The Boksburg-based Barloworld Rebuild Centre (BRC) is being streamlined to ensure fast replacement of key components to enhance the uptime of a mine’s fleet.
The refurbishment centre for major components of large mining equipment is a division of Barloworld Equipment, which is the distributor and service supplier of US earthmoving equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.
The BRC is located on an expansive campus of 208 000 m2, which includes two separate facilities for Barloworld’s Power division and another facility to service its locally distributed agricultural products on the same premises.
When it was initially constructed in 2002, $25-million was spent to refurbish and equip the BRC. Of the total area, the BRC encompasses about 30 000 m2 and employs about 390 staff.
BRC GM Willie Coetzee says the BRC facility is located near the coal mines in Mpumalanga, a region from which the bulk of its work originates. It undertakes rebuild work for major equipment components, such as hydraulics, engines and drivetrains.
Meanwhile, a linked new parts department of the BRC stocks high-demand parts required to rebuild the components it receives. There is also a separate exchange warehouse that stocks Barloworld Equipment rebuilt components, which have undergone a Caterpillar-certified refurbishment process to return them to the original-equipment manufacturer’s standard. “These components offer the customer an off-the-shelf option for their components exchange programme,” he says, adding that these components are offered at standard cost and a core refund.
The BRC handles all work related to rebuilding major components originating in South Africa, as well as work from Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Angola and other Southern African countries where BWE has a footprint.
Coetzee explains that the BRC can undertake work ranging from small Caterpillar engines to the biggest engine on offer in Southern Africa, which are 16- and 20-cylinder units for large mining trucks.
A key component of the BRC is its testing facilities, which include several test benches for hydraulic equipment, drivetrain components and a dyno, capable of operating all Caterpillar engines under various loads.
To ensure that the BRC can repair critical equipment quickly, it uses a forecasting system to determine wear on core components of equipment while they are still in use. “As the machine operates, the running hours are uploaded onto our system, thereby enabling us to forecast the typical life of that component and schedule its replacement before it fails,” says Coetzee.
A while before the predicted replacement of the specific part, the BRC will order the required parts, ensuring that the replacement components are stocked and ready for the client.
The BRC is also supported by field technicians who investigate component issues and facilitate their rapid removal and replacement at a mine site, thereby eliminating a lot of downtime.