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Success Case: how a steel and mining company managed to save 30.000€ in production



Save money in industrial production factories

15/04/2020

How a company within the steel and mining sector managed to save €6000/hour in a total operation time of 5 hours (€30,000), in full production.

 

Introduction

This company in Spain belongs to a multinational group with several sites and production centres and exports to the 5 continents. The company’s machinery is used very intensely and it is exposed to the most adverse weather conditions 24 hours a day, which is covered by three continuous working shifts.

Some time ago, and thanks to the vision of the maintenance team and management, it was decided to invest in predictive maintenance solutions in order to avoid unplanned stoppages of the most critical lines, without doubt a very wise decision, as we will see below.

 

 

Application

In this specific case, we are referring to a three-phase asynchronous squirrel-cage motor, of 450 kW at 3000 rpm, that drives a hammer compressor through a rigid coupling. One of the applications to be monitored due to its criticality in the process.

This compressor was monitored and fitted with sensors due to previous repairs and production stoppages in the past. Objective: to identify the causes in advance, without affecting production.

 

Situation

At the time of the implementation of the predictive solution in the compressor, an increase in the vibrations in the monitored application was detected, more specifically in the electrical motor indicating increasing symptoms of misalignment and possible play between the motor and compressor.

By means of the trend analysis, the start of this anomaly could be clearly seen and how, over time, the resulting vibration increased.

There is no doubt that the early location of the fault allowed a good diagnosis to be made and its repair planned for non-productive hours, thus preventing a clear unplanned stoppage in production. This type of fault/repair would have resulted in a stoppage time of at least five hours at a price of €6000/production hour with a total of €30,000 for that fault.

 

Diagnostic/Solution

By means of spectral analysis, it could be determined that it was very likely that the problem was on the motor side of the coupling and not the compressor side, a diagnosis that also saved significant time in the exact detection of the cause.

Finally, premature loosening of the coupling disc fastening bolts was found to be the cause of the increasing vibration detected by the sensors. They were then properly tightened and adjusted, and the vibrations returned to normal.

The entire anomaly can be seen on the graph, from its start to repair and how it was returned to the expected and desired normal situation.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

What could have happened without a predictive maintenance solution installed in that application?

Very probably, and taking the displayed graphs as a basis, the bolts would have continued to loosen and the play would have increased until, most likely, the weakest part of the application was affected. There could have been a number of negative outcomes. An unplanned production stoppage may not be the only impact but, depending on the affected mechanical or electrical element, its duplication may not be possible or it may be out of any supplier’s stock.

Without doubt, the investment in a predictive solution led by the maintenance team and supported by the company’s management, demonstrated the benefits of the system and that pre-emption is a form of direct saving, in problems and money.



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