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Africa|Automation|Components|DIGITALISATION|Efficiency|Engineering|Export|flotation|Lifting|Manufacturing|Mining|Repairs|Screen|Screens|Service|Services|Technology|Training|Welding|Equipment|Maintenance|Manufacturing |Solutions|Operations

Expansion paves way for facility to play globally

7th October 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The extensive expansion – and leveraging of the latest technologies – of minerals processing equipment and solutions provider FLSmidth Delmas’ “supercentre” has positioned the company well to serve its customers better – locally and globally.

There are likely plans for further expansions as the facility continues to grow since its establishment ten years ago.

FLSmidth Delmas operations GM Warren Walker tells Mining Weekly that, since launching the FLSmidth facility in Delmas in 2013, the facility has doubled in size and capacity to 10 500 m2 of offices, workshops and warehousing with a 120 t crane lifting capacity.

Initially established in 2012 to manufacture, repair and refurbish FLSmidth equipment closer to its customers, significant additional investments up to R100-million led to the exponential expansion of the facility, which boasted a workforce of more than 100 upon the completion of the expansion in 2018.

The Delmas facility has evolved into a global technology centre, a centre of excellence, a training centre, a customer engagement and a service centre, and produces international-quality equipment for local, regional and export customers, Walker comments, highlighting the considerable growth of the facility to the point that it has been identified as a flagship within the global FLSmidth group.

It is also one of the lowest cost manufacturing facilities in the group and compares well in terms of competitiveness with international peers.

The supercentre includes a polyurethane facility, a sandblasting and painting facility, a heavy manufacturing facility, a wire and wedgewire screen manufacturing line and a general engineering and specialist welding line.

The group produces equipment, including large vibrating screens and flotation components, for mines and processing plants globally, and repairs and upgrades customer equipment.

The upgrade improves productivity and stock availability, reducing lead times for customers, and increases the facility’s engineering capability to support local customers, Walker continues.

Further, leveraging the latest digital technology, with an increasing focus on technology-driven investments, FLSmidth is driving efficiency across its own operations, as well as that of its customers.

“We have invested a lot in technology,” he says, with automated and digitalised machinery internally, as well as offering automation and digitalisation solutions for customers, including remote monitoring, maintenance and performance optimisation.

A recent investment is a premium quality, latest generation polyurethane machine, which delivers a significantly increased pouring rate, compared with existing machines.

He says a unique feature of the machine is that once programmed to provide a certain composition, it auto calibrates.

It also features a 42 kg/m pouring capacity, ten times the traditional capacity, with a consistent quality owing to the built-in programming on the machine.

The facility’s expansion, which also initially targeted capacity to service sub-Saharan African markets, resulted in the ability for the facility to export and service customers globally, citing a range of customers in Kazakhstan, Türkiye and Europe.

“I think the recent changes we have had, as well as being part of global manufacturing, opens the door for more exports. We have become truly global in terms of manufacturing. “We produce a quality product in South Africa,” Walker comments.

In addition, FLSmidth focuses on local employment and skills development.

The company gives preference to employing from the local community amid the high unemployment rate in Delmas.

Currently, about 70% of its employees are from the local community.

Further, Walker believes that the company has a role to play in creating opportunities through its Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority-accredited training facility, with 18 apprentices currently under training.

“Every year, we have an intake of eight to ten apprentices for different disciplines and qualifications, including artisans, riggers, fitters, boilermakers and welders, in an 18-month training programme, some of whom are absorbed into the company where it is able.”

This approach has also ensured that the facility is completely equipped with all the skills it requires, he concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor


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