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New maintenance model increases productivity in mines

Published: 12 August 2020

The harsh working environment in the mines wears heavily on materials and machinery with high maintenance costs as a result. Researchers at Luleå University of Technology have in the Harshwork project developed a model that will facilitate material selection and maintenance, which in turn can reduce downtime and increase productivity.

– The research will provide an opportunity to optimize material selection and geometries for improved service life of industrial equipment such as buckets used when loading ore. If we succeed, materials and equipment can be used much longer and more efficiently, maintenance costs are reduced and production can be increased, says Pär Jonsén, professor at Luleå University of Technology.

The model contributes to a better understanding

One of the calculation examples in the study is Boliden's loader (flax digger) in the Aitik mine in Gällivare. The teeth of the buckets are hard worn by ore and waste rock and with laser scanning, the wear of the material has been followed and a unique data base has been obtained. Since then, models of the process have been built that further increase understanding.

–  The passage of time is complex, but we have a good correlation between reality, experiments and our model. It strongly contributes to an understanding of how the material behaves, says Pär Jonsén.

Funded by EIT RawMaterials

The Harshwork project has been awarded € 1.56 million from EIT RawMaterials, a consortium initiated by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) and funded by the European Commission.

– The financing from RawMaterials is absolutely necessary to carry out measurements and development on a full-scale scale and to then be able to take this to industrial application. In general, there are few opportunities to obtain funding for applied research in this industrial industry, says Pär Jonsén and notes that the consortium has also opened doors to new partners in the project.

– In the project, we collaborate with Boliden and LKAB and also seven other partners in Finland and Spain that we have been in contact with via EIT RawMaterials.

The ultimate goal is to produce a forecasting tool that can be used by both designers and maintenance planners.


Pär Jonsén

Jonsén, Pär - Head of Division

Organisation: Solid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Phone: +46 (0)920 493460