International News

Applying JIT principles to conveyor maintenance

Just in time (JIT) is a production strategy that strives to improve a business’ return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.

It is a type of operations management approach that originated in Japan in the 1950s. It was adopted by Toyota and other Japanese manufacturing firms, with excellent results, as they raised productivity through the elimination of waste.

To meet JIT objectives, the process relies on signals between different points in the supply chain that tell production when to make the next part. These signs can be simple visual signals, such as the presence or absence of stock or, in the extractive industry, stockpiles of quarried material. Implemented correctly, JIT focuses on continuous improvement and can raise a site’s return on investment, quality and efficiency. To achieve continuous improvement, key areas of focus could be material flow throughput rates, and availability and quality/cost of labour resources.

{{image2-a:r-w:250}}In an extensive report published in August 2014 – Mining for Efficiency – that took into consideration the past 20 years of operating performance data and represented 47 million operating hours, PriceWaterhouseCoopers found the industry’s equipment care and maintenance were inadequate.

The report found operational productivity was heavily dependent on the way people acted and it concluded that a better maintained piece of equipment could deliver a five to 10 per cent output improvement, and changes in work maintenance practices could deliver more than 20 per cent gains, often at little or no cost.

“Sites that had clear cost or volume strategies often articulated equipment-specific targets that led to significantly better performance during both boom and bust periods,” the report said.

This reinforces that the benefits of JIT productivity rely on a change in attitude and the execution of more preventative maintenance practices that have effective, quick solutions. Problems can then be resolved more productively when dealt with as part of longer term equipment upgrades.

The potential of JIT productivity goals and planned preventative equipment maintenance capabilities have recently been addressed by national conveyor equipment and parts supplier Kinder & Co, with the introduction of a range of material flow wear and repair products that rely on the latest magnetic technology.


The K-Magna-Patch is a reusable, magnetically fastened polymer patch that provides cost-effective, instant, “on the fly” repair to steel equipment used anywhere in the transfer of conveyed bulk material.

{{image3-a:r-w:250}}It provides a quick and secure maintenance solution for holes in steel pipes, elbows, silos, chutes, bins, hoppers and other steel equipment subjected to abrasion. K-Magna-Patch flexible elastomeric products come in three types (standard, elbow and mini) to suit all emergency response and spill containment situations, ensuring overall productivity strategies can be achieved.

Being designed and engineered using a purposeful, highly visible and anti-abrasive material means any repairs made to keep production going are not going to be overlooked, and can be scheduled as part of a permanent maintenance program.

The K-Magna-Patch uses a rubber pad on the inside against the area to be sealed, providing a quick and efficient solution to leaks without the need for further welding or gouging of equipment, which can create fire hazard complications.

“Since its introduction, the K-Magna-Patch has received much industry interest,” Kinder & Co’s founder Neil Kinder said.

“While magnets are not new, these use the latest technology and are also completely abrasion-resistant, even for the harshest heavy impact areas. The fact they are also entirely reusable makes this repair product a very cost-effective and essential emergency back-up option for many of our customers. As the industry is currently facing some of the most challenging times in its history, there is a growing need to make equipment last longer.”

There are two other products in the magnetic K-Magna range: the K-Magna-Skin and the K-Magna Plate. When bolt-on liners rust and are difficult to remove without cutting, making it impractical to reposition them as they wear, these other

K-Magna products stretch the life of lining products, utilising quick and easy magnetic installation.



1. PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Mining for Efficiency. August 2014.


Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend