Coates launches white paper for heavy industry

On the back of increased demand for heavy industry products, Coates Industrial Solutions has released a white paper on how companies can address the resource challenge while maintaining safety and performance during planned shutdowns and maintenance events.

During these events, businesses face a common challenge: the need to improve operational efficiencies and site safety with fewer resources and a widening skills gap. It creates a catch-22 situation, which has been further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The white paper – Mining for efficiency in heavy industry – examines these pain points and provides detailed insight into how businesses can address them. Key recommendations include:

  • Engaging an experienced end-to-end partner to better scope and plan maintenance events
  • Leveraging asset management technology to better manage tools, equipment and consumables
  • Harnessing data from smart technologies to improve operational efficiencies and worker productivity
  • Embracing drone technology for quicker, safer and cheaper asset inspections and maintenance planning

“Periodic maintenance shutdowns are risky and expensive undertakings at the best of times, let alone with the added challenges brought by the pandemic,” says Jeff Allen, National Manager of Coates Industrial Solutions. “By releasing this white paper, we want to support companies with practical solutions to the challenges they face and share our learnings from more than 135 years’ experience in the heavy industry space.”

Factors driving demand

Australia’s heavy industry sector accounts for 9% of the Australian economy. The sector processes minerals to produce materials, such as iron, aluminium and cement, critical to the country’s infrastructure industries, which additionally make up 21% of GDP.

The strong pipeline of infrastructure projects, coupled with record commodity export prices in 2020-2021, has driven demand and amplified the need for heavy industries to achieve productivity targets, both during normal operations and when assets are offline for scheduled maintenance.

According to Jeff, the resource challenge is not new, but continues to evolve with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and digital disruption.

“When COVID restrictions ease, the constraints on personnel will be even higher because maintenance that has been postponed during the pandemic will need to be performed,” he says. “Heavy industry businesses have an opportunity to improve planning and execution by mining the efficiencies that result from digital connectivity and reporting, such as more effective use of equipment and tooling.”

Moreover, while contending with resource shortages, industrial businesses still need to ensure they are adhering to strict safety standards and regulations.

“The question is, how do you ensure you’re achieving safety compliance while trying to save on costs and inefficiencies elsewhere if you have a deficiency on the resource front?” Jeff says.

Real-world solutions

To help plug the resources gap, businesses often rely on multiple contractors to provide maintenance and equipment services. “However, the contractor model has its own limitations, and ironically, can create even more inefficiencies when several vendors are contracted to a site,” says Jeff.

With heavy industry under pressure to do more work with less hired tools and equipment, businesses also need to address issues such as lost or damaged tools, poor inventory management and equipment wastage.

The white paper examines shutdowns at Newcrest Mining’s Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea and EnergyAustralia’s Mount Piper power station in New South Wales. By utilising Coates’ proprietary asset management solution for hired and customer-owned tools, equipment and consumables, Newcrest achieved less than 1% tool loss. EnergyAustralia, meanwhile, reported an 80% improvement in tool time efficiency.

“As a single source provider, Coates goes beyond the supply of equipment, tooling and consumables,” says Jeff. “We’re specialists in the industrial solutions space, so we apply our experience and capabilities to scope and plan out a customised solution for each customer based on data, insights and the lessons we’ve learned from a multitude of clients across the industry.”

To download the free white paper, click here

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