Mining Company Keeps on Digging with MASS Group’s RFID Tracking

Mining Company Keeps on Digging with MASS Group’s RFID Tracking

A mining company keeps on digging with RFID-Enabled Maintenance Asset Tracking


One of the world’s largest mining companies must keep a large fleet of massive mining equipment up and running, reliably, in the harsh outdoor environment of an open pit coal mine. Unscheduled downtime, repeat maintenance procedures due to errors, and inaccurate test results were potentially costing them production time at their coal mine located near the Rocky Mountains.

Profitability of their worldwide operations requires that complex mining equipment be reliably operated under harsh conditions. A robust system of preventive maintenance enables high equipment uptime on these sites. The mining company’s preventive maintenance plan was difficult to implement due to several process failures as fluid samples were taken from multiple ports on the massive mining equipment and transported to a lab for analysis. Human input errors and paper travelers that were destroyed or misplaced led to a high rework rate and service errors from incorrect labeling of samples.

The Challenge

There are more than 100 pieces of equipment in operation. Equipment maintenance personnel collect as many as 50 fluid samples from a single piece of equipment. Each sample is associated with a particular location on the equipment and is sent to a lab for analysis. The fluids collected (engine oils, hydraulic fluids, brake fluids, etc.) are analyzed for chemical breakdowns which can mean the machine may have excessive wear and potentially requires maintenance to avoid a major production stoppage. The previous method of tracking the samples consisted of writing down the location, temperature, equipment ID, and time stamp on a paper form. This form was sometimes lost, destroyed, or illegible which resulted in misinterpretation between the mine and laboratory.

The Solution

Durable, encapsulated RFID tags from Datalogic EMS, the LRP-S series, are used to uniquely identify equipment (asset), port, sample, and technician. A portable printer creates a unique barcode label for each sample. An RFID-enabled portable handheld computer is used to import the RFID Tracking tag information of sample, equipment location, and technician into a unique record and feeds the tag data into FactoryServer CMMS EAM, an asset management maintenance software solution by MASS Group. FactoryServer CMMS EAM creates, stores and reports on the data.

The Results

The new, complete solution using FactoryServer CMMS EAM software by MASS Group, a portable RFID Tracking handheld, and unique durable RFID Tracking tags allows the company to have 100% confidence in the sampling and reporting accuracy of the mechanical fluids from each machine. Every step of the process is now immune to human error and failure under the harsh conditions of a mining operation.