Large maintenance shop reduces engine change out time by over 80%, boosting production and saving capital

The maintenance shop of a  large open-pit mining operation was not keeping up with increasing production demands. Output was lost every time a truck went down. The company had to keep their trucks running.

The biggest reason trucks went down was for engine replacement; a long and involved process across three different truck types. This had become a key bottleneck in the mining process. The company was supplementing the fleet with contractor haul trucks (a costly alternative) but this was not a long term solution. The company was running out of options and time. Failing to achieve the required results with another vendor, they asked Stroud to help them solve this complex problem.

The resulting improvement team took a constraint-free approach to solving the problem. Rather than continuing to look for incremental reductions in maintenance activity duration, they focused on looking beyond all the preconceived notions of how maintenance “must” be performed; including those set in place by the truck vendor.

By breaking the constraint that each truck had to have its own engine change out configuration, the team worked with the truck vendor to develop a single “dressed replacement engine” that worked in all three truck types. Not only did this simplify the engine replacement process, it also allowed for most of the prep-work to be done before the trucks came in for repair, which greatly reduced the downtime associated with engine change outs.

This re-designed process decreased truck downtime for engine replacement by 82%. This raised productivity and hit service targets, all without capital expansion of the fleet or the maintenance shop. The result gave the company confidence they could overcome any challenging problem they faced. This confidence helped the company overcome other barriers as they continued increasing production to reach their output goal.

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