North Grinding Mill Repair: Effective Monitoring and Planning

The two mills that feed the East and West Hydrate plants are key assets at Vaudreuil Works. Although repairs were originally scheduled for the south mill, a defect was discovered on the north mill last summer. To avoid a possible breakdown, our engineering team had to reschedule the work, despite the tight schedule.

Equipment vibration at Vaudreuil Works is constantly monitored. Our online monitoring tool can observe trends but cannot detect defects or failures that may occur. Pascal Morin, Vibration Analysis Specialist at Vaudreuil Works, is there to provide more precise information on the condition of the equipment, which helps us to better plan future repairs.

Last summer, he discovered a rolling bearing on the output shaft of the north mill reduction gear. “The defect was detected in early August, and it was closely monitored until it was repaired the following month,” he explains.

The repair work was planned around a scheduled major shutdown of the Hydrate plant, which provided an opportunity to replace the reduction gear. “We had to reprioritise. Since we had planned to work on the south mill, we already had the parts on hand,” says Eric Simard, Maintenance Engineer and Maintenance Coordinator, East Hydrate Plant.

Normally preparing such a project requires several months of planning. “In this case, we were able to rise to the challenge of coordinating the work within a very short timeframe of a few weeks,” says Maxime Bouchard, Area Leader, Engineering.

The shutdown of a mill reduces the production capacity of Vaudreuil Works by about 60%, which is significant. “In total, we saved $1.2 million in terms of loss opportunities because we were able to prevent a breakdown and plan the work accordingly,” says David Morissette, Mechanical Technician, BHB Sector, Hydrate East (Redside).


Thanks to effective monitoring and planning, the reduction gear replacement was completed with minimal impact on production and, most importantly, without an HSE incident.