Western Mining Uses Six Sigma to Reduce Downtime

As the holder and miner of Australia’s largest underground mine, the Western Mining Company has a lot on its plate.  As far as world rankings go, it is the eigth largest copper deposit and the largest uranium deposit in the world.   Because of its size and importance, it is vital to the success of the company that it remain online year round.  This has not been the case, however, in years past.  The company has persistantly had problems in keeping the rail system running, as well as inefficiencies in its data analysis.  It is for this reason that the company decided to incorporate the Six Sigma efficiency program.  Incorporation of Six Sigma has had some very dramatic effects on downtime, such as vastly reducing the reaction time to downtime events as well as the ability to monitor and reduce the “idle time” of the trains by creating the confidence to run them around the clock.  Ferret Reports:

The success of this project has provided a sustained increase in capacity of 20 percent in the rail haulage system with minimal capital expenditure.

“The quality of data that was being captured provided a new level of detail that was not previously available with the original downtime recording system,” he said.