Performance studies have shown that repair and refurbishment can increase the life of heavy plant equipment for around 60% of the cost of a new replacement. The decision to repair rather than replace heavy plant equipment is a preference made by most businesses in the industry and this is no exception for Banks Mining at its Shotton Surface Mine.

Part of the County Durham-headquartered Banks Group, Banks Mining has been developing, operating and restoring surface coal mines in a modern, safe, responsible and efficient way throughout the north of England and Scotland to the highest possible standards for more than four decades.

Banks Mining have been extracting coal at Shotton since 2008 and currently mines around one million tonnes of coal per year. With a daily output of up to 190 coal wagons, the Shotton site is operating at maximum capacity. Maintaining the high output levels requires an extensive and well planned maintenance schedule particularly for the mine’s fleet of dump trucks and 14 CAT 785 skips, which are used to move overburden in the mine. Over time the skip is exposed to heavy wear and tear and to extend the lifespan of their fleet Banks Mining have initiated a refurbishment programme.

The first stage of the fleet refurbishment programme was to complete a full overhaul of a 150t CAT 785 skip. This task fell to local mining and construction attachment specialist Miller UK, who have over forty years of experience in the mining repairs sector. Miller UK’s dedicated repair centre, headed up by Conor Thompson have developed a bespoke overhaul programme specifically for Banks Mining which included a comprehensive full dumper body inspection and a scheduled overhaul timeframe in only eight weeks.

“This was a big job with lots of challenges and we have used all of our expertise to carry out a full overhaul of the skip to meet the specific site requirements for Banks. The body design has been optimised for maximising wear ability, strength and reliability over the lifetime of the skip,” says Miller’s Specialist Products Division Manager, Conor Thompson. “Our customers count on our dependability and expertise and we take great pride in delivering on our commitments.”

During the eight week refurbishment the CAT 785 skip overhaul included a full internal reline, new external panels, canopy, duck tail and undersides manufactured with high strength steel and lined with Hardox. In addition to the replacement of key structural points of the body, there was severe cracking on most underside bolsters which were gouged out and re-welded before the skip was fully painted. Upon completion, the newly installed lifting points where fully checked and certified before the skip was lifted by two 60t cranes provided by Mammoet onto a low loader provided by Hubbway Hire and escorted back to the coal mine in Northumberland.

Thanks to Miller, Banks Mining was able to reduce machine downtime and get the 150t machine promptly back into action.

“This was a large and complex repair and it made sense for us to use Miller’s expertise for this project. They offered us a free onsite inspection as well as an impressively quick turnaround, which has helped us to reduce our downtime”, says Andrew Palmer, plant supervisor at Banks Mining.

“Miller offers a fantastic repair service and boasts a wide skill-set, while it’s also a positive for us that they are a fellow north east company, as working with them ties in with our policy of investing in the local supply chain wherever possible’. We have been so happy with the job that they have done, we got a second CAT 785 skip collected by Miller and work has begun for another full overhaul.”