Innovation in Action

Case Study

Ensuring Vibrating Screens’ Motion

Ensuring Vibrating Screens’ Motion Location Emerald, QLD Services Project Overview Vibrating screens are crucial in coal handling preparation plants (CHPP). Their performance is dependent on the characteristics of the oscillating movement, which directly influence the speed of coal transport, material distribution on screen decks, and the quality of the final product. Monitoring the shape of the screen’s motion is critical to ensure consistent performance and longevity of the CHPP. The client is focused on keeping their vibrating screens in optimal condition for effective coal separation. The Challenges The main challenges of this project arose from working on the CHPP. However, these difficulties were nothing our team couldn’t handle! We were ready to collaborate with the client in two key areas: Firstly, we needed to coordinate with operators. This was a necessity given the requirement for multiple setups to fully capture the plant’s range of operations. Secondly, we had to overcome accessibility issues at certain locations due to ongoing plant activities. Despite these challenges, our team was fully prepared and capable of managing the situation. The Solution Our task was to inspect the operative parameters of the vibrating screens. We began with a thorough vibration assessment of the screens and their support structures. Our approach involved capturing acceleration measurements at all corners of the machine, collecting data across all axes. We placed sensors on the relevant axis of a vibrating screen to acquire acceleration data. Using durable computers and accelerometers, we gathered data from an accelerometer on a vibrating screen. This robust data was then carefully post-processed using our custom identification algorithms. These algorithms allowed us to determine key operational parameters such as the screen’s orbit shape, the amplitude of the vibration, and its operating speed. Our comprehensive analysis extended beyond the machine to evaluate the supporting structure, aiming to ensure the system operates at peak performance. The Impact Leveraging our data-driven approach and our specialized experience in vibration analysis, we offer early detection of machine malfunctions, preventing minor issues from escalating into major risks for both the plant and the machinery. We believe in proactive alert systems. This way, not only do we avoid potential damage, but we also offer operators a robust tool for efficient plant management.

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Mining Engineering Consultants: Asset Structural Inspection | Mincka
Case Study

Asset Structural Inspection

Asset Structural Inspection Location Emerald, QLD Services Project Overview The client wanted to evaluate the structural condition of their assets, identify any damage, and define the required actions to preserve their structural integrity. To address these requirements, Mincka has been conducting the structural inspection of the coal processing plant and its associated infrastructure at the mine on an annual basis. Previous Next The Challenges The main challenges of this project are the restrictions to access the mine’s infrastructure in order to perform a high-quality inspection and gather the information to evaluate their structural condition. The inspection of some assets, for example, have working at height requirements. The Solution The methodology followed for this inspection is visual identification of structural issues, with the subsequent evaluation of the risk in line with The client’s Risk Management Policy. During the inspection visual checks are performed across the entire infrastructure, identifying misalignment, spalling, and cracks on concrete components. These inspections also check the assets for misalignments, twisting or tearing of steel members and connections, corrosion on steel, damaged bolted or welded connections, and any excessive vibration. During these inspections, Mincka uses standardised, digital checklists that include descriptions, photos, and videos to document any defects found, and enable an accurate and efficient data-gathering process. To overcome the challenges related to working at height requirements, Mincka uses drones for the visual inspection, which eliminates this risk and eliminates the need for the use of equipment like an elevating work platform (EWP), man cage, or scaffolding.  The Impact The customer’s satisfaction with the results of these structural inspections and their impact at the mine is demonstrated by the fact that Mincka has been performing these annually since 2017. The defects identified and the risk evaluation are provided in line with The Client’s Risk Management Policy and the suggested repair methods have contributed significantly to maintaining the structural integrity and reliability of the mine infrastructure, as well as a safer operation, due to the absence of structural failures.

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Mining Engineering Consultants: PMIs & WINs Development | Mincka
Case Study

PMIs and WINs Development

PMIs and WINs Development Location Port Hedland, WA Services Project Overview The client wanted to standardise the maintenance administration documentation and improve the inspection process through the development of Preventative Maintenance Instructions (PMIs) and Work Instructions (WINs) for the port’s process infrastructure equipment. Previous Next The Challenges The main challenges of this project were the wide variety of different types of inspections and the considerable amount of the port’s processing equipment that was included in the scope; a total of 77 items, including bucket wheel reclaimers, stackers, shiploaders, and car dumpers. Also, the development of the PMIs and WINs required a variety of sources of information, including the client’s governance documentation and inspection procedures, the equipment’s structural design end-of-life assessments, field information and photos from the inspection of the relevant areas. The gathering of the field information and photos provided another significant challenge, due to the high cost of bringing engineers to the port and the restricted available access to the equipment. The Solution Mincka developed PMIs and WINs based on the governance documentation, inspection procedures, and the equipment’s structural design end-of-life assessments. It was also important to take into consideration that the client inspectors would be using these instructions. They were therefore fully involved in every step of the process for their input and to review the developed documentation. Mincka used digital tools that provide a transparent, agile, and efficient process using real-time review, to fully integrate Client’s inspectors into the process. Mincka also worked with client’s inspectors to gather the field information and inspection area photos. The digital tools that Mincka provided obtained the required photos and extensive feedback in the most practical way for both parties. Digital tools reduced the cost of the project by avoiding the need to bring Mincka’s engineers to the port to gather the field information. The results of the activities and subsequent documentation were reviewed by the project’s specialists, and tested in the field, prior to the release of the official PMIs and WINs for the port’s processing infrastructure equipment. The Impact The developed PMIs and WINs make it easy for any qualified inspector to follow the standardised process when examining and assessing the port’s processing infrastructure equipment. The documentation ensures high quality inspections, that include all relevant areas of the asset to be inspected, and aligns with the client’s governance methods. High quality inspections will help to extend the life of these assets, reduce the likelihood of a shutdown due to unexpected structural failures, and increase the overall productivity of the port.

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Mining Engineering Consultants: ROM Bin Structural Health Monitoring | Mincka
Case Study

ROM Bin Structural Health Monitoring

ROM Bin Structural Health Monitoring Location Hail Creek, QLD Services Project Overview The main objective of this project was to develop a technique for reliable, cost-effective, and objective assessments of the structural condition of the infrastructure used in coal mining; eliminate the subjective, conservative assessments, and enable data-driven decision-making to improve reliability. To accomplish these objectives, Mincka recommended the installation of a Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system for the ROM Bin structure at the mine.  Previous image Next image The Challenges This project was challenging due to the high level of technical expertise required in the latest technologies and methodologies. In addition, complex mathematical model results had to be converted into useful data, to improve the structural integrity management process. There were also significant restrictions around the installation and commissioning of the system, due to the shut-down required to implement the processes. The Solution In order to achieve the project objectives, Mincka developed a set of algorithms based on real-time measured data, using accelerometers and strain gauges to identify changes or damage in the structure’s condition. The algorithms are based on modal, structural and fatigue analysis. Mincka also designed the measurement system required for this. We also developed an algorithm to conduct risk assessments and remaining life estimation, based on a stochastic modelling approach, which meets Australian standards. The results are also in accordance with the client’s governance documentation and enabled data-driven decision-making that is both accurate and efficient. The balance of the project included the development of a user interface that integrates 3D visualization of the structure and shows the results of the implemented algorithms. The user interface for the functional layout was also provided to ensure full access and visibility into all key areas.

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Asset Integrity Consultants
Case Study

R&D of a Remote Mobile Rail Tracking Machine

R&D of a Remote Mobile Rail Tracking Machine Location Nelson Point, WA Services Project Overview Mincka was commissioned to design and fabricate a remote vehicle capable of inspecting the condition of the rail tracks used by various types of rail mounted machines. Previous Next The Challenges The client was concerned about safety issues that could arise during the manual inspection of the rail tracks used by the rail mounted machines. The goal of the project was to reduce the exposure of the rail track inspectors to potential hazards. These included the uncontrolled release of stored energy in the rail retainers and environmental hazards due to high temperatures and dust. In addition, this type of inspection is very time-consuming, since the inspector has to walk the rail track to look for any defects. The Solution Mincka assembled a mechanical and electronic engineering team to design a complete solution. We designed a remote vehicle that has high-precision cameras at the front and on both sides, a customizable viewing range, high image quality, and a rail guidance system sized to standard rail specifications. In addition, a high-accuracy positioning system with two independent GPS and a collision prevention system using a panoramic camera and proximity detection sensors, was created. Finally, a control station that provides a set of monitoring and configuration tools to remotely command the vehicle was developed. The Impact We eliminated the exposure that our client’s inspection personnel have to the potential release of stored energy and to various environmental hazards. We also reduced inspection time by being able to measure the vertical alignment of the rail tracks and identify defects remotely via video. The comprehensive capabilities of our solution allowed the client to substantially improve their key safety metrics across the board.

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engineering australia
Case Study

CHPP Vibration Survey

CHPP Vibration Survey Location Emerald, QLD Services Project Overview Mincka was commissioned to run a vibration survey in the CHPP building in Emerald, Queensland. The customer was concerned about the excessive vibration on the centrifuges level in the CHPP building. A noticeable drifting motion from side to side horizontally, which was periodic in nature, was identified. In addition, some members appeared to be affected by the vibration generated by the excitation of the machinery on this floor. Previous Next The Challenges The main challenge of this project was the constraints related to the installation of sensor and data acquisition systems. In addition, the deployment of an entire team of modal testers in the CHPP building was too cost-prohibitive. Finally, the available time span to conduct the measurements was very short, so installing wired sensors was not feasible. The Solution Mincka performed a series of measurements using wireless accelerometers, which are portable, do not require a fixed power source, and are easy to deploy. We carried out a series of measurements using a Rover-reference technique; one accelerometer acts as a reference, while the others move (rove) around the designated area. This allows us to get several measurement points along the building, capturing a complete, dynamic response. With the recorded data we performed a experimental modal analysis. We identified the natural frequencies of the building, and were able to identify which ones were affected by the excitation generated by the machines. In addition, we used a finite element model to run a time-history analysis, in order to visualize all of the movement and the response of the structure. The Impact Mincka identified that the acceleration levels recorded in the building are harmful to the personnel working near the area. ISO standards were used as the criterion for the establishment of allowable acceleration levels, and the magnitude of the acceleration exceeded those thresholds. We recommended relocation of the personnel to a different area, to prevent incurring any health and safety risks. Mincka also provided recommendations for the maintenance and modification of the centrifuges’ insulators, to reduce the energy transfer between the machines and the structure.

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Mining Engineering Consultants: Structural Health Monitoring | Mincka
Case Study

R&D to Develop an Asset Management System

R&D to Develop an Asset Management System Location Nelson Point, WA Services Project Overview The client wanted to reduce the time required by the maintenance coordinators to plan the remediation of structural defects for all Pilbara assets. This process was being done manually and included downloading different files to collate different layers of information, filter, sort, and cross-reference the data, in order to classify defects before the workflow proceeded to resourcing and scheduling of the remediations. This created siloing of the work process between departments, resulting in end-to-end process conflicts, inefficiencies, unnecessary revisions, as well as failed deadlines and incorrect remediation scopes. The objective of the project was to develop a planning tool in VBA programming language to automate the extraction and classification of information from the client database output. This tool would organise the remediation of defects within a given timeline, providing coordinators with a baseline for scheduling jobs. With this tool, the available information for resourcing the jobs would be enhanced, so it reduced the amount of time that maintenance coordinators required to plan remediations, which in turn would reduce conflicts. What it is also significant is that critical remediations can only be completed when the equipment is turned off. This can negatively impact production goals, because if an entire line is dependent on that asset, there is no iron production during that remediation. Lines are only halted 3 times during the year, so being able to implement strict and robust planning would serve to avoid costly, partially completed or postponed remediations. Previous Next The Challenges In order to have a proper understanding of how coordinators plan remediations, it was necessary to gather as much information from their knowledge and experience as possible, to accurately characterise the governing rules into a set of decision trees, as they pertain to a defect’s remediation work plan. This included rules related to asset replacement date, prioritization of a defect’s remediation, urgency of the remediation, remediation dates, shutdown dates, likelihood of failure of the structure, and the impact of that failure.  The Solution Mincka organised a set of workshops with client maintenance coordinators and our team of software developers to map out that knowledge and experience into abstract decision trees. The outcome of the workshops was to essentially “bullet proof” the decision a coordinator made, based on a given set of conditions for a particular defect. This approach was tested and proven with several coordinators, different equipment sets, and various lines of production. At the end of the process, the decision model achieved a 94.7% rate of accuracy. The next step was to provide a model to the development team, to build a user interface that presented the results. The tool uses raw data from the the client’s database, applies the model and then displays the results in a dashboard that easily allows making changes to planning activities. The tool was built in Microsoft Excel, allowing for high compatibility with existing corporate systems and making it easy to use. The tool was fully developed in record time (one month), including workshops, coding, implementation of functionalities and testing. The Impact The client’s coordinators went from spending days planning to literally just seconds. When using the tool for the first time, they were able to identify several defects that had been postponed many times and were long overdue. The availability of information was significantly increased, resulting in the ability to immediately prioritize the oldest defect remediations into the scope of work. Nowadays, they jump from their database directly into a timeline for the most important remediations that need to be implemented. The time that is saved is now leveraged to improve the process and manage the workload for the teams in charge of the repairs. The process runs smoothly and with more control, saving both time and operational costs. With effective planning, lines of production keep running and shutdown periods are leveraged to repair the maximum number of defects. This is only possible with proper scheduling and resourcing, made possible with the Mincka developed tool, and now provides significant value add to the organisation. We appreciate the trust BHP Billiton placed in us and look forward to working with them again.

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engineering australia
Case Study

Material Recovery Plan Upgrade

Material Recovery Plan Upgrade Location Smithfield, NSW Services Project Overview Mincka was commissioned to analyse and certify the structural upgrade of a material recovery plant, Smithfield, Australia.  Mincka conducted an optimization process and provided a structural report in order to certify the structure. The insights provided by Mincka helped the client reduce costs, address the physical constraints inherent in this project and ensure the proper and safe operation of the structure. Previous image Next image The Challenges The client wanted us to optimize the structural members that support the waste handling machines for the proposed structure. Unique to this project was that there were geometrical constraints to placing the structural members, because the existing infrastructure was near the upgraded section of the plant. The Solution At Mincka we always start a project by understanding the engineering problem, so we asked for the operational parameters; material bulk density, conveyors’ speed and dimensions, as well as how the machinery operates. Since these are existing facilities, we were also able to get access to geotechnical information and as-built drawings. Once all of the physical limitations of the structure were identified, we proceeded with the global geometry of the structure via CAD and point cloud data. We then created a Structural Model of the Asset. We applied the load cases and load combination into our structural model, based on relevant standards including AS1170.0 AS1170.1 AS1170.2 AS1170.4. We then checked the internal loads of each member to make sure that the model was coherent. We iterated a number of different sized steel members  to optimize the solution in terms of strength, cost, and serviceability. In addition, we checked the dynamic response of the structure under operational conditions, including the vibration of the machine, in order to prevent undesirable outcomes. The Impact We provided valuable insights and identified the optimal cross-section for the steel members, as well as the ideal width and topology for the truss support, which resulted in a significant reduction in the customer’s fabrication costs. We enhanced the lateral strength of the structure with the addition of cross-bracing and knee braces in critical spots, ensuring proper operation. Recommendations provided resulted in the optimum solution, that was both the most practical and the most economical.

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risk management
Case Study

Rom Bin

Rom Bin Location Emerald, QLD Services Project Overview The ROM Bin structure at central Queensland, required a modification to continue operating under a new loading methodology. The new method required loading the ROM Bin in two ways, as follows: By side tipping into the ROM Bin, when a road train drives over the grizzly structure By front tipping with a CAT 992 Loader and a Liebherr T282B GB mining truck Mincka provided an in-depth assessment of the condition of the concrete hopper structure, along with the design of a new grizzly structure, which is modular in nature, and for which constituent parts can be replaced when required. Previous Next The Challenges The mechanical and geometrical properties of the bin were unknown. The bin was constructed more than 20 years ago, so accurate information was unavailable for our analysis. In addition, the client wanted a new easy-to-install and easy-to-repair grizzly beam system, so special considerations were required in the design stage to meet the stated requirements. The Solution Concrete Conditions Mincka conducted visual inspections to identify any obvious concrete defects such as cracks, honeycombed areas, and staining from corrosion/efflorescence. A comprehensive delamination survey was also carried out on concrete surfaces that were easily accessible, to identify internally cracked/drummy cover concrete, and any concrete at risk of spalling. The slab and walls were scanned using Proceq Live ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment, to locate reinforcement bars and to determine concrete cover depth. A Proceq Silver Schmidt live rebound hammer was used to test the hardness of accessible concrete wall surfaces. Surface hardness can be used non-destructively to estimate in situ concrete strength. Mincka assessed the concrete carbonation, cement content and chloride ingress on the 12 core samples, taken from various locations across the structure. Chloride ion ingress was determined by testing the core samples, typically by taking 3-4 discrete depth slices, according to AS1012.20. Geometry Laser scan measurements were taken in the ROM Bin, in order to overcome the lack of information regarding its overall geometry. From the laser measurements a detailed CAD model was created, which allowed us to proceed to the design stages of the project. Design Several meetings and field inspections were held. Having comprehensive knowledge with regards to risk assessment, governance, and mine operations allowed us to quickly establish the key features required for the design. After the initial design, Mincka conferred with the customer to get feedback and to ensure we were addressing their requirements and meeting their expectations. The finite element models for both the concrete bin and grizzly beam arrangement were then completed. The structural design was carried out as per Australian standards, including AS1170, AS4100 and AS5100. Design A complete Bill of Materials and structural drawings were delivered, providing a clear and detailed outline of the structural members required to construct the new grizzly system. The Impact Our testing provided valuable insights regarding the condition of the ROM Bin concrete structure, which lead to better, more accurate decision-making for the stakeholders. The new loading methodologies increased both the production and the capacity at the mine. A new grizzly beam system will be installed into the ROM Bin, with an excellent return on investment.

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