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SEW-EURODRIVE’s best-fit solutions match miners’ needs, provides every-day assistance

National sales and marketing manager Jonathan McKey

SEW-EURODRIVE MD Raymond Obermeyer and national sales and marketing manager Jonathan McKey talk to Mining Weekly at this year's Mining Indaba. Video & Editing: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd.

National sales and marketing manager Jonathan McKey

11th May 2022

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Drives and automation specialist SEW-EURODRIVE offers customised best-fit solutions that match a mine’s application needs, which it achieves through providing the electric motors, gearmotors, gearboxes and girth gears that keep everyday mining equipment moving and working, along with the inverters and other equipment used to power and control these machines.

Found in underground and overland mining conveyors, mills, winches, and winders, to name a few, MD Raymond Obermeyer notes that the company’s purpose-built adaptable solutions are supplied to the industry with high quality and complete drive solutions, which include modular industrial gears and gearmotor systems, as well as a comprehensive range of services that meet the needs of the mining industry’s entire value chain.

“We also offer add-on value such as comprehensive field service support, condition monitoring, training, 24/7 repair services, substantial local stockholding, and a fleet of mine-ready vehicles to come in and to support mine operators on site,” Obermeyer says.

National sales and marketing manager Jonathan McKey, meanwhile, adds that the company also supplies “innovative, high-quality and efficient drive products” and, through the company’s largest local stockholding and assembly capability, can offer “the shortest lead times available on the African continent”.

“Most add-on accessories for our products, such as brakes, back stops and encoders, are also stocked and supplied by SEW-EURODRIVE; many of which or made by us as the OEM,” he adds.

Notable examples include the company’s New Generation X.e Series Industrial Gearboxes (IGs); its Segmented Girth Gears, the P-series planetary IGs and the DriveRadar Predictive Maintenance.

The flagship New Generation X.e Series IGs, specifically, is a robust, reliable, efficient and easy-to-maintain modular range that “makes these units ideal and adaptable for any type of environment in African mines,” McKey notes.

He adds that the number of possible torque and ration combinations have been comprehensively investigated as to significantly increase the local stockholding requirements that mining on the continent demands. Further, the X.e Series is “easy to customise and to precisely meet the needs of applications such as mine conveyors or mill drives”.

Several additional modular features and options, such as motor adapters, load-sharing and integral backstops, various sealing and shaft arrangements and more, also add to their ease of use and reliability, he says.

“For mill drives, the use of the new X.e IG range and Segmented Girth Gear combination has become one of SEW-EURODRIVE’s global solutions where drive reliability and flexibility with respect to speed and control are critical to secure maximum uptime and optimum grinding efficiencies.”

SEW-EURODRIVE’s segmented girth gears, meanwhile, comprise of precision-manufactured individual segments that simplify handling, transportation, and onsite assembly of these very large open gears. These are available in both flange and tangent plate variations.  

This, McKey says, allows these systems to be more easily shipped to site in standard containers, while also simplifying onsite assembly.

“While these girth gears are key final-stage components of mill drives and kilns, SEW-EURODRIVE can also supply total mill drive solutions and power packs, which typically includes large electric motors, two-stage IGs and the matching pinions to drive the girth gear, all of which are designed and manufactured by SEW-EURODRIVE to best suit the milling application in question.”

For high torque mining applications such as bucket wheels, slewing drives and apron feeders on conveying systems, SEW-EURODRIVE’s planetary P-series series can be coupled with primary helical and bevel-helical gear units to offer compact, precise and efficient solutions with high thermal ratings.

Owing to mechanical design, simple installation and alignment, McKey says the combination of P-X series planetary units with proven X.e series units can deliver high operational reliability, while maintenance costs and total costs of ownership can be significantly reduced, offering extraordinary economic advantages.

Further supporting mine equipment reliability, SEW-EURODRIVE also recently released its DriveRadar predictive maintenance management solution into the local market. DriveRadar automatically records and analyses digital operational data from IG units and uses it to track equipment condition in real time and predict performance changes.

Obermeyer adds, in addition to this product, its Drive Academy programme is accessible to all SEW-EURODRIVE customers for further training of product awareness and maintenance management.

“We also now include online and virtual training and support, which all aligns to our social development plans,” he adds.


With global sales at more than €3.2-billion, SEW-EURODRIVE is one of the global market leaders in the drive technology and drive automation sector.

In South Africa, mining is a key focus for the company, and its drive solutions can be found at “almost every mine” in the country.

“Because we form part of a global organisation, we have 17 production plants strategically placed all over the world: on the Asian continent, in Europe, and in North and South America. In turn, these plants supply 85 subsidiaries to the rest of the world, and we employ 19 000 employees globally at key locations across the globe,” he states.

“With respect to Africa and South Africa, we are currently delivering on a multimillion investment on our expanded South African capability to enable us to look after another 24 different African countries,” Obermeyer enthuses.

He further adds that the most notable new development in terms of footprint for SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa is the imminent opening of its new local assembly facility in Aeroton, Johannesburg, which he says will deliver a local assembly capability for South and Southern African clients that will reduce lead times for replacement drive units and complete drive and power packs.

Once the assembly plant is fully operational, it will be able to assemble most common modular designs locally at unrivaled capacities to market.

This substantial investment demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting South Africa and Africa's localisation initiatives.

Additionally, McKey notes that SEW-EURODRIVE globally, as well as in South Africa, “employs a strong complement of qualified mechanical and mechatronic engineers to ensure our customers have easy access to the highest quality, innovative designs and engineering support resources”.


In its own facilities, SEW-EURODRIVE follows government guidelines “to the letter”, and when on a customer’s site, the company additionally adheres to the client’s Covid guidelines.

In all matters relating to safety, including Covid, the highest priority is placed on people’s lives, for SEW-EURODRIVE employees and all the people at risk on mining sites.

“We at SEW-EURODRIVE accept that there are many challenges, but we also see this as an opportunity for us to evolve and improve continuously. We recognise general market shortcomings, and one of them is supply capacity. We have also redesigned our African footprint by implementing a localised staff initiative in key countries,” Obermeyer comments.

“We will employ local SEW-EURODRIVE staff in South Africa and qualified locals in every key country that we look after. This year we will be expanding this to between four and five countries on the African continent.”

Looking ahead, most of the company’s projects are in Africa currently, and the company is involved with with projects numerous projects across the continent. “Many of these projects are mining related, but we do also look at our local market as a priority.” Obermeyer says.

The company’s current project is to localise African demand, McKey says, adding that “whatever SEW-EURODRIVE products the African continent needs”, the company’s intent is to localise product assembly and support – at large scales and volumes – to ensure that its customers have the shortest possible lead times that the industry can offer and the highest quality aftersales support services”.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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