• Rio Tinto Kennecott Mitigates Risk and Increases Productivity with APM

Challenge

Rio Tinto Kennecott (referred to as Kennecott), one of the largest copper producers in the United States, has been a fixture in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah for more than 100 years. In 2011, Kennecott began an initiative to consolidate its instrument valve data and update its existing operator rounds process to increase employee productivity.

The mine had various data types and collection methods from different siloed sources, including manual collection processes, operator round collections, its computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), production loss accounting tools, and process historians, which only certain users were trained to access. Further, data was collected at varying frequencies, including real-time, continuous collection as well as less frequent, event-based collection. 

Solution

In partnership with Emerson, Meridium (which was acquired by GE Digital in September 2016) worked with Kennecott to develop and implement a new APM program—enabling intelligent asset strategies. The first step included Emerson’s asset management software suite that collected health information from smart instruments in the plant, such as control valves, and data from process historians.

This system directly feeds into the APM system to show reliability engineers and operators the red, yellow, and green health indicators from assets. To prioritize maintenance needs amidst the thousands of health indicators in the system, Kennecott developed a reliability centered maintenance (RCM) approach using the APM solution.

Kennecott also performed a criticality analysis on its equipment to drill down to the system or individual equipment level. Then using RCM, the reliability engineers grouped health indicators into three main categories:

  • Restoration
  • Replacement or redesign
  • No action needed

Using condition-based health data and criticality as two weighting criteria, Kennecott grouped asset health factors into the policy manager capability of APM to run calculations and identify equipment that had health indicators now reporting on a failure mode level.

Operators were also able to view different areas within a physical plant to assess the lowest health level in that plant, while receiving critical asset health information anytime, anywhere with mobile APM technology.

“It’s easy to get into the weeds and get lost in the sea of data that’s coming in. Fail fast. Learn from your mistakes and continue moving on. Don’t be afraid to fail in new things you’re trying to do and information you’re trying to share with people,” says Daniel Plaizier, Senior Reliability Engineer, Rio Tinto Kennecott.

“It’s easy to get into the weeds and get lost in the sea of data that’s coming in. Fail fast. Learn from your mistakes and continue moving on. Don’t be afraid to fail in new things you’re trying to do and information you’re trying to share with people.”

Results

With GE Digital’s APM, Kennecott has created a culture of reliability and increased asset and personnel productivity. The mine is able to create health numbers for its equipment, systems, and plants, and then display them in dashboards, so the team can drill down to find out exactly which asset is causing the problem.

For the first time, Kennecott can easily make use of the health indicator information and address concerns with a common language of failure modes and risks. 

 

Learn more about Asset Strategy Optimization.