Case Study: The Role of CBM Technology in Preventing Equipment Failure

Image sourced from Nyrstar Australia's Port Pirie Facebook Page

We recently received a great value capture here from the Nyrstar Australia - Port Pirie team. The case study showcases their commitment to Industry 4.0 initiatives - rolling out #IIoT technologies and investing in a condition based maintenance approach.

The following case study was shared in their internal Nyrstar (Port Pirie) July Newsletter:

The Role of Condition Based Maintenance Technology in Preventing Equipment Failures

Technology and Innovation is key at Nyrstar and includes implementing new systems, technologies and approaches to drive step change improvements in performance in all aspects of the business.
Nyrstar Case Study - Network Map
The Condition Monitoring Team Leader Paul Dibbens and his team Condition Monitoring Technicians Mick Camporeale and Kingsley Court led by Superintendent Reliability and Planning Londt Van Der Merwe explain how at Port Pirie we are using predictive, condition based maintenance, in particular MOVUS wireless technology, to improve the up-time and prolong the life of our equipment, in the process reducing maintenance costs.
The roll-out of MOVUS has begun and already shown its value.
Preventive (planned) maintenance strategies rely on performing particular operations (PMO1) on a set schedule through our work management system (SAP). The schedule itself can be based either on usage or time, or a combination of both. This schedule is rigorously followed, regardless of how much life is left in the equipment.
However, predictive (condition based) maintenance is to perform those tasks when they’re actually needed to ensure optimal uptime on the equipment. This generally means condition monitoring to ensure that maintenance on that equipment is triggered when assets meet specified predetermined conditions (vibration, temperature, etc).
Condition based monitoring is an important component in reliability and is used to predict potential failure trending to ensure optimal equipment availability.
Currently, there are two ways that condition based monitoring is carried out on our Port Pirie site:
  • For selected critical equipment, vibration and/or temperature sensors are permanently installed and wired to the plant control system for monitoring and protection of the equipment
  • For equipment without sensors installed, the Condition Monitoring Technicians will carry out in-field measurements on the equipment. They will then analyse this data and provide recommendations to the Maintenance team where necessary
Overall benefits of condition based monitoring include:
  • Increased up-time/reduced downtime
  • Reduction in/elimination of unplanned failures
  • Decreased maintenance costs
  • Increased asset life
  • Increased efficiency in maintenance practices and management

Nyrstar Case Study - Measured Data

Nyrstar Case Study - Alarm Detail Page


There is however, a lot of installed equipment that does not have the required hardware for on-line condition monitoring and the costs associated with resourcing up to monitor more equipment is simply prohibitive. There is also critical equipment that cannot be accessed by persons without taking the plant offline, e.g. Acid Plant. 


In this light, a decision was taken to procure and install MOVUS wireless technology on identified equipment within the various plants. Phase 1(2022) is to procure and install 500 sensors. The sensors connect to the plant WIFI system and transmit data to a Cloud based platform where the data can be viewed and analysed. The Machine Cloud platform displays the overall health and condition of the equipment based on measured parameters compared to base line data.

The MOVUS journey to date:
  • Condition Monitoring (CM) team engaged to manage the project
  • MOVUS team working closely with the CM team on sensor development to meet site needs and requirements
  • Key site rotating equipment analysed for wireless sensor deployment - 500 plant equipment selected. Sensor deployment program initiated by equipment criticality
  • Worked collaboratively with the IT/OT team to scope WiFi access points and commence with the installation of hardware to provide data transfer to cloud base software
  • Cloud base web page designed to display full site equipment dashboard health condition status
  • Equipment vibrations, temperature and acoustic data recorded every 15 mins and transferred to cloud every 4 hours on assets fitted with the MOVUS technology in
  • Changes in equipment "health" condition will trigger an alert via mobile phone SMS or email for inspection, early detection to allow planned correction
  • Equipment fault analysis available using MOVUS advanced data software, Spectrogram, waterfall plots, FFT velocity and acceleration spectrums
  • Operations, trades and support staff given access to MOVUS cloud base software for monitoring equipment in own area
While this project is still work in progress, there have already been numerous successes that demonstrate this technology is the way forward and plans to roll this out further are in progress.
  • Acid Plant IAT Pump: MOVUS alarmed on pump vibration bearing fault. The pump was changed during the next available planned down day
  • Plant process gas fans cleaning program changed to condition base not time base, MOVUS vibration trending alarming when fans need to be cleaned and inspected -F6/F9/F19/F7/F8 fans

Nyrstar Case Study - Home Page

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