Oil analysis by WearCheck Africa proved instrumental in avoiding machine failure on two of Middelburg mining contractor Atlantis Mining’s earthmoving units recently by detecting component wear in time.
All of the Middelburg-based mining contractors’ fleet Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Volvo and Terex equipment have been on WearCheck’s oil analysis programme for the past 12 years.
On this occasion, one of the machines was a Caterpillar D9T bulldozer where samples on both final drives were diagnosed by WearCheck as borderline. The oil was resampled and drained but the samples came back as borderline again. Atlantis resampled the new oil after 100 hours in use and submitted this to WearCheck. Again the sample was borderline.
‘The misleading factor was that the magnetic plugs showed no signs of contamination,’ said Mark Johnstone, managing director of Atlantis Mining. ‘We continued to run the machine whilst monitoring the final drive oil samples until we were advised of a critical sample at 9028 hours. Again the magnetic plug showed no signs of contamination, but it was decided that the final drives should be opened.’
Machine failure avoided
Three weeks later the workshop removed the final drives at 9192 hours. On disassembly it was found that the inner bearing had started to ‘pit’ and that the wear was starting to go through the hard facing. All the bearings were replaced and a major failure was avoided.
‘This was thanks to our successful oil sampling programme, accurate diagnosis by Wearcheck technicians and timeous action,’ Johnstone said.
‘Knowing that we can rely on our oil analysis programme gives us peace of mind, particularly as we are working with machines that are costly to replace and where equipment downtime quickly eats into profits. It is a cost-effective conditioning monitoring tool that has proved its worth time and time again.’