To ensure uptime on critical equipment, maintenance contracts are becoming an ever-more popular choice, according to vibrating equipment OEM, Kwatani.
The South Africa-based company should know, as it has customised contracts in place to service over 500 of its machines in the Northern Cape alone.
“Vibrating screens are critical to a mine’s material flow, which is its lifeblood,” Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin, says. “This requires OEMs to be experts, not just in design and manufacture, but in service support and maintenance.”
As a leading local OEM, Kwatani has seen mines gradually embrace the value of maintenance contracts to avoid costly downtime. One of its contracts covers about 400 screens on a single mining operation.
The range of its contracts extends to various commodities, from hard materials like iron ore and manganese to soft material such as coal. In one coal operation in Limpopo, Kwatani has contracted to service 160 of its machines.
Schoepflin highlights how regular, expert maintenance is vital for mines to achieve the lowest cost per tonne in their production process. However, she warns these contracts can only be conducted responsibly and effectively with the right level of knowledge and experience.
“With our depth of know-how gathered over more than 40 years, we understand exactly what inspections and critical replacement need to be done and when,” she says. “As importantly, we know how to conduct this work cost effectively.”
Accurate costing of maintenance contracts can only be based on a firm foundation of expertise, especially when contracts invoke penalties due to breakdowns. Kwatani’s experience in the field ensures the requirements of its maintenance contracts are met. This allows the company to offer a range of financial models to customers when they consider such contracts.
“We are so confident of the quality and reliability of our vibrating screens and feeders that some customers pay us a cost-per-tonne rate to maintain them,” she says. “We design, manufacture, install and commission according to their requirements, and then we take financial responsibility for keeping them fully operational.”
Long-term contracts often also include a commitment to improve and enhance the performance of the screens over time. To do this work professionally requires qualified service teams who are supported by solid engineering teams. Kwatani has developed these resources locally over more than four decades, and continuously develops skills in-house, alongside the various management systems to ensure such skills are available timeously to the customer.
“In addition to training and employing local people for a service role at our branches, we also collaborate with mining customers to empower their locally-based suppliers where this is feasible,” Schoepflin says.
She highlights Kwatani’s solution-orientated approach, combining the company’s expertise in its screening technology with the customer’s specific needs and resources.