Mining Tracked Excavator and Shell Mining workers

Lubricants Ease the Path to Lower Costs & Improved Safety in Mining

Helping mining companies meet the goal of maximising productivity to reduce costs, while also improving safety.

At Shell, we have worked closely with the maintenance teams of many mining companies. The biggest challenges are often around maintaining equipment, producing more with that equipment and keeping workers safe. This puts added pressure on maintenance teams to extend the life of machinery – for which a smart lubricant strategy can make all the difference.

However, our research shows two thirds of companies believe an investment in lubrication will reduce costs by five per cent, when in fact the real value of investing in lubricants is six times larger – saving up to 30 per cent of the total maintenance budget. For example, upgrading to a higher quality lubricant means you can immediately extend oil drain intervals from day one, shaving a chunk off the total cost of ownership.

Our LubeExperts understand the intricacies of each individual piece of mining equipment, as well as how it interacts with lubricants. This allows them to help mining companies meet the goal of maximising energy efficiency and productivity.

Shell LubeExperts work to help mining companies meet the goal of maximising energy efficiency and productivity.

Specific services and tools used include:

  • Inspecting equipment using strobe-o-scope, thermal imaging, and vibration analysis
  • Auditing lubrication systems and injectors
  • Fitting injector spectrum sleeves
  • Optimising greases for fixed and mobile equipment

This all goes hand in hand with improving safety - equipment that is operating properly is inherently safer – and more productive.

We can also make the process of maintenance itself, safer too. Shell’s single point lubricator, Shell Tactic, reduces human-machine contact because, instead of having to lubricate multiple points around a machine, lubrication is applied just at one point and is then distributed around the equipment as required. Also, this approach reduces the amount of lubrication used by up to 60 per cent, compared to manual application, not least because seals don’t have to be broken so the possibility of contamination is restricted, and less grease is needed to re-seal the machine. The single-point lubricator has been used very effectively by mining companies including Codelco in Chile and VALE in Brazil.

We estimate Shell Lube Experts have saved our mining customers more than $63.9 million over the last six years, while improving safety too – a brilliant outcome for any business.

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