Uralkali introduces a mobile inspection system for process equipment

20.04.2020

Uralkali (the Company; Moscow Exchange: URKA), one of the world’s largest potash producers, has launched the commercial operation of a digital system for monitoring the condition of production equipment via mobile inspections. The technology was piloted at Berezniki-4 plant, and the system is now being introduced across all of the Company’s plants. The full rollout of the technology is expected to be completed in 2021.

Mobile inspections enable technical staff at the Company’s processing plants to monitor the technical condition of equipment on a shift basis, using smartphones and portable vibration meters that can also measure temperature. Data on equipment vibration and temperature levels is sent to smartphones via Bluetooth. The technology recognises electronic NFC (Near Field Communication) tags on the production equipment and the inspection data is transmitted from smartphones to the database via Wi-Fi. Once the data has been gathered, further analysis of the vibration and temperature levels at production equipment units can be carried out using SafePlant software; based on a corporate information system, the Company has developed a specific module for recording defects and issuing repair orders in accordance with the results of the mobile inspections.

The dedicated mobile application used for recording the monitoring data is a proprietary development of Uralkali and a part of the equipment reliability control system introduced within the Company.

This system has made it possible to centralise information on the technical condition of equipment in a single database, control the frequency and quality of inspections, and improve the completeness of equipment condition data and the speed of response to malfunctions.

Dmitry Ivanov, Uralkali Deputy Technical Director for Repairs and Production Assets Management, commented:

The introduction of a mobile inspections system for monitoring the technical condition of production equipment is important in helping us ensure the reliability of the Company’s production assets. This system brings the monitoring process of the technical condition and diagnostics of equipment to a new level, boosting the efficiency of our maintenance and repair management systems.

Thanks to the new system, we have recorded a reduction in unscheduled technical downtime of equipment. In 2019, at Berezniki-4 plant alone, product losses relating to unscheduled downtime decreased by 46% year-on-year.

Reference:

As part of the mobile inspection project, the technical staff of three of Uralkali’s sylvinite processing plants and one carnallite processing plant use 78 smartphones on a shift basis to monitor the condition of equipment, in addition to 64 vibration meters to measure vibration and temperature, and 18 pyrometers for non-contact temperature measurement. There are 56 Wi-Fi hotspots and around 3180 NFC tags at the Company’s plants. In total, 2174 technological items are included in the mobile inspection system. All this allows online collection and transmission of information on the technical condition of equipment.

Uralkali (www.uralkali.com) is one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters. The Company’s assets consist of 5 mines and 7 ore treatment plants in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Region, Russia). Uralkali employs more than 12,000 people in the main production unit. Uralkali’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange.

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Cardinal rules

Smoking in mines is prohibited.
Work at heights without wearing a safety harness is prohibited.
Work in electrical installations under voltage is prohibited.
It is forbidden to perform work and stay in the bottomhole zone during the operation of the mining machine.
Loading and unloading operations when people are in the danger zone are prohibited.
Working in underground mines with unsecured and/or unassembled roofing is prohibited.
It is forbidden to carry out repairs and maintenance of conveyors without disconnecting from energy sources, use of conveyors for transfer of people and goods (materials and/or equipment), crossing (either above or under) operating conveyors by employees are not allowed.
It is forbidden to carry out welding and flame work in underground mines and mine buildings without the necessary safety measures preventing fire.