Rham Equipment wants to improve safety and efficiency using IoT

Rham Equipment's advanced technology will only monitor the engine and production data, but will also give feedback on machine health

TECHNOLOGY OBJECTIVE Rham Equipment's advanced technology will only monitor the engine and production data, but will also give feedback on machine health

22nd June 2018

By: Donald Makhafola

Creamer Media Reporter


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South African manufacturer of specialised mining and hydraulic equipment Rham Equipment is investing in advanced technology to ease equipment maintenance, where real-time data will be measured and used to make better decisions.

Rham Equipment capital sales manager Francois van der Merwe says the main objectives of introducing the advanced technology is to increase the efficiency and reduce the costs and maintenance turnaround time.

“This technology will not only monitor the engine and production data, but will also give feedback on machine health. “The status of the service parts will determine service intervals, thus optimising the service life of spares and fluids. “We can now benchmark when services need to be done by looking at the state of the consumables and oils, rather than just following the reactive maintenance schedules.”

He says the company will extend the technology on its machines to allow technicians to undertake maintenance work guided by tutorials and short instructions through a handheld device, such as a mobile phone or rugged tablet.

“With this system, we will be able to save significant information in the form of videos, and the advantage of this is that, for example, if a technician wants to do fault-finding, he or she will connect to the system and select an appropriate option and follow the instructions as a quick guide . . .”

Van der Merwe says the audio- visual guides will show information, including risk assessment, safe working procedures, good maintenance practices, as well as health and safety measures. “We foresee that this will sharpen skills and create accurate and safe repairs and maintenance practices.”

He says the company is also planning to introduce an operator fatigue monitoring system, which will be integrated into the machine which will be unique to the underground environment.

“At Rham Equipment, we are focused on the one person who is spending most of the working day in our mining equipment; the operator. “We design the machine around the operator and adjust it according to the operator’s needs to increase safety.”

Skills Development

Van der Merwe says Rham Equipment realised that its customers are facing a shortage of experienced technical labour in South Africa, and the company is aware that, without proper equipment maintenance, there will be no mining. “Therefore, Rham Equipment is committed to developing skills and looking at paired solutions to overcome the problem.”

He says the company has been running a successful skills development programme for the past two years, which entails artisans being taken to equipment manufacturing plants to learn how to build a machine practically, before they are deployed in a mine to do predictive maintenance.


Van der Merwe says, as a result of the market needs in mining equipment maintenance, the company is growing and building a larger client base in Africa and India.

“We feel that some local mining companies still believe that locally manufactured equipment is second class in comparison with imported equipment . . . despite having proven that we can compete with international suppliers.”

He avers, even though some local mining companies talk about their commitment to supporting locally manufactured equipment, they still prefer to buy imports, irrespective of the higher prices.

“However, we are positive about the future in the market, locally and internationally, since there has been a change in leadership in South Africa. “We see a buzz in the local mining industry and this could also result in tremendous growth for us.”

He stresses that government has to support local manufacturers through the introduction of a conducive regulatory framework to assist these companies in expanding their footprint into the export market and growing the South African economy.

“Though we have a good relationship with the Department of Trade and Industry, we feel that some government entities are unapproachable.”

“In future, it will be a question of how international suppliers will manage to keep up with South African manufacturers in terms of quality and services provision,” Van der Merwe enthuses.

Edited by Mia Breytenbach
Creamer Media Deputy Editor: Features



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