Extending Component Life on Heavy Mining Equipment

Tags: oil analysis

A Komatsu WA 600 engine was tested at the Sishen Mine in South Africa, and the expected life on all the main components (engine, transmission and final drives) was 15,000 hours.

Tribology applications, condition monitoring, contamination control and proactive maintenance are regarded as continual support functions to help maintenance progress.

With support from the equipment supplier, the correct filters and lubricants were selected for our dry, dusty environment. We installed 15 micron beta 200 inline filters on the engine, a standard on our engines. On the transmission, a 6 micron beta 200 filter was installed. The target cleanliness for transmissions is ISO 14/12 (ISO 4406). On the final drives, we used a mobile bypass filter unit to help circulate and clean the oil during services. The hydraulic filter used was a 10 micron beta 200 with high flow rates, with a target cleanliness of ISO 15/13, and with OEM cleanliness standards at ISO 18/16 for transmissions and hydraulics. Our in-house oil laboratory was used to perform regular oil analysis in order to closely monitor the performance of the machine.

It was planned to run the machine for 15,000 hours and then send it to the supplier for a complete rebuild.

After 15,000 hours, oil analysis results revealed that the machine was still in good condition. A decision was made to run the machine up to 20,000 hours. After 20,000 hours, the machine was still in good condition and inspections were done by using a borescope to inspect the condition of the engine components, final drive gears and transmission clutch plates.

The timing gear on a Komatsu WA 600 engine shows minor wear.
The timing gear on a Komatsu WA 600 engine shows minor wear.

After approval from the supplier, the machine was run up to 28,000 hours.

The oil lab onsite enables the monitoring of the remaining useful life of lubricants. Further benefits are accrued by simultaneously monitoring other vital signs of machine health and oil condition such as wear, lubricant contamination, wrong oil, etc.

Good injector spray patterns resulted in a minimum carbon build up. The injectors can last for up to 28,000 hours, an indication of good clean fuel.
The pistons on the Komatsu WA 600 show no abnormal wear on the skirts.


Good injector spray patterns resulted in a minimum carbon build up. The injectors can last for up to 28,000 hours, an indication of good clean fuel.

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