MechChem Africa

Shesby Chabay, HOD of operations for WearCheck Zambia, describes the results of a case study on the ten-year and ongoing oil analysis programme being implemented at Zambia Sugar.

WearCheck serves as a key stakeholder for Zambia Sugar’s mission to be ‘a world-class and efficient, low-cost producer, whilst achieving balanced and integrated economic, social and environmental performance’. Throughout WearCheck’s decade-long partnership with the sugar producer, there has been a constant drive to instill best practice in the sugar producer’s maintenance culture. This, complemented by Zambia Sugar’s crusade for continuous improvement, has yielded very positive results in concrete key performance areas.

Maintenance savings sweeten Zambias sugar industry

A cane loader at Zambia Sugar Estates. Where oil analysis discovers an imminent problem, the workshop responds by taking timely corrective action to avert the risk of catastrophic failure.

A general challenge facing the agricultural industry is the need to increase crop yields from the existing fleet, at the lowest possible operating cost. Zambia Sugar is no exception. Hence the establishment of an oil analysis programme to improve the operating efficiency of the fleet and increase productivity – and positive returns on investment for the company are clearly demonstrated by savings of R2.8-million in the latest financial year.

The programme involves taking regular samples from the fleet’s oil-lubricated components (engines, transmissions, hydraulic systems and axles). These are analysed, imminent problems are identified, corrective action is prescribed by WearCheck’s diagnosticians and Zambia Sugar’s maintenance workshop takes timely corrective action to addressing the root cause of identified problems, thus enhancing fleet availability and reliability throughout the agricultural season.

WearCheck’s technical support team meets the agricultural workshop team every month to discuss critical issues and trends and to assist in the implementation of maintenance recommendations.

This case study examines sampling compliance, the findings for the season, actions and feedback, cost savings, as well as the recommendations for the next agricultural season.

Click here to download the full article in PDF format.

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