Daunia keeps on trucking

The truck fleet at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA's) Daunia coal operation in Queensland, Australia, is more efficient thanks to a BMA-developed truck maintenance system that can cut downtime to less than half of its current rate
Daunia keeps on trucking Daunia keeps on trucking Daunia keeps on trucking Daunia keeps on trucking Daunia keeps on trucking

The haul trucks at the Daunia metallurgical coal mine shift around 226 tonnes of coal or overburden every load

According to mine maintenance technicians Matthew Denholm and Toby Whyte, the mine's 16-truck fleet requires servicing every 250 hours, or about every other week based on Daunia's 24/7 work schedule; each truck carries around 226 tonnes of coal and overburden with every load.

Using the new system, average truck downtime has been cut from two hours for each maintenance service cycle to 40 minutes. Put into perspective, the savings equate to 10 hours of additional uptime each week for the fleet.

"The time it takes our maintenance team to service trucks is critical to our mine efficiency and productivity because it directly impacts how long they are out of action. And it is vital they are serviced safely, effectively and consistently," the pair said.

"That's why we are excited about some recent improvements in the service time for the truck fleet."

Denholm and Whyte noted the work included three elements: the introduction of a dedicated service bay; providing maintainers time to set up tooling and service kits before the truck arrives at the shop; and the addition of new technology to design, monitor and improve workflow. All results from these changes have exceeded their expectations.

In fact, not only has the downtime been reduced, the service process is safer for maintainers and is delivered more consistently.

BMA is also planning to roll out a similar approach for its larger, 363-tonne-payload trucks and will also be adding bulldozer servicing.

"BHP is embarking on new ways of working to improve what we do every day. It's called the BHP Operating System (BOS) and includes Standardised Work," the two said.

"This empowers frontline teams to solve problems and design solutions to streamline their processes… [and]encourages greater collaboration." They added that it can also reduce waste, overloading and variation and produce more effective, consistent results.

Standardised Work for truck maintenance began at Daunia a year ago, with tracking and analysing of work and processes, which also led to the development of a custom app.

"Using a Standardised Work approach to this important scheduled maintenance process has made our work quicker, safer, easier and more efficient, consistent and collaborative," they said. "Best of all, the truck service improvements and the associated technology are transferable."

The system is being trialled at two other BHP mine sites; the ultimate goal is implementation at all BHP-operated mines.

Daunia, a metallurgicanl operation, first opened in September 2013.