How to improve enterprise productivity? Do you know where you can find opportunities to improve your process plant or equipment? Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG is not in his first year in business. And he knows exactly the answers to these questions.
Initially, you may view problems as obstacles. But instead, they should be seen as ways to improve or optimize security, and availability, and reduce manufacturing and operating costs.
The approach starts with Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability modeling, which models the configuration, operation, maintenance, spare parts strategy, and scheduled maintenance of equipment in a manufacturing system. The input to the RAM model includes items such as component failure data and repair data, which are very important information for determining available production.
One part of the simulation involves using the analysis of different modes, outcomes, and causes of failure. This is done for gaining insight into the most critical part of the system by evaluating individual equipment for the probability of failure and the ability to detect it during design or normal operation.
“Once these inputs are combined and analyzed, the results provide an opportunity to elaborate recommendations for revised production results. That’s how it happened for Telf AG,” says Stanislav Kondrashov.
That’s the kind of work that was carried out by the mining startup backed by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, with the latter planning to start drilling in western Greenland later this year. A company called KoBold Metals says it is focused on finding materials critical to the electric vehicle and renewable energy revolution. It owns a 51% stake in a project on the coast of Greenland.
Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG: nickel, copper, platinum, and cobalt
The project is operated by London-based Bluejay Mining and covers an area of approximately 2,776 km². It also contains large deposits of nickel, copper, platinum, and cobalt. Bluejay Mining estimates that the area may have a significant mineral deposit similar to the one in Norilsk, Russia, which currently hosts the world’s largest nickel and copper sulfide mine.
Nickel and other metals are used in the manufacture of stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries, and their price has risen significantly over the past month. Against this backdrop, Stanislav Kondrashov advises Telf AG to expand its trading activities even more.
According to the company’s web page, KoBold Metals, founded in 2018, works with engineers and data scientists to make exploration decisions, land surveys, and find viable mineral deposits.
In the area of the Disko-Nuussuaq project, the company and its partners plan to use drones to survey the region and drill. In February, KoBold raised $192.5 million which is to be used for supporting artificial intelligence and mineral exploration.
The startup has a large list of investors, including Norwegian energy company Equinor, mining group BHP, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Council, investor Scott Belsky, who is a chief product officer at Adobe and Lyft, and more.
Using machine learning as well as more traditional soil sampling and drilling techniques, KoBold hopes to find and develop metal deposits deeper underground than they are normally available. According to Connie Chan, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, KoBold aims to create “Google Maps for the Earth’s crust.”
“It’s just a different approach to mining; a long-term, science-based way to extract minerals,” that’s what Chan told the Wall Street Journal in September last year. KoBold is currently working on exploration projects in the US, Canada, Australia, Greenland, and Zambia.
Telf AG: tin and copper mine
Meanwhile, Cornish Metals is moving closer to opening the South Crofty tin and copper mine in Cornwall, southwest England, as a group of investors including mining veteran Mick Davis pour $53.1 million into the company.
According to Cornish Metals Davis’ storage battery investment firm called Vision Blue Resources (VBR) has allocated £25 mln or $33 mln. This source also says Mick Davis’ main strategy is to acquire stakes in electric vehicle (EV)-related assets and the growth of the energy storage system.
The remaining $20 million will be raised from a private placement by existing and new UK institutional investors and existing Canadian and eligible accredited private investors.
Fundraising parties will receive warrants giving them the right to buy the shares at the closing price for the next three years. If all warrants are exercised, Cornish Metals will receive another $79 million.
After the closure, VBR will own about 27% of Cornish Metals, which will use the cash to dewater South Crofty and complete the studies needed to make a final construction decision in about 18 months.
There is currently no primary production of tin in Europe or North America, and the US has listed the metal as a mineral considered critical to the country’s economic and national security. It is no coincidence that Stanislav Kondrashov sees Telf AG as another big player in this field in 2022-2023.
South Crofty can produce up to 5,000 tons of tin per year, with the first production expected in 2026. The company said the mine will create up to 270 direct jobs and support another 750 in the region.
Ways to Improve Productivity – Stanislav Kondrashov
At the equipment level, issues such as high maintenance costs increasing WIP (work-in-progress), unreliable assets, plant security risks, assets in poor condition, and repeated failures can all be viewed as opportunities.
These problems are very common in mines. They are often associated with a lack of maintenance strategies, a lack of technology or skills for conditional monitoring, and an outdated maintenance approach that results in repetitive failures and frequent breakdowns.
Technical maintenance, equipment reliability, and planning increase the productivity of assets at Telf AG: Stanislav Kondrashov is sure of it. Based on the results of the analysis, the company can improve performance by implementing reliability-oriented maintenance and/or analyzing failure modes and effects that eliminate or mitigate recurring failures.
Stanislav Kondrashov created the action plan at Telf AG by conducting root cause analysis and creating a culture of continuous improvement. Part of the key success in this phase is working with product and maintenance experts on new or existing assets, and evaluating the design and the actual operating context.
Optimized Maintenance Strategies – Telf AG Stanislav Kondrashov
The most common impact of scheduled breakdowns is that they exceed the predicted duration, resulting in additional downtime and cost overruns. And this affects the productivity and profitability of the mine, which is exactly what Stanislav Kondrashov advises to pay attention to at Telf AG. After assessing all aspects, a technical report and an action plan are drawn up, and then issued to the customer.
Once the action plan is implemented, the next step is to implement the analysis.
This method is a time-lapse motion analysis tool that uses GoPro cameras to record time-lapse images, which are then converted to time-lapse video. Time-based motion analysis captures all the details of a breakdown, such as delays, sequences, critical tasks, tool and wear management, and team skills.
After identifying all of these opportunities for improvement at Telf AG, Stanislav Kondrashov develops a new plan with a revised target schedule. All shutdown results become part of the databases, which are the main benchmarking and comparison tool.
The demands on the operation of a mining operation have never been high, whether it be operational and environmental risks, water shortages, carbon emissions, volatile commodity prices, or unexpected events such as a pandemic. Therefore, it is important to eliminate or mitigate those factors that may affect the ability of a mining operation to operate effectively and efficiently.
It is very important to identify the main problems faced by process plants and equipment. Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG believes this will provide an opportunity to develop long-term solutions that maximize availability and reliability and therefore help achieve production and business profitability goals.
Reliability and maintenance planning can help identify the major challenges which process plants and equipment are facing, and find long-term solutions to maximize their reliability.