With about 45% to 60% of the repair and maintenance costs associated with a tracked machine involving the undercarriage, an effective preventive maintenance programme is essential to ensure operators get the maximum equipment life span at the lowest cost per hour, says manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider ITR Africa MD Justin Brink.
ITR Africa offers a full undercarriage measuring service, whereby the undercarriage is inspected for excessive or uneven wear, as well as damaged or missing components.
The frequency of the inspections depends on the application – if the machine is being used in harsh and abrasive applications or other challenging conditions, the undercarriage will need to be inspected more frequently.
ITR Africa’s field service teams and vehicles are equipped to go into mining areas and pits, ensuring that a mine’s safety requirements are met and machine downtime is minimised while the inspections take place.
ITR Africa provides undercarriage ground-engaging tools and repair parts for the mining, construction and agriculture industries. Through its wide network of branches and partners in Southern Africa, the company offers distribution points close to customers.
Owing to Covid-related impacts, the company has encountered unprecedented logistics challenges over the past two years, particularly raw materials and energy costs, manufacturing restrictions and long lead times. Container availability and shipping constraints have also impacted on supply.
However, as a global group that manufactures all ITR branded products it distributes, the group has remained flexible throughout the value chain and been able to adapt to supply chain constraints and market demand.
“We have, ultimately, been in a better position to control our stock availability and costs than other suppliers in our industry. This has unlocked value for our customers and enabled ITR Africa to grow quite considerably, even with the headwinds we have all faced,” says Brink.
ITR Africa aims to position itself as a solutions provider and partner, rather than only a parts supplier. As such, the company continually engages with customers to evaluate the ways in which it can unlock further value.
The company has recently partnered with undercarriage solutions company Progress Mining to supply an undercarriage range suitable for all major original-equipment manufacturer platforms, including Caterpillar, Hitachi, Liebherr and Komatsu machines from 250 t to 800 t.
“There is good synergy between ITR Africa and Progress Mining, with the latter benefiting from ITR Africa’s established customer base, gaining immediate access to a new market,” says Brink.
ITR has also recently partnered with “two global premium tyre manufacturers” to add off-the-road tyres to its product offering, which will soon be delivered to ITR Africa’s warehouses for distribution, he adds.
While the initial focus is on the smaller sizes, the range will be expanded to cover the spectrum of machines supported by ITR Africa’s existing product ranges.
“This has been a development project for almost two years; we are very excited to finally kick it off,” Brink concludes.