With mining operations remaining under pressure to optimise plants, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers must be more dynamic and focused in terms of their overall market offering.
This is the message from Johannes Kottmann, managing director of MBE Minerals SA, who says that the company’s strong relationship with and understanding of its customers’ operations allows it to provide optimum value support and services, all of which is aimed at ensuring that operations perform optimally.
MBE Minerals’ support options are customised to suit specific customer requirements and can range from basic maintenance contracts, which would typically include on-site service personnel, and can extend to consignment stock facilities and progress right up to comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs). At this level, support is provided through fully fledged regional service centres capable of undertaking ongoing equipment condition monitoring, maintenance and service support.
Customers are able to leverage the expertise and in-depth experience MBE Minerals SA has acquired across the full spectrum of services to a large footprint of customers. “With an OEM supporting the equipment in the plant directly, it is possible to implement efficiency improvements as a result of ongoing input and interaction with the plant personnel. In addition to this, training is undertaken that benefits the plant personnel both in terms of operator needs and maintenance,” Kottmann says.
The maintenance of equipment in mineral processing plants is equally as important as its optimum functioning and a multi-disciplined approach needs to be instituted when designing a plant. Kottmann maintains that OEMs should be tasked with the continued and consistent maintenance of equipment in the plant to ensure that it is carried out cost effectively and downtime is reduced.
“We have seen a trend developing within the industry whereby customers are moving away from maintaining plants in-house to an SLA or life-cycle contract with the OEM. This implies that the manufacturer is not only selling a piece of equipment but is also supplying the customer with a comprehensive maintenance plan,” Kottmann explains.
“Coupled with this is the importance of the OEM’s location in relation to its customer’s operations, and we currently operate a fully-fledged service centre in Kathu in the Northern Cape to cater for these iron ore and manganese operations and in Middleburg to service various customers in the coalfields,” Kottmann says. As a result, the MBE Minerals teams have developed first-hand knowledge of how its equipment is operating within the various plants, enabling application-specific design improvements that result in an enhancement in the operational life and efficiency of the equipment.
“Our locality in close proximity to our customers also allows us to provide a rapid response technical assistance and maintenance service. We maintain a substantial stockholding of requisite parts as determined by the customer base’s needs and we can offer both on- and off-site service. From an OEM perspective, we will ensure that the correct parts are installed according to specification, and that the equipment operates within its design limits, to ensure maximised throughput and minimised downtime,” Kottmann concluded.