Sandvik Mining Systems has adopted a scientific approach to assist customers in increasing capital machines’ efficiency. Through the effective monitoring of performance, reliability and outputs of each machine on site, the company is able to devise programmes to ensure machines remain reliable and effective.
Obtaining optimal efficiency and depend- ability from massive capital machines on mines, and large-scale bulk materials handling operations, can amount to millions of rands in savings and increased profits for companies concerned, notes materials handling solutions provider Sandvik Mining Systems.
The support services offered by Sandvik Mining Systems incorporate all equipment on a customer’s site and are not limited to the company’s own brands. This enables non- Sandvik customers to commission the company’s experts and undertake life-cycle analysis and studies on any make and model of machine used in continuous mining and bulk materials handling industries.
Plant equipment which can be used in this manner, includes continuous mining machines, shovels, drills, loaders, stackers, spreaders, reclaimers, shiploaders, conveyors and related equipment, the company notes.
All Makes of Machinery
Sandvik Mining Systems market development and sales manager Rudi Pieterse notes that the decision to support other manufacturers is beneficial to the company. “These machines are costly and can have an effective life span of more than 25 years. Over this period of time, some suppliers disappear, go bankrupt or stop providing effective local support for their machines, and this is one of the areas where we can intervene and ensure our customers’ operations can continue.”
He adds that even under normal circumstances the company’s team of global experts is able to undertake inspections, increase opera- tional performance of equipment, as well as work out correct maintenance schedules and preventative maintenance techniques. The company is also able to adapt to requirements throughout the life cycle of a machine and make changes according to ever-changing operational requirements.
“Our after-sales service is designed to increase volumes processed and add years to the life of the equipment. It also helps to prevent breakdowns and reduces downtime of a plant. There is usually no redundancy in these processes, owing to the sheer scale of equipment, which makes it critical that they remain reliable at all times,” Pieterse says.
Sandvik Mining Systems customer service manager Willem du Toit explains that the service can be divided into three separate phases depending on customer’s requirements. The first phase of assessments includes visual inspections and walkovers, where damage and irregularities of structural parts are identified. Wear and tear of mechanical and electrical equipment is assessed, and field as well as safety devices are checked for condition and location.
When completed, required work can then be commissioned through Sandvik Mining Systems or through the companies’ own maintenance departments or suppliers. Similarly, the second phase of assessments identifies areas of improve- ment, but relies on a structured audit of stress measurements, such as strain gauging and proof loading; non-destructive testing, such as wall-thickness measuring, dye-penetrant and US-test- ing; and performance tests, such as power consumption, motor rating and hydraulic pressures.
“Phase 3 is designed to enhance the process over the lifetime of the equipment. It includes the review and recalculation of performance parameters; iron analysis, including animations and simulations; as well as fatigue life predictions; quality control procedures; inspection sequences and maintenance management strategies. Once this has been established the team is able to scientifically apply lifetime extension and life-cycle cost programmes to manage the plant,” Pieterse explains.
All work is undertaken by a team of multidisciplined specialists, including senior mechanical, structural and electrical engineers. Where equipment or processes are found to be inadequate, the company is able to identify appropriate actions that need to be taken to meet the required outputs of the plant. New machinery or additional machines may even be specified, or in other instances, plant reductions made viable.
“These services are in place to support our customers’ operations and ensure their conti- nued success. As a result, we are able to custom- ise work scopes to support individual companies’ (or plants’) requirements and support almost any machinery through our global team of technical specialists,” Pieterse concludes.