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Minimizing Downtime in Mining Operations



September 20, 2022 - Machine downtime has a major impact on profit and productivity in any mining operation. It is critical that mining companies have access to reliable heavy equipment and machinery 24/7 to achieve their objectives. Described as a duration the machine cannot work when needed, machine downtime has negative ripple effects for any industry.


There are numerous factors which contribute to heavy equipment such as mining shovels breaking down. Poor maintenance or mechanical failure are top of the list, leading to a significant reduction in productivity. To curb downtime and ensure operations run smoothly and profitably, it is imperative that operators consider the following:

Higher operating weight and bucket

A mining shovel with higher operating weight results in better stability and durability. Furthermore, bigger bucket capacity is key in improving productivity in shot rock. A bigger bucket capacity has a direct impact on the number of passes per truck.  Examples of such equipment include the newly improved Cat® 6015 hydraulic mining shovel. The shovel’s higher power output makes it the fastest machine in its size class. Combining the bigger bucket and higher engine power output makes the Cat® 6015 more productive in its size class when compared to its competitors.

Optimised hydraulics

The Caterpillar hydraulic oil cooling system is independent of engine cooling and includes a hydraulically driven variable speed fan, providing cooling on demand to maintain optimum hydraulic fluid temperature and maximize fuel economy. This system helps protect and extend the life of hydraulic components.

Realize faster boom movements and cycle times with boom lowering float valves. The boom float valve reduces demand from hydraulic pumps by using gravity to lower the boom thus increasing efficiency and enables pumps to support other functions simultaneously. This technology reduces demand from the engine and thus improving fuel efficiency.

Data to enable pro-activity

The Cat® 6015 allows miners to connect to MineStar™ with Product Link Elite, which comes standard with the machine. The use of Terrain enables precision management of loading operations to increase productivity.

Miners benefit from working with heavy equipment which offer analytical capabilities. Equipment needs to have sensors that empower the operator with data and information to be proactive. Data about the health of the machine, monitoring its performance and the ability to diagnose any issues or possible setbacks.