Conveyor belt solutions company Mato Products, a member of Multotec Group, celebrates 30 years of supplying South African mining and industrial clients this year.
At the November 8 function celebrating its success and longevity, Mato Products GM Benjamin Sibanda announced that the company was looking to increase its cross-border and industrial footprint, and market its range of conveyor cleaners, while maintaining its core belt fastening business segment.
He noted that, given Mato’s penetration in the South African market, the company was looking to supply collieries throughout the rest of the Southern African region and had already secured orders for fasteners and belt cleaners with Botswana-based Morupule Colliery.
The company intends to grow its lubrication segment, as it currently accounts for 2% to 3% of Mato Products’ revenue.
Sibanda commented that an immediate focus was to market the Mato Products range of cleaners. These minimise conveyor maintenance, thereby reducing costs and increasing uptime.
Sibanda believes that the African cleaner/scraper market has not been sufficiently serviced by the industry and offers Mato immense potential. He added that the company had experienced steady growth over the years and, while there were several growth opportunities for it to exploit going forward, it would not neglect its core segment.
Sibanda explained that the Mato mechanical belt fastening system comprised a lacing head and bed, a wire rope winch complete with 30 m of rope, a belt clamp, a belt cutter, a belt skiver, a wave master kit, lacing pins and fasteners. These combined to produce a cost-effective and durable alternative to hot and cold splicing. “In some instances, our mechanical splice lasted the life of the belt.” The Mato fastener is produced in South Africa, comprising 98% local content.
The belt fastening system delivers a seamless joint in less than 30 minutes, which is considerably less than the six hours required for the traditional hot splice method. This solution reduces operational downtime, thereby increasing productivity at reduced cost.
An integral part of this solution is the manufacture of fasteners. A cofounder of the locally registered Mato Products, Ernst Holtz attended the celebration and explained that the Mato clip machine is one of three machines designed by Mato Germany, and is the only machine of its kind outside Germany. Significantly, Mato Germany, which co-owns the South African operation, was founded in Germany in 1906.
Sibanda explained that the clip machine is a “marvel” that produced fasteners for more than 25 years before it started experiencing problems. This culminated in its refurbishment last year. Holtz added that the company made sure to produce enough fasteners to supply clients while the machine was off line. The refurbishment took place in Germany, as Mato Products could not source local assistance, primarily because of the complexity and unique nature of the machine.
The refurbishment took about nine months, with the company commissioning the machine toward the end of last year. The new clip machine has a larger press weighing 360 t, compared with 180 t, and has increased capacity, as it can produce fasteners for conveyor belts between 5 mm and 20 mm unskived, compared with its previous range of 8 mm to 14 mm.
Since commissioning the clip machine, Mato Products has increased fastener production from 4 500 to 5 400 boxes a month.