Good lubrication, lowering costs and boosting profits - Shell study reveals all
Mining companies are significantly undervaluing the potential savings from effective lubrication, according to a new study by Shell Lubricants. While 60percent of companies recognise they could reduce costs by 5 percent or more, fewer than 10percent realise that the impact of lubricants could be up to six times greater. For the mining industry in North America alone, this could mean potential savings in excess of $29.1 million.
The Shell Lubricants sponsored research found that 96percent of mining companies report experiencing unplanned equipment shutdowns in the last three years, with over half (56percent) acknowledging this is due to their incorrect selection or management of lubricants. This is having a direct financial impact, at a time when cost competitiveness is a priority for mining companies.
The international study of mining companies across Asia, Europe and the Americas commissioned by Shell Lubricants reveals that many businesses do not realise that some of their critical operational factors can be significantly influenced by how lubricants are managed. For example, less than half realise that lubrication can influence unplanned down time, and 64percent are not clear about how extended oil drain intervals can generate cost savings.
Renée Power, the Shell Global Sector Manager for Mining, said; “40percent of the companies we surveyed estimated that they had incurred costs of at least $250,000 over the last 3 years from breakdowns due to ineffective lubrication. This shows potential for companies to achieve a significant boost to profits by working closely with a supplier like Shell Lubricants to improve equipment lubrication practices.”
However, with maintenance managers facing budget and time constraints, and only 34percent of businesses making use of regular visits from their lubricant supplier’s technical staff, most are not well equipped to take action. The study revealed that only 41percent of companies have all the recommended procedures in place to manage lubricants effectively and 59percent recognise they don’t conduct staff training on lubricants as regularly as they should. Misconceptions about lubricants are also evident, with 44percent believing that all lubricants and greases provide the same level of performance.
Renée Power commented; “The impact of lubrication on Total Cost of Ownership is too often underestimated. Almost half of companies surveyed wouldn’t expect to see a reduction in maintenance costs resulting from lubrication, but we have helped deliver over $44 million in savings to mining companies over the last five years. Longstanding experience in the mining sector enables Shell Lubricants to identify potential opportunities for lubrication to deliver significant business value. We work closely with customers to help them reduce operating costs and enhance equipment productivity by looking after the lubrication needs of their machinery – not just selecting the right product, but providing guidance so that it can be properly managed.”
“We are very aware that companies are under pressure to limit costs and often looking for immediate results. Achieving extended oil drain intervals, for example, is one way that customers can realise cost savings almost as soon as they upgrade their lubrication. As the oil or grease lasts longer, less frequent re-greasing or oil changes are required, helping reduce overall cost of lubrication.”
Shell Lubricants has released a whitepaper to address some of these issues, and set out how profits can be gained by effective lubrication practices, firstly by selecting the right lubricant or grease for each application and, secondly, effectively managing the on-going use and application of the lubricant.
The January 2017 issue of Mining Global is live!
Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”