The Missing Link

There's so much focus on big data streaming from remote mine sites into off site central hubs to enable allocated analysts to identify trends, outliers and potential lost production events. This data is generated from on board or SCADA connected sensors streaming data to analysis software monitoring values to trigger points.

Our ability to see, in real time, these values has helped asset managers make more effective and accurate decisions to use or not use an asset based on the conditions from these feeds.

But there is still one area that is being overlooked. One area that has changed little over the last 30-40 years when PM Servicing starting to evolve. Evolving from "fix it when it broke" philosophy to let's have a look at this more often and maybe stop it from breaking in the first place. These periodic inspections began to become more formalised and planned. Service/Inspection sheets developed or copied from one site and shared across many with a simple logo change.

Serviceman were employed to change the oil and filters and inspect for defects which began to see equipment started to become more productive with less breakdowns or long downtime periods changing major components out, adhoc. Oil samples are being taken, analysed off site and reported back to show what the oil is telling us about the component condition. Vibration analysis or strategically located sensors positioned to monitor temperature, pressure or cycles. As the site became more in-tune and aligned towards the benefits and successes of preventative maintenance practices, massive improvements began to benefit production output and reduced maintenance costs.

Today, many sites are very experienced and mature in Preventative and Proactive Maintenance strategies but in field information is still being collected on paper-based service sheets. Filed in large filing cabinets or archived in sea containers in case someone wanted to look at them when a failure has occurred. Defects are typically written on a pocket note pad or maybe on the actual service sheet, maybe. These defects are supposed to be added to the site CMMS, if they get time after the service before the end of the shift or worst, end of the swing. So often it's not done, it's left to someone else, who never turns up.

How often have you had a breakdown or major failure occur and you go back to the service sheet and there's nothing about any defect that should have been recorded or that there is a note that there is a problem but the CMMS has no record of this. It's happening still today. Any site you go too you will hear of the stories just like this. Someone knew about the problem but no action taken.

So how can this be resolved? How can we get this information, analysis it and be ahead of the failure. How can we be in tune with the assets condition from all monitoring aspects as well as these physical inspections, as we call it, Sensory Based Data.


What the guys in the field are seeing, smelling, hearing and touching is critical. What do they know and how can this be presented in near real-time as seen with Sensor Based feeds.

To achieve this, we need to have electronic data collection methods, in the field during the service/inspection process. We need to ask the technicians very specific questions and receive this information in a format that can be trended or correlated for further analysis. Defects need to be captured electronically and feed into the CMMS so that it is registered, transparent and actionable.

With this, align these pieces of information with other sources so that the full picture is presented so that more effective decisions can be made. Connect to the big data source, the sensor based feeds the web based oil sample results, data that is relevant to determining the condition of the asset. If three pieces of information is available and analysed during the decision making process then you'll have a higher success rate of making the right decision.

visual data.PNG

The missing link in much of the narrative today is the Sensory Based Data. The feedback from the field in an electronic format that can be correlated with these other data forms needs to be in place. We need to asked very specific questions based on FMECA or experience and we need to present this information in an easy to access and interpret format.

analysis 2.png

Trend values and compare trends across the fleet

Combined oil sample data with defects by asset model and unit number

Combined oil sample data with defects by asset model and unit number

This technology is available and in use now. These solutions are in play and making a difference in maintenance management and asset health understanding. Combining Sensory Based Data and Sensor Based Data must be part of the overall digitization strategy if you're wanting to achieve the results you're expecting.

Visit to see the LinkedIn article

Going Mobile

"It won't work here because we do things different"

"I can't see how this is going to be quicker than the way I can do it now"

Typical negative comments before something new is even tried. It's all bull.... It comes down to leadership and commitment of management to implement positive change and to work through the challenges, road blocks and negativity that comes with change.

We've heard it all now and now that the software is up and working, with great results, we see a complete change in the attitudes and conversation from the floor.

Mechanic's now tell their Supervisor

"Paper's bulls...., why don't we have spare tablets"

"It's much easier with the tablets than paper"

Within 6 months of introducing mobility based software on ruggedized tablets the feedback has been amazing. Hard core underground drill fitters more engaged with this type of technology and offering further ideas to streamline the process or to add more value to the PM service.

This all comes through change management and taking the frustration out of their daily tasks. If management listens and applies the changes needed, change is possible and can be a very positive experience for all involved.

A client worked out that they spend approx. 600 manhours each year handling daily inspection sheets for a fleet of 18 mining trucks alone. In one day, one daily sheet can be handled 6-7 times. That's not including the number of sheets completed and lost between the workshop and the planning office.

Changing to mobile based software, ZoneMaintenance, there is no paper handling, there is no Supervisor sign off, there is no archiving, it's all inclusive within the system. Extend that to PM Services and you have a massive benefit to everyone in the process line.

We used to get the question from maintainers "how can we get away from paper service sheets" to "why are we still using paper service sheets" and the answer comes down to management's preparation to take on new technology that adds massive value to their department. The concern is that their guys will go on the internet or the tablets won't last in this environment.

All excuses, the facts are that the benefits moving towards a mobile workforce is far more valuable than the risks. Being able to communicate effectively both ways and to be able to analyse data that has never been presented before has massive opportunities to change the way maintenance can be managed.


ZoneMaintenance Software being used on a Motion Computing F5M Tablet during a Sandvik Solo PM Service in an underground gold mine workshop

Integrating Visual Data with other sources

One of my issues with asset management is all the different data bases and systems required to be on top of the fleets health. Each one is a separate log on or a simple excel report being updated periodically by the Reliability Engineer. With this in mind I’ve been looking for ways to address this. Technology is improving all the time and there are now tools available to offer solutions to the problem.

With ZoneMaintenance we are collecting visual data, electronically. This is what the Inspector see’s, smells, hears or touches. Information that was, until now, captured on paper service sheets or in a note pad in the fitters pocket.

What we have been able to do over the last couple of weeks is to integrate with other databases to present critical information on the one, same screen. We can show defects captured via ZM and Oil Samples. We can compare MTBF results with no of defects collected and see how this impacts production when MTBF is down or defects are not being rectified.

With access to more data sources we will be able to present a lot more on screen information, by exception. Post out alerts to email or mobiles when trigger points are reached. As well, view all this from a smart phone, if you need too.

What if we were able to see components that were nearing change out and view the actual health data such as known outstanding defects, oil sample results, fuel burn, MTBF history and machine on board event summaries on the one dashboard. Decisions will be able to be made with more clarity and with the right reasons as the data will be more readily available.

It’s still early days but what has been achieved in a very short time has excited me into thinking that the vision is now definitely possible.

Attached is some screen shots of our web tool (dashboards) we have been developing to integrate visual defect data with oil sample data. We’ll be able to include the following as well

  • Work orders
  • Fuel burn
  • On board events and condition monitoring values
  • Life Cycle status

Just to name a few. With a tool like this you can look from remote locations, on your phone or ipad as to the condition of the asset and how they are being managed.

You don’t need to be connected to ZoneMaintenance software to get some of these benefits.

If this is of interest please let me know so I can give you a look at what’s happening.

Supervisor on the Job

Do you expect your supervisors to be on the job checking on progress, safe work practices or quality of workmanship?

If so how do you know when this is being done, how often and what was discussed?

Pretty hard unless the guy that's being checked on logs it on a simple easy tool that can capture the moment and what was said or why they had the discussion.

Within our Zone and RouteMaintenance software, we provide this feature to capture just that, the Supervisors interaction. And we can report on how often and the reason why. The tradesman does this simple task to show that his/her Supervisor was on the job.

If this is of interest, get in touch and we'll show you how it's done.

Impacts to the Service Process

Do you really know what is happening on the floor in your workshop?

Do you know where the frustrations are and what is causing delays on the job?

Not too many supervisors or managers know what it is let alone how to fix it because they don't have the information.

What if you were able to see how many times your guys are pulled off the job because another peer needs help or the parts supplied are the wrong ones.

What if you can see how long these impacts are taking and the affect it is having on your ability to manage your fleet or plant.

Within Zone and RouteMaintenance the guys have the ability to show these impacts by pausing the job. As each job and task has an estimated time to take, when an impact into this time occurs, the guys pause the job.

Now management can see over the last day, week, month or year what has been the biggest impact to the maintenance department that causes delays and lost time on the job.

Is this worth looking into?

If so, make contact and we'll show you more on how this can be achieved.

Results based over defined time frame

Web Based Dashboard option available

Web Based Dashboard option available

Mobile Equipment Fuel Systems Not as Clean as You'd Expect

The Magnom Filtration System was the solution for an on going problem with a mobile machines diesel fuel system. The tank had high levels of rust scale internally which was causing major problems to the machines performance. Blocked filters and damaged injectors were causing poor reliability and increased maintenance costs.

Equipment Management International, the OEM and Magnom combined efforts to help identify and resolve the problem. The Magnom Midi Unit was utilized in the main fuel line before the primary filter. In a very short period of time, large amounts of scale and rust was attached to the core. This helped the maintenance team understand what the actual problem was. First thinking that site had poor quality fuel.

Installing the Magnom Midi Unit was able to reduce the number of unscheduled downtime events and removed the cost of additional fuel filters prior to the scheduled servicing interval.

Benefits to the customer

· Increased equipment reliability and mechanical availability

· Able to identify root cause of on going failures

· Able to monitor condition of fuel system (tank)

· Removed the damaging ferrous particles increasing filter life

· Increased fuel injector life—if problem not resolved

· Improved equipments performance - reduced engine performance with blocked filters

CNC Lathe Receives an Upgrade

Local Tasmanian company has received great results recovering damaging ferrous particles from their CNC Lathe Cooling fluid. A Clear 10 Magnom Unit has been installed, for just on two weeks, in line between the cooling fluid pump and tooling.

Amazing recovery of very fine particles was captured on the cleanable, non consumable magnetic Magnom core.

This recovery of contamination will

· Increase tooling life

· Increase coolant life

· Reduce further damage to the rotating seals.

Clear 10 Magnom Filter

Clear 10 Magnom Filter


Gyro Crusher Gearbox Filtered by Magnom

Actual build up after 3 days in use

Actual build up after 3 days in use

Amazing results in three days
— Site Maintenance Engineer

A large ferroalloy smelter has introduced the Magnom Filtration System to a large gyro crusher gearbox lubrication circuit. Previously the gearbox had experienced a major and expensive failure which had not been detected. The failure was a major disruption to the production of the process as there was limited parts available to repair quickly. The lubrication system had been filtered via conventional filtration.

The company decided to try the Magnom 5” Clear and was very surprised to see the amount of contamination collected after only three days of operation.
This level of contamination was not expected and further evaluation of the reconditioned
gearbox is underway.

Other applications are now being reviewed for installation.
The benefits installing this filter technology
         •  Capable of removing large volumes of contamination without flow restriction
         • Ultra fine particles removed from the lubrication system. (less than one micron)
         • Improving the life of the oil and existing filtration
         • Extending the life of the gearbox
They now have the ability to monitor the condition of the gearbox and determine any future problems.

Magnom Clear 5

Magnom Clear 5

China Experience

In 2014-15 we were commissioned to review the maintenance operations and implement ZoneMaintenance at a large underground gold mine in central China.

This was our first exposure to this massive and exciting country and was thrilled with the opportunity. The Australian Asset Manager needed support from someone he could trust and depend on as the site was struggling to achieve their targets and maintenance costs were increasing dramatically each month.

Conditions were rough and dated. My initial feel was that I'd walked back in time to the late 80's, early 90's in the goldfields where safety and contamination control was not high on our priorities. Throw in the language barriers and cultural differences and you have a challenging situation to deal with.

Maintenance practices were poor and inefficient but there were elements of some very experienced, knowledgeable individuals who wanted to learn more and improve. They saw an opportunity to learn from an external source that they would never of being able to have experienced from within their own networks. This project was not about showing them what was wrong but helping them learn and apply some changes that will make their work life easier, safer and more efficient.

I found the Chinese friendly and just as interested in our culture and life styles as we are of theirs. They had a very good understanding of what was happening in Australia and was well aware of my home state of Tasmania. Which was much of a surprise for me as I was quite ignorant of where I was or what was actually happening locally within the country.

We know of all the growth and resource demands of the time and you can see why with the amount of completed and in progress projects happening in the areas I visited. The image across the top page banner is at Guangzhou airport. I counted 32 tower cranes on this one project. Incredible.

The project was over 5 months doing 4 week stints while on site. Atlas Copco Jumbo's, Caterpillar AD45B trucks and R2900G loaders were included in the scope. Translating from English to Mandarin was problematic and gave the mechanics some good laughs during the first release.

Lesson there was not to trust on line translators from various spots around the world. I was told 80% of it was reasonable accurate which was comforting.

As it was challenging, it was also an amazing experience, taking in sights and experiences that tourists would never have access too. If you do get the opportunity to do a project in China, seriously consider it. As with everywhere we go now days security and safety is a risk and China has it's own issues. Just be smart about what you do, where you go and who you deal with and you'll be fine.

Happy to chat further about it if you have any questions. Cheers.