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New filters achieve major cost benefits

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World Coal,

A filter optimisation programme carried out by Cummins Filtration and Komatsu at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine in Queensland has realised major cost savings through use of new-technology Fleetguard filters to extend service intervals/


Cost savings of 60% through reduced filter and oil consumption alone were confirmed following a 12-month field test involving a Komatsu 830E haul truck powered by a Cummins QSK60 HPI engine. Applied to the fleet of 14 Komatsu 830E trucks at the Dawson mine, savings in excess of US$220 000 per year will be realised, while slashing downtime for servicing by 74%, or 439 hrs. Add reduced labour costs resulting from these reduced servicing hours and total savings will exceed US$250 000 across the fleet of 14 trucks.

All 14 Komatsu 830E trucks have since been fitted with the new-technology filters. The Dawson mine project was part of a global programme by Cummins Filtration aimed at delivering cost reductions to mining companies in the wake of plummeting commodity prices. “Our objective with the Dawson field test was to demonstrate that new-technology Fleetguard filters provide both better protection and lower total cost of ownership for mine operators,” said Gary Ross, Director – Global High-Horsepower Business at Cummins Filtration.

The testing confirmed a service life of 1000 hours or greater for all primary filter products. In all cases, the historical filter service intervals at the mine for the Komatsu 830E were exceeded. For example, conventional fuel filters were being changed every 500 hrs. The target interval for the field trial with new technology filters was 1000 hrs, while the actual interval achieved was 3316 hrs. A new interval of 2000 hrs was set to fit in with existing servicing strategies.

New service intervals were also established for the:

  • Lube oil filter of 1000 hrs (previously 500 hrs)
  • Lube oil of 1000 hrs (previously 500 hrs)
  • Fuel filter of 2000 hrs (previously 500 hrs)
  • Air filters of 2000 hrs (previously 1000 hrs)
  • Water filters of 4000 hrs (previously 500 hrs)

The new Fleetguard filters fitted on the test truck to achieve the extended service intervals were:

  • Dual Tall Industrial Pro fuel/water separators with NanoNet media.
  • A SpiraTec rotor for the Cummins Eliminator centrifugal oil filtration system.
  • NanoForce air filters.
  • ES (Extended Service) water filters.

“The field testing was carried out scientifically so there could be no doubts about the validity of the results,” said Ross. Data loggers and pressure transducers were fitted to the air, fuel and lube oil filtration systems. Pressure readings along with truck operational data from the engine electronic control module (ECM) (load factors, fuel consumption etc.) were downloaded at 5 sec. intervals for live monitoring by Cummins engineers. An alarm system, on detecting any potential issues, notified onsite personnel. Both laboratory and onsite analysis of the filters, fuel and oil was also carried out to confirm media integrity, oil stability and fuel cleanliness levels.

John Soar, principal mechanical engineer for Anglo American Coal Australia Asset Management, confirms the validity of the testing. He says the testing was innovative and showed the new technology filters provide “exceptional enhancements at basically no additional cost.”

“It is always best with testing such as this to have the OEMs involved,” Soar said. “There was a lot of value in us being able to work with Komatsu and Cummins.”

Scott Keevers, Komatsu 830E fleet project manager at the Dawson mine, was the site person responsible for the field test and subsequent implementation of the new service intervals. “The post-implementation cost savings for the fleet to date are consistent with the field test data and advertised benefits,” he confirms.

Warren Smith, a man with extensive experience working for mining companies and contractors in Australia before joining Cummins Filtration as Global Mining Program Manager, believes a new era has arrived in maintenance cost reduction through use of new technology products. He said that trials around the world have proven that using oil analysis, data loggers with telematics support and visual inspections, service intervals for new-technology filters can be extended to suit the equipment and environment on each customer’s site.

“Some of these trials have delivered results beyond our 1,000-hour target, and the customers have seen the benefit in a significant reduction in parts cost and maintenance time,” Smith said.

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