estimation of b = 1.052
F(t) as it approaches 100% a mean rank correction* can be Bull/wheel-dozers Lognormal = 5.095
s = 0.853
used whereby the sample size is increased by 1. In this way
Weibull h = 179.875
b = 1.313
Motor graders Lognormal = 5.329
Cumulative number of failures
F (t ) = (A2) s = 0.634
n +1 Weibull h = 210.743
b = 1.325
Given that the value of F(t) is known equation A1 can be Water trucks Lognormal = 5.501
rewritten as s = 0.686
Weibull h = 220.474
b = 1.052
ln ln = b ln(t - t 0 ) - b ln h (A3)
1 - F (t ) Time between electrical failures

Drill* Normal = 490.980
s = 123.075
Equation A3 is a linear equation of the form y = ax + c. On Loading Normal = 860.470
the assumption of a value for the failure-free time, t0, plotting s = 159.891
the double logarithm of 1/(1F(t)) against the natural loga- Haul trucks Normal 1 = 201.840 2 = 520.664
rithm of time, (tt0), enables the parameters h and b to be s1 = 71.022 s2 = 111.595
determined. The failure-free time can then be adjusted by p1 = 0.300 p2 = 0.700
trial-and-error to effect the best linear regression of the data Bull/wheel-dozers* Normal = 819.070
s = 205.316
as measured by the correlation coefficient.
Motor graders Normal = 819.070
s = 205.316
Statistical distributions Water trucks* Normal = 417.650
The parameters defining the statistical distributions used in s = 104.692
the simulation study are presented in Tables 17. (All para-
meters representing time are in hours.) *Owing to a lack of data the standard deviation, s, was assumed to
be equal to 25.067% of the mean, . This value was obtained as an
average from the results for the loading and haul-truck fleets.
*OConnor P. Practical reliability engineering, 3rd edn revised Owing to a lack of data and given the similarity of the equipment
(Chichester: Wiley , 1995). the distribution was assumed to be equal to that of the dozers.

Table 2 Parameters for distributions of time between major Table 5 Parameters for distributions of delays due to short-
accidents age of spares

Fleet Type of distribution Parameters Fleet Type of distribution Parameters

Drill Not applied Not applied Drill Uniform Lower limit = 80

Loading Not applied Not applied Upper limit = 144
Haul trucks Normal = 8640 Pdelay = 0.0426
s = 2880 Loading Uniform Lower limit = 24
Bull/wheel-dozers Not applied Not applied Upper limit = 72
Motor graders Not applied Not applied Pdelay = 0.0282
Water trucks Normal = 4320 Haul trucks Uniform Lower limit = 24
s = 1440 Upper limit = 285
Pdelay = 0.0139
Bull/wheel-dozers Uniform Lower limit = 96
Table 3 Time between PM
Upper limit = 371
Pdelay = 0.0638
Fleet Type of distribution Parameters
Motor graders Uniform Lower limit = 0
Upper limit = 120
Drill Not applied T.B.P.M. = 524.55
Pdelay = 0.0345
Loading Not applied T.B.P.M. = 487.42
Water trucks Uniform Lower limit = 0
Haul trucks Not applied T.B.P.M. = 339.86
Upper limit = 230
Bull/wheel-dozers Not applied T.B.P.M. = 578.44
Pdelay = 0.0909
Motor graders Not applied T.B.P.M. = 452.65
Water trucks Not applied T.B.P.M. = 329.53

Table 4 Parameters for distributions of repair times (TTR) Table 6 Parameters for distributions of delays due to major
component repairs
Fleet Type of Parameters
distribution Fleet Type of distribution Parameters

TTR mechanical failures Drill Not applied Not applied

Drill Lognormal = 2.444 Loading Not applied Not applied
s = 1.098 Haul trucks Not applied Not applied
Loading Lognormal 1 = 2.185 2 = 4.354 Bull/wheel-dozers Uniform Lower limit = 1284
s1 = 0.589 s2 = 0.464 Upper limit = 1656
p1 = 0.789 p2 = 0.211 Pdelay = 0.0425
Haul trucks Lognormal 1 = 2.245 2 = 4.053 Motor graders Uniform Lower limit = 1416
s1 = 0.635 s2 = 0.564 Upper limit = 4344
p1 = 0.692 p2 = 0.308 Pdelay = 0.0690
Bull/wheel-dozers Lognormal 1 = 2.842 2 = 5.296 Water trucks Not applied Not applied
s1 = 0.876 s2 = 0.487
p1 = 0.809 p2 = 0.191
Motor graders Lognormal 1 = 2.587 2 = 4.693
Table 7 Parameters for distributions of consumed labour
s1 = 0.636 s2 = 0.562
p1 = 0.692 p2 = 0.308
hours (see equation 4 of main text for parameter definitions)
Water trucks Lognormal 1 = 1.869 2 = 4.330
s1 = 0.632 s2 = 0.908 Fleet Type of Parameters
distribution Mechanical Electrical
p1 = 0.364 p2 = 0.636

Drill Mixed a = 1.329 a = 1.169

TTR electrical failures
Drill Lognormal 1 = 0.881 2 = 2.256 c = 0.982 c = 0.728
s1 = 0.483 s2 = 0.218 s = 3.218 s = 3.019
Loading Mixed a = 1.540 a = 1.754
p1 = 0.788 p2 = 0.212
Loading Lognormal = 2.323 c = 2.175 c = 1.572
s = 1.001 s = 4.867 s = 3.064
Haul trucks Mixed a = 1.361 a = 1.323
Haul trucks Lognormal 1 = 0.547 2 = 2.319
s1 = 0.688 s2 = 0.280 c = 0.991 c = 0.239
s = 3.961 s = 2.636
p1 = 0.770 p2 = 0.230
Bull/wheel-dozers Mixed a = 1.175 a = 0.919
Bull/wheel-dozers Lognormal = 0.708
s = 0.815 c = 1.764 c = 0.466
s = 5.655 s = 1.052
Motor graders Lognormal 1 = 0.308 2 = 1.900
s1 = 0.535 s2 = 0.395 Motor graders Mixed a = 1.229 a = 0.939
p1 = 0.727 p2 = 0.273 c = 1.871 c = 0.636
s = 3.840 s = 2.137
Water trucks Lognormal 1 = 0.798 2 = 2.148
s1 = 0.533 s2 = 0.363 Water trucks Mixed a = 1.022 a = 0.676
p1 = 0.600 p2 = 0.400 c = 0.685 c = 0.982
s = 1.840 s = 3.148