Mining ventilation fans are critical pieces of equipment, used to supply adequate oxygen to personnel, dilute and exhaust dangerous gasses in the underground mine and are required to extract smoke and fumes from equipment. Improper underground ventilation creates health problems and can reduce the efficiency of personnel and cause an increase in the frequency of accidents
The ventilation fans at the mine were monitored by VROC AI to ensure high reliability and to predict any degradation or potential failures before they happen.
In this case, a ventilation fan started showing moderate and then severe degradation in the fan outlet pressure. Shortly following the outlet pressure degradation, the fan started showing severe degradation on the fan vane position feedback which is representative of the actual vane position.
With this information, the engineers investigate the fan vanes and positioner to determine the cause of the degradation. They found that the linkage between the actuator and the vanes themselves had rusted and was preventing the fan vanes from being adjusted to the correct position. Maintenance personnel ordered the replacement parts and planned a shutdown to replace the faulty parts. After replacing the faulty linkage, the ventilation fan went back into normal operation.
- VROC notified operations personnel of the issue 3 days before the vent fan was repaired
- Minimal downtime was experienced (and was a planned activity)
- Repairs conducted as a planned activity with both Operations and Maintenance aware of the requirements
- The root cause of the issue was correctly predicted prior to the shutdown and confirmed during the repairs
- After the fan was put back into service, the repairs were confirmed to have been successful
- Estimated savings of $700,000 for this incident