Category Archives: Client Focus

QUALITY SEW GEARBOXES NOW AVAILABLE FOR CENTRE PIVOT IRRIGATION IN SA

Offering a complete gear solution for centre pivot irrigation systems, SEW-EURODRIVE brings its quality products and support as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) closer to South Africa’s farming sector.

“As a key strategic sector in this country, the agricultural industry deserves to be serviced by OEMs – not just by resellers of imported products,” says Jonathan McKey, National Sales and Marketing Manager at SEW-EURODRIVE. “As a global company with a world class reputation, our strong local footprint across South Africa, and Africa, ensures that the farming community gets the support it needs from us.”

Through its strategy of ‘closing the loop’, SEW-EURODRIVE is able to supply, install and service the centre drive and wheel drives for pivot irrigation systems – as well as the drive technology to power the system.

“Our SEW-EURODRIVE gearbox solutions have proven themselves in this application since the 1980s in Brazil, where numerous units are sold every month into their farming sector,” says McKey. “The similarities of the agricultural environment between our two countries have convinced us that our offering adds plenty of value locally.”

Aligning to the shaft sizes and flange connections on existing centre pivot irrigation equipment, SEW-EURODIVE provides a ‘plug and play’ solution of gearing, casing and motor. Willem Strydom, Business Development Manager: Electronics for SEW-EURODRIVE, emphasises that the company presents a game-changing concept in sustainability, serviceability and cost effectiveness, which is exactly what the local agricultural sector needs.

“Generally, the drive systems on this type of equipment are simply replaced when they no longer perform, and there is little capability in South Africa to repair them,” says Strydom. “Not only will we assemble our own gearboxes in-country, but we can also repair and refurbish the various components to our stringent OEM standards.”

The company’s infrastructure includes service teams that visit customers’ sites, whether these are commercial farms or smaller privately owned enterprises. These teams are highly experienced in various gearbox systems and applications, so they can inspect existing installations and advise on optimal solutions.

“Large operations can even be supported with formal service level agreements, where the size and efficiency of their operation warrants it,” he says. SEW-EURODRIVE can serve the market’s standardised wheel ratios of 50:1 and 52:1, to accommodate the specifications of the key suppliers of centre pivot irrigation systems.

McKey highlights the build quality of the company’s gearboxes, which underpins their proven reliability in multiple sectors and applications. Indeed, SEW-EURODRIVE only enters a market once its offerings have been decisively field-proven.

According to Strydom, the depth of the company’s technical capability is demonstrated by the fact that it has designed and manufactured interchangeable internal gearing. This allows for commonality of parts, which in turn facilitates efficient stockholding and quick turnaround times.

“One of the benefits of our gearboxes for the centre pivot market is that we use the same internal gearing as our popular and robust 7-series range,” he explains. “The heart of our gearboxes for centre pivot irrigation has therefore proven itself beyond doubt over decades in many arduous applications and industries.”

It also means that SEW-EURODRIVE already has extensive stockholding in its large and modern facility in Aeroton west of Johannesburg, and all the necessary expertise to assess and refurbish gearboxes using these components. The company also has its own quality motors – available in either a 0,55 kW, 0,75 kW or a 1,1 kW option – for these irrigation systems.

While the duty performed by the gearboxes and motors on centre pivot irrigation systems might be considered lighter than certain other applications in more demanding sectors, Strydom emphasises that regular inspection and maintenance remain important.

“This agricultural equipment may need to be moved from one location to another on the farm, for instance,” he says. “In some cases, this process can damage both the gears and motors – so it is vital to check regularly that the performance of the equipment is still optimal.”

The attention of trained service staff from SEW-EURODRIVE can make this process easier and less time consuming for farm managers. The on-site assessment can also confirm whether cost effective repairs are possible, rather than replacing whole gearboxes. Repairing or replacing just the internal gears will allow the casing to be preserved – minimising the wastage and cost.

Another growing concern for farmers is the rising cost of electricity, and SEW-EURODRIVE’s solutions for centre pivot systems also help address this challenge, says Strydom. This is done through the use of energy efficient motors, rated in the IE3 class in terms of international energy standards.

“Most competitors in this field use standard efficiency IE1 class motors,” he explains. “To save our customers on the cost of their electricity, SEW-EURODRIVE standardises on the use of premium efficiency IE3 motors.”

The energy efficiency of motors is, in fact, becoming important for all sectors in South Africa, in the light of government plans to introduce Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) this year. “We are proud to be a full-service OEM in the agricultural space,” concludes McKey. “We are also excited about this and other opportunities in this sector in which we will be closing the loop – by offering an ever-wider range of complete solutions for our customers.”

CONCOR EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES AT KORUSON 1 CLUSTER IN NORTHERN CAPE

As a company deeply invested in the growth and development of previously disadvantaged communities, Concor recently celebrated a significant milestone on its projects at the Koruson 1 Cluster in the Northern Cape. This comes as part of the company’s unwavering commitment to not just building infrastructure but also building futures through extensive skills development programmes.

The focal point of this commitment was the recent graduation ceremony held in Noupoort, Northern Cape, on 9 March 2024, to celebrate the achievements of people from the local community that had completed their training as concrete and shutter hands.

The Koruson 1 Cluster is an ambitious renewable energy project, encompassing the San Kraal Wind Farm, Phezukomoya Wind Farm and Main Transmission Substation (MTS), all strategically located close to Noupoort. These projects are not just about harnessing renewable energy but also about energising the local community through employment and training opportunities.

When Concor first started on this project, the company identified a glaring gap in the local workforce—a critical shortage of skilled labourers. To bridge this gap, the company employed local people from the sending area as general labourers, who, while assisting with the casting of foundations for the wind turbines, received hands-on training to become skilled concrete and shutter hands.

The graduation ceremony was not just a formality but a celebration of hard-earned success and the promising future of the graduates. A total of 55 graduates, comprising 22 concrete hands and 33 shutter hands, were acknowledged for their competence and dedication and a highlight of the day was celebrating a woman concrete hand who successfully completed her training at MTS.

The event was attended by over 100 guests, including Noupoort’s Mayor, Mr Mzwandile Toto. In his address, Mayor Toto extended his heartfelt congratulations to the graduates and expressed his gratitude to Concor for its significant contribution to the community. This initiative by Concor is a shining example of how companies can play a pivotal role in uplifting communities by not just offering employment but by investing in the skills development of the workforce. By doing so, Concor is not only contributing to the local economy but also empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to secure a better future. The success of the graduates from the Koruson 1 Cluster project is a testament to the potential of such initiatives to transform lives and communities.

TRAFO POWER SOLUTIONS SHOWS ITS AGILITY IN UPGRADING DRC MINE TRANSFORMERS

With its experience in Africa and its agility in executing projects rapidly, Trafo Power Solutions is supplying three mini-substations and two transformers to a copper-zinc mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

David Claassen, Managing Director of Trafo Power Solutions, says the pressure was on from early in the planning stages to ensure this critical equipment would be available on time – to facilitate the continued  mine expansion. From the date of the contract award, the company will deliver the units to the mine site within just four months – despite most of South African industry taking an annual December break.

“We have conducted projects previously with the end-client and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, so have a good understanding of their requirements,” explains Claassen. “This experience – combined with our history in the DRC and in the mining sector – gave us the edge in expediting the whole process.”

The order was for two 2000 kVA transformers to step down the electricity supply from 6,6 kV to 550V, as well as three dry-type miniature substations. Two of the mini-substations are rated 315 kVA and 6,6 kV to 400 V, while the third is a 630 kVA unit which also steps down from 6,6 kV to 400 V.

“This equipment is an important part of the mine’s electrical infrastructure upgrade,” he says. “Of particular interest were the dry-type mini-substations, which were quite unique in certain respects.”

As a specialist in dry-type transformer applications, Trafo Power Solutions designed the mini-substations in an IP54 configuration – ensuring that the units are completely sealed from dust and water. This level of insulation usually requires a forced air solution to ensure adequate air movement for cooling.

“For this application, the requirement was for natural air cooling – so the installation would not include external fans and related control instrumentation,” he says. “This option enhances simplicity and further reduces any chance of ancillary equipment needing attention.”

The design of the enclosure and the transformer therefore took account of this configuration, allowing enough natural cooling despite the high ambient daytime temperatures in the region. Another demanding aspect of the contract was that the two 2000 kVA transformers are to replace units in the mine’s existing substation. This required innovative design to ensure that the new equipment fits into the available space.

“Our replacement units have a higher power rating than the ones they will replace, so the design was customised to ensure the mine does not have to re-engineer the space,” says Claassen. “This highlights our flexibility in designing solutions to optimise ease of installation.”

Delivery to site will take place after a factory acceptance test (FAT) has been conducted. While the functional commissioning of the units is not part of Trafo Power Solutions’ scope of supply on this contract, the company offers a standard commissioning and assistance service. This is part of its value-add to any of its contracts.

“The rapid pace of this project indicates a growing trend not only in mining but in other sectors, towards fast tracking new developments and expansions,” he notes. “Clients are expecting their supply partners to deliver on shorter timelines, so one of our key strategies is to learn from each project and apply those lessons going forward.”

This keeps Trafo Power Solutions at the forefront of efficient project execution, focusing actively on quality and communication. This ensures first-time accuracy and customised designs, so that no time is lost by unnecessarily revisiting aspects of the project as it progresses.

“Our non-corporate approach means that we can take decisions and act quickly on matters commercial and technical,” says Claassen. “Our proven skill is in achieving these goals without compromising on quality.”

SEW-EURODRIVE BUILDS SUPPORT, TRUST INTO AFRICA

Companies in various sectors across Africa are wanting to harness the power of modern advancements in drive technology – and SEW-EURODRIVE is there with the solutions and the support.

“Many operations around the continent are still using conventional technology, but are looking for ways to improve efficiencies and productivity,” says Jonathan McKey, National Sales and Marketing Manager  at SEW-EURODRIVE. “They are also wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs, and we have the solutions for them.”

In fact, the company is driving a concerted strategy to bring these solutions closer to customers – through extending their local in-country presence. Having expanded and upgraded their facility in Aeroton near Johannesburg, SEW-EURODRIVE now boasts entities in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya. The office in Tanzania has been thriving for ten years already.

“This year, we are setting up additional resources in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Mozambique,” says SEW-EURODRIVE’s Tebogo Moloi, in charge of Business Development in Africa. “Our philosophy is to build local businesses on the strength of local expertise and market knowledge, bringing us closer to customers with enhanced offerings of technology and services.”

With the local representatives being well qualified and experienced in their markets, SEW-EURODRIVE supports them the necessary facilities and stockholding, as well as specialised training. Moloi highlights that site visits from their teams to customers can become both more frequent and more valuable.

“From our in-country bases, we are closer to customer sites and can deliver high value technical support when requested during our visits,” he says. “Regular engagement means that we build our relationships of trust with customers, by seeing their working environment and understanding their needs and challenges.”

McKey explains that SEW-EURODRIVE is actively diversifying its offerings in Africa to meet each market’s specific requirements. Having established a firm base in South Africa over the decades as geared motor specialists, it has grown into after-sales service and industrial gear (IG) units.

“Given the large installed base of geared motors and IG units in Africa, we can now also service and repair competitor products – by leveraging our growing technical capability around the continent,” he says.

As part of its standard and complimentary services around Africa, SEW-EURODRIVE conducts on-site surveys to assess customers’ operational infrastructure, notes McKey. The company can then recommend modernised solutions to enhance efficiency and reliability. “We also conduct energy audits, and advise on our energy efficient solutions to reduce costs and carbon footprints,” he says.

SUCCESS FOR WEBA CHUTE SYSTEMS IN MANAGING GLOBAL TURNKEY PROJECTS

With the promise that its customised transfer point solutions will always perform to expectations, Weba Chute Systems tackles its turnkey projects in a highly systematic and controlled manner.

The company has successfully carried out more than 25 turnkey projects in the past decade, according to Weba Chute Systems project manager Ted Cruickshank, including contracts in the mining, steel, ports and food industries. Among these substantial projects was the design, manufacture and installation of 36 chutes at a steel maker’s sinter plant in South Africa, and 11 chutes for a project house developing a mine in Zambia.

“More recently, we completed a turnkey project for a number of crusher chutes at a platinum mine in Zimbabwe,” Cruickshank says. Further afield, Weba Chute Systems has provided chute designs to accommodate a three-way conveyor in an operation in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, now awaiting execution.

Attention to detail

“It all starts with defining the project’s objectives and scope,” explains Cruickshank. “This is followed by establishing the budget so that an accurate quotation can be prepared, as well as planning a timeline that meets the customer’s schedule.”

Turnkey projects demand clear channels of communication, he emphasises, so a regular meeting schedule is agreed with the customer to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed throughout the project cycle. This is particularly important for dealing timeously with issues so that the project’s progress is not unduly impeded.

“On some projects, we can work off the customer’s drawings, but we often go to site to conduct our own surveys, on which we base our calculations and designs,” explains Cruickshank. Chute flow designs and layouts are then completed and approved, followed by fabrication approvals – all within a stringent Quality Control Plan (QCP).

Eyes on quality

“Our efficient procurement allows fabrication to get underway without delay, and stringent quality checks are carried out at every stage of manufacture,” he says.

Cruickshank emphasises that rework needs to be avoided if projects are to run on-time and on-budget, and this means stringent quality control. Weba Chute Systems uses ISO 9001-2015 as the standard to document and control all quality related activities.

“Regular audits and certifications help maintain a high level of consistency in the quality of our products across all projects,” he says. “Quality inspections at different project locations ensures that the equipment adheres to the project’s quality standards.”

Mitigating risk

A risk assessment on each project identifies all potential hazards and is the basis for mitigation plans to reduce risk. There is also growing pressure on mines and their contractors to minimise environmental impacts.

“Noise, dust and spillage are among the main environmental risks associated with transfer chutes,” he notes. “We mitigate these impacts through optimising the flow dynamics in our tailored chute designs – accommodating the specific conditions of each application.”

This includes understanding the material’s characteristics and particle size distribution, as well as its flow rate, trajectory, velocity and points of impact. Optimised material flow decreases the turbulence at the transfer point, in turn reducing dust and noise. Smooth transfer of material to and from conveyor belts also cuts the spillage and improves health and safety conditions around the belts.

Leveraging technology

He highlights the value of project planning software to plan and monitor progress during turnkey projects. These tools enhance real-time collaboration and efficiency, with other enabling technologies including three-dimensional modelling and data management.

“We also use video conferencing and cloud-based document handling to streamline our communication with customers and other parties to the project,” he says. “This improves overall efficiency and resource coordination.”

Cruickshank concludes by highlighting the value of local suppliers, engineers and partners in the country where the turnkey project is being executed. Weba Chute Systems prioritises these links by building positive long term relationships with local partners to overcome potential barriers of culture, language, lead times and cost efficiency.

CONCOR BUILDS MOMENTUM WITH FAST TRACK PROJECTS

Concor has remained active in the building sector with the company having successfully completed several major fast track projects in 2023. Among others, this includes the Trevenna Super Basement project in Pretoria, 5 Parks Boulevard in the Oxford Parts Precinct, the Eastgate Sustainability Project and tenant reconfigurations at Westgate Shopping Centre.

Martin Muller, Contract Manager at Concor, says the new year also started on a positive note with projects spread across new build, refurbishment and repurposing of existing facilities, all of which are on tight construction programmes.

“Our multi-disciplinary teams are agile and have the requisite skills sets to deliver quality on these projects despite the varying scopes, and the fast track nature of all,” he says.

Commenting on current projects, Muller says work is underway in the Oxford Parks Precinct with a project to construct two office buildings with a common basement and podium. “What is exciting on this project is that Concor will be piloting Green Star V2. Our team is experienced in constructing to green star requirements as this was a feature of many of the structures within the Oxford Park Precinct, and we are well positioned for this challenge,” he says.

“Implementing and executing V2 will result in some learning curves for subcontractors, however the Concor team has the skills set to guide the process and we will work closely with the professional team to ensure we meet the requisite new benchmark.”

Another interest project is the refurbishment of an existing office building in Pretoria, which will see this building that dates back to the late 1970’s turned into an A Grade office facility. Concor has an established track record undertaking this type of work and apart from the challenges of working within the confines of the inner city, Muller says this is a straightforward 14 month contract.

Extensions to and the refurbishment of an existing shopping centre in Pretoria is another of the contract secured by Concor this year. The company understands the demands of working in live shopping centre environments and has successfully completed numerous such projects safely. This is also on a tight timeline of five months.

Also in Pretoria, the company is constructing a taxi holding facility which will provide a much safer environment for daily commuters in this area. This project started in February 2024 and is scheduled to completion in April 2024.

Muller says that an important aspect on all projects is the inclusion of subcontractors from the surrounding areas. “With competent core teams in place, we use the services of SMMEs and emerging contractors who can offer appropriate services such as wet trades and some finishes.”

This is aligned with Concor’s ongoing commitment to uplift local communities in the area in which it undertakes projects. Muller explains that awarding subcontracts is not where this ends, and ongoing support and mentorship is provided to these companies to ensure their sustainability over a longer term.

“An example where this has paid off is within the Oxford Parks Precinct where Concor has been building for more five years. Over this period of time, we have assisted in developing a number of subcontractors to competency levels that has seen them continue to work with the company and with other players in the market,” he says.

CONCRETE MASTERY TRANSFORMS WATERFALL CITY SKYLINE WITH DHL SERVICE CENTRE

The new DHL Express Service Centre in Waterfall City is a prime example of modern construction that harnesses the functionality and aesthetic appeal of concrete. This tenant-driven project, developed by SOM for Portimix Pty Ltd and used by DHL Express, showcases a blend of office space and a substantial warehouse, strategically located to optimise logistics operations.

Abbeydale Building & Civils undertook the construction, with Empowered Spaces Architects managing the project. EMArchitecture provided the architectural design, while structural design was the forte of Struxit Projects. The project is distinguished by its innovative use of concrete, supplied by AfriSam, which was critical to meeting the high standards set by DHL.

The building’s design is notable for its highway-facing façade that presents a bold, linear impression with wavy concrete columns. These columns, resembling waves, align with DHL’s core business and are visible from one of Africa’s busiest highways, the N1. The office frontage, combined with the functionality of the warehouse, reflects a design that is both aesthetic and efficient. The warehouse was specifically designed for high-volume parcel throughput, ensuring rapid loading and unloading processes, crucial for DHL’s operations. The uninterrupted operation flow was made possible by the by removing all columns within the operational floor and achieving a 47 m clear span within the warehouse.

As a P-Grade building, the DHL Express Service Centre stands out for its superior quality, modern amenities and a striking façade that enhances DHL’s branding. The design also aimed for a timeless appeal, ensuring the building remains fashionable and appealing for decades.

Concrete played a pivotal role in this project, not just in terms of structure but also in aesthetics. The distinctive V-shaped columns were created using custom-designed steel shuttering, requiring a highly flowable concrete mix with a reduced aggregate size to achieve the desired finish. A strut and tie structural system design was implemented to accommodate the exaggerated angles on the slanted column façade. The strut and tie design concept uses the best properties of each structural material. Compression forces are resisted and transferred using concrete, and the tension forces are transferred through the reinforcement steel. The combination of these two properties in the concrete and reinforcing steel enabled the elegant and durable slanted column design of the DHL facade. Slanted concrete columns, along with the external elements of the building, required meticulous planning and execution.

Less obvious, but equally impressive concrete structural element within the building are the book end concrete walls, cantilevering 5 m from the building while still supporting floors from above. The large cantilevers could be achieved by using the mechanism of Vierendeel Action within the concrete wall. The concrete and steel used within these walls were carefully planned and detailed to activate the Vierendeel Action and produce the impressive cantilevering walls.

The structural design technique used within the mentioned concrete elements is not often used in conventional concrete building or designs, which makes the use of the concrete in this building truly exceptional and unique.

The warehouse’s concrete floor was constructed with large panel floors to a FM2 specification, ensuring durability and supporting efficient logistics operations.

The design of the building also focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. The strategic placement of horizontal fins and high performance glass reduced cooling costs and glare, while the potential for solar panel installation aligns with DHL’s sustainability goals. The concrete design was critical in achieving these objectives, with AfriSam providing a tailored mix for optimal performance.

The DHL Express Service Centre in Waterfall City stands as a testament to the capabilities of concrete in modern construction. Its design and execution reflect a synergy between aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability, setting a benchmark for future construction projects in the logistics sector.

IPR GROWS ITS OFFERING TO MAKE CUSTOMERS MORE PRODUCTIVE

Having built its reputation as a responsive and reliable partner in the field of dewatering, heavy duty slurry pump and dredging, IPR is now well positioned to provide customers with all they need.

Managing Director Lee Vine says that the company’s success is a combination of quality global brands and solid home-grown expertise. This allows IPR not only to represent and market the highest quality of equipment, but also to specify optimal solutions and design customised products that support customers’ efficient operation.

“Our professionalism over the years has led us into partnerships with the world’s leading pump manufacturers,” says Vine. “Among these collaborations is our role as master distributor for Atlas Copco dewatering pumps in southern Africa, as well as our agency across sub-Saharan Africa for the Toyo range of specialised heavy duty submersible slurry pumps.”

These brands, he explains, are today the core of a comprehensive rental fleet that drives IPR’s vision of becoming the leading player in dewatering and heavy duty slurry pumping. The IPR fleet has everything a customer needs – from electrical submersible pumps to diesel-driven pump sets – for a quick and sustainable response. Its success to date has also been underpinned by its design expertise and modern workshop facilities.

“Our understanding of our customers’ challenges, combined with our technical prowess, has allowed us to locally develop and manufacture the innovative SlurrySucker dredging system, for instance,” he says. Designed to safely and efficiently cleaning settlement dams or process ponds, the SlurrySucker can remove up to 60 dry tonnes per hour – without the risk of damaging pond liners with heavy excavating equipment.

IPR Sales Manager Steve du Toit highlights that IPR’s offering of both rental units and capital purchases has a hidden benefit for customers, as they seek to improve their uptime while balancing capital with operating expenditure.

“A rental pump solution – which we provide after a detailed assessment of its planned duty – can often act as a technical trial for a customer,” says Du Toit. “They can demonstrate the pump’s performance during a rental, and purchase their own as and when capital is available. On the other hand, they may prefer contracting out this function, ensuring reliability and uptime.”

The company recently added Olikara’s range of QubePower lighting towers to its offering, which has three different sizes and can be powered by diesel, petrol, solar, battery or mains electricity.

NEARLY 30 YEARS OF ‘TRU-TRAC MOMENTS’ FOR CONVEYOR USERS

With belt misalignment remaining the biggest headache for conveyor system operators across a variety of bulk material handling industries, Tru-Trac has evolved from this valuable niche into a full service conveyor solutions business.

Having patented and commercialised its belt tracker back in 1996, Tru-Trac has leveraged its engineering expertise and market knowledge into a comprehensive range of conveyor solutions – with a global sales and installation network. There remains, however, a ‘magic’ at the core of the business which continues to surprise and delight customers: the company’s deep understanding and expertise of belt misalignment solutions – belt trackers. 

Tru-Trac have been acknowledged worldwide as the most reliable and effective conveyor belt tracking system.
Tru-Trac have been acknowledged worldwide as the most reliable and effective conveyor belt tracking system.

Shaun Blumberg, COO of Tru-Trac Rollers, highlights the serious disruption that belt misalignment on a conveyor can cause. The impact includes spillage, belt edge damage, structural harm, increased power consumption and increased labour costs. Ultimately, this leads to lost production, higher operating costs and even safety hazards.

From its world class local manufacturing base in South Africa, Tru-Trac has grown to serve markets nationwide and abroad – including some of the most sizeable equipment in operation. One of the world’s largest stacker reclaimers, which serves the coal sector in Germany, also experienced a Tru-Trac moment, according to Jonathan Rogoff, CEO of Tru-Trac. 

Tru-Trac has evolved into a full service conveyor solutions business, and the company offers valuable support to customers.
Tru-Trac has evolved into a full service conveyor solutions business, and the company offers valuable support to customers.

“They were having significant challenges with belt misalignment– and told us they never had a belt tracker last more than a week,” explains Rogoff. “When we presented our proposed solution, they were sceptical – thinking we were either over-confident or naive.”

Leveraging decades of application data and its in-house engineering expertise, Tru-Trac enhanced its heavy-duty dual-return tracker into an extra heavy-duty (EXHD) model specifically tailored for this customer’s needs.

“This was a demanding application with the 2,300 mm wide belt running at 9,6 metres per second – close to the speed of some of the fastest belts in the world,” he says. “A year later, our product was still working well, leading the customer to standardise on this Tru-Trac solution.”

Closer to home, a mining company in Rustenburg recently had their production halted for two days after successive failures of numerous belt tracking products. After a site visit to assess the situation, Tru-Trac returned the following day with two of its belt trackers – to replace the five installed competitor products.

The Tru-Trac tracker offers a long term solution that corrects belt misalignment.
The Tru-Trac tracker offers a long term solution that corrects belt misalignment.

“Within 20 seconds, the belt centralised and the problem was solved,” says Rogoff. “Initially, our customer could not believe what he was seeing and was convinced the old problem would return when material was loaded. However, the belt remained true under full load, as we had predicted.”

Blumberg points out that there has been significant growth in the business over recent years, and the company has expanded its local manufacturing to punch above its weight on the global stage. In fact, within the industry, the brand has become synonymous with its product, to the extent that professionals often refer to any conveyor belt trackers as ‘Tru-Trackers’

After the worldwide success of its tracking solutions, it made sense to leverage its trusted brand and expertise by diversifying into complementary conveyor solutions. Through its existing partnerships with international conveyor distributors, Tru-Trac  began importing well recognised brands to augment its range. This includes belt scrapers and skirting rubbers as well as impact beds.

“This led to us building our own service teams to provide installation and maintenance support for customers, as we were now dealing with equipment that needed servicing,” says Rogoff. “The beauty of our belt trackers is that they are essentially ‘fit and forget’ solutions that need very little attention during their lifecycle.”

Today, there are about 50 Tru-Trac service teams working across South Africa and into the rest of Africa, to support customers. With this growth came an expansion of in-house sales teams, who work from branches in the main mining regions in South Africa and Africa

“This gave us more control over our own destiny allowing us to develop skilled customer-centric teams to service customers as a complete provider of mechanical solutions and services on conveyor systems,” he says. 

Tru-Trac also now supplies its world class conveyor solutions to over 80 countries globally, including almost every mining country. At its world class facility in Centurion near Pretoria, there are now over 100 employees on the manufacturing side alone. 

The company’s in-house engineering and R&D capabilities have significantly expanded, with the size of its R&D department increasing fivefold over the past two years. This growth has enhanced Tru-Trac’s engineering and design capabilities, which include custom design and rapid prototyping, showcasing the company’s commitment to innovation and tailored conveyor system solutions.

“One of the rewarding parts of our work is that we provide conveyor solutions that really do deliver what customers require,” concludes Rogoff. “We still regularly have customers whose jaws drop in disbelief when we solve challenges which they have unsuccessfully been grappling with for years.”

OEM PARTS WILL OPTIMISE COSTS AND PERFORMANCE

In the world of crushing and screening equipment maintenance and optimisation, the question of whether a spare part is merely a spare part is pivotal. Jorge Abelho, Director of Technical Support at Pilot Crushtec, presents a compelling argument for the superiority of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts over aftermarket alternatives.

His insights reveal how OEM parts are not just components but critical cogs in the larger machinery system, driving down the total cost of ownership and enhancing production efficiency.

Pilot Crushtec’s commitment to optimising total cost of ownership for customers includes not only providing world class quality equipment but also the company’s approach to spare parts and components. “All spare parts should be engineered with a deep understanding of the machinery’s entire system, and we believe this holistic view is what sets OEM parts apart from aftermarket offerings,” Abelho says.

The key to Pilot Crushtec’s success lies in their commitment to quality and a comprehensive inventory. Every spare part is considered in relation to other machine components, ensuring optimal interaction and performance. This is possible thanks to Pilot Crushtec’s extensive knowledge of system mechanics, bolstered by continuous research and development aimed at finetuning performance.

“A striking example of OEM expertise is the inclusion of sacrificial parts in systems to shield more complex and expensive components. This level of nuanced understanding is often absent in aftermarket parts, potentially leading to costly malfunctions,” he explains. “Further, OEMs, unlike aftermarket suppliers, don’t just focus on high-demand parts but provide a full array of components essential for the machinery.”

Pilot Crushtec’s investment in R&D extends to the real-world monitoring and maintenance of their machinery. This hands-on approach enables ongoing improvement of parts including rigorous testing and adaptation to diverse operating conditions globally. Collaboration with other OEMs during the design phase further enriches this process, allowing for specialised input that optimises component interaction under various duty cycles.

The comprehensive approach of OEMs like Pilot Crushtec translates to parts that, while potentially more expensive upfront, offer significantly greater value in terms of machine performance and long term cost effectiveness. Abelho says customers are increasingly recognising this value, as evidenced by their own cost benefit analyses.