The Importance of Mining Wear Parts

The process of mining is not only hard on its employees, but on the equipment and its various components. Abrasive and corrosive materials put great stress on mining wear parts, including cutting heads, crusher linings, buckets and more. Given the dangerous conditions miners are working in, it is imperative that all parts of every piece of mining equipment run smoothly, efficiently and safely. Many mining accidents that occur are completely preventable by simply maintaining equipment and replacing parts that have been worn down.

Canada has seen its fair share of mining related injuries and deaths. The largest perhaps has come to be known as the ‘Hillcrest Mine Disaster’ where in 1914 an explosion mulcherparts caused the death of 189 miners, causing a notable wave of grief among the families in that small town. More recently, in 2006 in Sudbury Ontario, a miner was crushed to death by a piece of mining equipment, and only last year a drill worker was killed in a Copper mine near Timmins, Ontario. These are only a few examples of the many accidents that can occur in the mining sector. Every incident that results in an injury or death illustrates how critically important maintaining the safety of all equipment is. Replacing needed mining wear parts on a regular basis is not only necessary to maintain the integrity of the machinery, but to keep a safe and healthy work force.

The sheer complexity and sophistication of mining equipment today is astounding when comparing the state of equipment even 50 years ago. The technology used in most mining operations today is increasing the efficiency and productivity of the world’s largest mines, so that supply of minerals and metals can meet demand. With the incredibly high performance of machines on offer comes the responsibility of the company to maintain the equipment in every way possible. Just as in any other high performance piece of equipment, it is only optimized when all the parts are working at their maximum potential. Allowing worn out parts on these pieces of machinery and expecting the same performance quality is equivalent to putting worn out tires on a high performance race car and expecting it to win races. Not replacing the needed mining wear parts drains money from a mining operation due to lack of efficiency, and also puts the workers at risk of machine failure. This is a risk that no employer should be willing to take, considering the human and financial costs associated with equipment malfunction.

The types of equipment that major mining companies are using today are large-scale investments requiring a significant outflow of capital. These investments are made with the expectation that the increase in efficiency, which comes from using these machines, will more than make up for this insertion of capital. This expectation is completely founded, as stated above the equipment on hand is incredibly sophisticated and efficient, that is if it is maintained properly. One example of an integral wear part among many important mining wear parts is the flushing nozzle on any given cutting machine. Choosing a high-performance flushing nozzle increases the flow of water substantially, which is integral to delivering needed water to cutting zones while not creating turbulence that can slow down cutting speeds. Such a seemingly small part of a machine can affect efficiency to a large extent. This is just one example of the many wear parts that can allow all equipment to operate at its’ maximum potential.

 

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