Metso Insights Case studies Mining and metals refining OEM partnership improves crusher production efficiency up to 98%
Dec 20, 2021

OEM partnership improves crusher production efficiency up to 98%

On-site crusher expertise and optimization improves availability and reduces maintenance.
crusher efficiency

In any large mining operation, the crusher circuit is vital to the throughput of the mine, so crusher efficiency, reliability and uptime is of vital importance to business profitability.

A Western Australian iron ore mine had been experiencing less-than-desirable availability of some of its tertiary crushers, with their reliability degrading over time. The site operated numerous Metso Outotec MP 1000 cone crushers, which had been in operation for more than 15 years.

Since 2017, the reliability of the crushers had been in decline, and at times had experienced catastrophic crusher failures. The issues were compounded by a lack of on-site technical crusher expertise and not having critical parts available when needed, thereby affecting reliability. With an accumulating maintenance debt, predictive maintenance was not feasible.

For the previous two years, third-party service providers had been providing technical support, wear and spare parts, but with the significant decline in performance, the mine decided to engage the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Metso Outotec. The mine saw that without the expertise and experience of the OEM, it was challenging to understand the complex intricacies of the crusher technology, and third-party providers could only really help with individual problems as they arose.

mp1000 cone crusher

Peace of mind for the customer

In 2021 Metso Outotec was engaged to firstly perform an audit of the crushers and propose the most economical way to standardize and upgrade the crushers, and to optimize wear and spare parts availability and utilization.

The 3-year contract included providing a Metso Outotec crusher expert on-site for ongoing consulting services and managing all aspects of the crusher maintenance and repair. The technician was also to provide ongoing training and skills transfer to on-site staff.

Importantly, the contract also involved Metso Outotec as the preferred supplier for wear and spare parts and repairs, ensuring optimal parts compatibility and a guaranteed wear and spare parts supply chain. Metso Outotec wear and spare parts are designed specifically to ensure optimal safety and reliability from their crushers and are subject to rigorous quality assurance processes.

By using Metso Outotec warranted wear and spare parts, combined with our OEM repairs, Metso Outotec had then full ownership and could guarantee optimal crusher performance.  Rigorous commitments in the form of KPIs (including uptime, reliability and availability) were made by Metso Outotec.  Through this guarantee of optimal crusher performance, the customer could have complete peace of mind.

Crusher optimization improves production efficiency and reduces opex

The Metso Outotec embedded crusher expert saw a number of ways to not only improve crusher availability, but also save significantly on operational expenses and improve efficiency.

General optimization of the cone crushers involves finding the best balance between three set points: the amperage, the choke setting and closed side settings. The technician optimized these set points which ultimately improved machine production efficiency to 90-98% (ie production efficiency which excludes standby and down time).

Metso Outotec’s chamber optimization services were also engaged: ore samples and crusher performance were analyzed, resulting in chamber optimization with correct liner profiles.

wear and spare parts

Rotable spares using entire assemblies, reducing inventory

The mine had also been looking at the cost of repairing and upgrading its worst-performing crusher, but after examining the scope of the project, Metso Outotec instead proposed the purchase of a new crusher as a rotable spare. One crusher at a time would be replaced with the new assembly, and the old assembly would be shipped to Metso Outotec’s facility in Perth, Western Australia, to be refurbished and upgraded in a controlled environment after which it is returned to site as the new spare.

Using a crusher assembly rotation process in this way overcomes the difficulties with repairing crushers on a remote mine site that doesn’t have the technical expertise on-site to perform in-depth reconstruction or repairs. Instead, the installation of an entire assembly is much more feasible. It also significantly reduces worker safety risk by moving the repair work to the controlled workshop environment of Metso Outotec.

Metso Outotec’s recommendation to purchase of a new crusher assembly also represented a significant cost saving when compared to the cost of repair.

As the machines are repaired and eventually refurbished, they are also upgraded to the latest design. This latest design not only helps deliver optimal performance but also helps improve commonality of parts. Over time the fleet will have total part commonality, making parts easier to order and manage – and to the latest design.

Optimized crushing leads to greater availability

A comparison of the throughput for three crushers for three months before and after optimization showed an average capacity improvement of 16%. On-site crusher expertise and the resulting optimization means that the site now uses fewer crushers to deliver the same throughput, but with an option to increase should all crushers be required. The optimized and upgraded crushers have since been delivering greater availability to site.

The mine is now also beginning to benefit from a reduced wear and spare parts inventory due to the ongoing crusher standardization, while at the same time reducing maintenance costs overall with a predictable and optimized maintenance cycle.

Having a Metso Outotec expert on-site has allowed for ongoing upskilling. Working closely with the fitters and maintenance personnel on weekly inspections and providing hands-on training and classroom sessions helps the teams identify faults quicker, understand which wears and spares to source, and to better understand the crushing process.

CHALLENGE: Low crusher availability impacting throughput, Crusher failures, Lack of available critical spare parts, Lack of spare part commonality
SOLUTION: Embedded crusher expertise from Metso Outotec, Crusher optimization, Rotable spare assembly refurbishment program, On site staff upskilling
BENEFIT: Optimized throughput and up to 98% efficiency, Crushing circuit capable of increased throughput as required, Standardized spare parts, Workshop repairs reduce safety risks
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