By EnSerSa

In any industry that operates mechanical equipment, the objective of maintenance and reliability is to uphold the capability of the system while controlling costs. In minerals processing, this becomes a critical function as mechanical reliability drives production.

The need to manage and maintain the vast amount of equipment on plants effectively cannot be overstated. Each piece of equipment has its own unique maintenance needs which can vary drastically. Maintenance activities must, therefore, take cognisance of these requirements and function to keep a system’s equipment in working order, while increasing repair capability.

According to Louw Grobler, an Engineer at Ensersa, a Minopex subsidiary, maintenance is done to ensure that all plant installed equipment operates to its maximum lifecycle, as recommended by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). “This means that the equipment must run and not fail before the expected/designed lifecycle has come to an end.”

Why Predictive Maintenance?

Grobler believes that achieving this requires a predictive approach. “When it comes to pipe maintenance, for example, the key is to predict and prevent potential failure before it happens. This counteracts a reactive approach, empowering the team to attend to the problem upfront, ensuring equipment availability and required production results are achieved through a proper executed process.”

In this sector, downtime, result in significant financial and productivity losses, as well as increasing the safety risk due to unplanned repairs. “A production site should be running 24/7 to ensure a stable process operation. With predictive planned maintenance stoppages this can be controlled, which will ensure for a safe well executed asset care model.”

The Process of Predictive Maintenance

“Predictive pipe maintenance is achieved through an effective asset management model,” confirms Grobler, adding that this entails:

  • Measuring, inspecting, real time monitoring, recording and analysing history
  • Employing instrumentation and control systems and instruments to detect out of spec conditions
  • Using this information to make a calculated, strategic decision regarding what maintenance needs to be done, by when, to prevent failures

The Benefits of Predictive Maintenance

Grobler adds that there are various, powerful business benefits achieved by taking a proactive approach to maintenance:

  • With no unplanned downtime, business strategies are achieved
  • It drives accurate and safe executions
  • Improved availability and reduced cost benefits abound

Maintenance Expertise for Improved Proactivity

Grobler believes that planned shutdown maintenance activities should be outsourced to specialised external contractors, which will bring a great level of expertise and enhanced benefits to the table, which drive improved proactivity:

  • Specialised skills
  • Dedicated effective and efficient individual executions
  • Reduced the day-to-day operational maintenance staff
  • Improved detailed maintenance planning
  • “No work no pay”

Innovation and Technology for Greater Predictability

“When the actual condition of the equipment can be determined quickly, and accurately, proper planned predictive maintenance becomes a much easier function to manage,” says Grobler. “Thanks to innovative technology, we are in a better position to determine what needs to be done when with accurate analyses.”

Driving Predictive Maintenance in Africa

Ensersa is in the process of becoming the exclusive agent of 2censor asset wear monitoring units across Africa. This will embolden local markets to embrace predictive maintenance, allowing for greater production output and safer operations across the continent.

“2censor Pty (Ltd) Australia has designed, fabricated and marketed an asset wear monitoring unit for the engineering processing plant market, that will allow real time wear detection in pipelines. The data can be seen on a dashboard, allowing predictive measures to be taken,” says Grobler.


Leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)

Internet-connected machinery is revolutionising the way plant assets are maintained. The advanced analytics platforms that process the data that is produced ensure a proactive approach can be taken, with near real-time insights into machinery performance.

2censor offers advanced remote monitoring solutions which drive predictive maintenance, using electronic telemetry with customised sensing probes and analysis software. These asset wear monitoring and temperature sensing systems track assets, provide trending, alarming, and data analytics, and effectively streamline efficiency.

Grobler confirms that 2censor’s continuous and automated offering offers the following benefits:

  • Minimise downtime by replacing failing equipment during scheduled maintenance periods
  • Reduce environmental risk by eliminating environmental breaches from pipe failures
  • Reduce labour costs by minimising labour intensive inspections and temporary patching
  • Known time to failure ensuring you’ll know in advance before a pipe bursts or a bearing fails

“We’re in no doubt that Ensersa’s partnership with 2censor will go a long way to ensure predictive maintenance solutions, engineered to fit Africa’s distinctive business needs, are available across the continent,” concludes Grobler.

For more information about Ensersa’s Maintenance Services, please contact Nandi Wheeler at