Why Everything Hinges on SHM
It’s often hard to see the damage that occurs over time within vital infrastructure, and as these structures age, their safety becomes a major concern. This can present a huge risk to your business! The last thing any mine site needs is a health and safety scandal.
This kind of damage occurs naturally as building materials degrade, due to environmental conditions, or as a result of hard wear and tear, as we often see in the mining industry. Big rocks and even bigger machines cause powerful vibrations to ripple through nearby structures, shaking things loose and causing friction between components.
The good news is that with a little foresight, this damage and the associated risks can be easily avoided with a little foresight. Proactive structural health monitoring is vital in keeping your operations running, and your team safe.
What is Structural Health Monitoring (SHM?)
To keep ahead of potential damage and risks, ongoing real-time observation and infrastructure performance measurement is needed. We call this process structural health monitoring (SHM), and it’s a crucial element in all successful mine site operations. Having the right system in place, before you need it, will alert you to the early signs of failure so that your team can manage the repairs and maintenance before the accumulated damage becomes too costly or dangerous.
The more data you’re able to collect, the more accurate your assessments will be. Sounds easy, right? If only! Collecting and processing data around the clock can be expensive and complicated. There are multiple challenges that necessitate an expert approach to structural health monitoring:
- Identifying the right sensors for the job
- Using reliable and accurate sensors
- Maintaining a robust data collection system
- Having skilled personnel to operate the system
- Ensuring sufficient power is available to run the system continuously
- Securing and storing the data
Of these challenges, perhaps the most important is having the skilled personnel to implement and operate the system. Converting the raw data into actionable, meaningful insights requires expertise and experience. With the right team at your disposal, the rest of the challenges are effectively managed.
Mincka recently performed a vibration survey at the Sojitz Gregory Crinum Mine, using wireless accelerometers, which don’t require a fixed power source. We carried out a series of measurements using a rover-reference technique, in which one accelerometer acts as a reference, while the others move (rove) around the designated area. Our recommendations to relocate nearby personnel to a different area, and to conduct maintenance and modification of centrifuge insulators resulted in dramatically increased health and safety, as well ensuring zero downtime in operations. This is disruptive innovation in action!
To learn more about how we can maintain and monitor the health of your infrastructure, use the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch within 24-48 hours.