Moolarben Coal, near Mudgee, operates a fleet of three D375 and five D475 Komatsu dozers in a variety of coal production and loading operations.

06072011InspectionsKeepMudgeeDozersInService-(1).jpgThe efficiency of their operation depends heavily on machine utilisation and reducing the cost of maintenance both tackled through the minimisation of downtime.

As with any developing mine project, having the machine producing as often as possible is of utmost importance.-

-Gavin Gardner,

Site Maintenance Manager, Komatsu

As a means of extending track life and therefore reducing lifetime maintenance costs, Komatsu have implemented a plan where the track pins and bushes are rotated. This is currently being carried out on the fleet of D475 machines.

This pin and bush turn however requires the removal of the tracks from the machine, and a specialist track press facility.

To facilitate the maintenance requirement, Komatsu have shipped a replacement track set to Moolarben so maintenance personnel are only required to idle the machine for as long as it takes to remove and replace the track set.

It is estimated that this will save each machine up to 7 days in the workshop, equating to significantly less downtime for the machine.

Komatsu Site Maintenance Manager Gavin Gardner said the ability to provide the change-over program will significantly improve machine utilisation on site.

"As with any developing mine project, having the machine producing as often as possible is of utmost importance," he said.

"As these machines are relatively new, we're constantly looking at new ways to schedule the routine maintenance so that it doesn't affect production.

"The undercarriage of a machine in this environment can prematurely wear if not carefully monitored, which is why it's important to have preventative maintenance and inspections performed regularly to allow for efficient planning.

"Komatsu's large network and parts support allows us to assist with such tasks like the provision of change-over tracks for this customer.

"The key to long term efficiency is regular maintenance, and Komatsu takes pride in its ability to assist customers in meeting their production targets," he said.

Komatsu has been able to provide further assistance with the D475 Dozers, as the coal environment is soft under the machine, Moolarben has elected to fit wider 910mm track shoes to reduce ground pressure on the larger D475 Dozers which have also been incorporated with the track change-out program.

The Komatsu Fairfield facility was able to fit the larger shoes so that they could be fitted in a single change-out operation once again minimising downtime.

The larger shoes allow the machine to "float" in the coal environment, distributing the weight of the machine over a larger footprint area.

This reduced ground pressure "floating", works to reduce compaction of the processed coal, and improves fuel efficiency of the machine, reducing operational costs on site.