The use of factory-trained, OSHA- and MSHA-certified experts for maintenance of bulk handling systems has taken another step forward as Martin Engineering establishes its newest Mr. Blade™ territory, serving the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA, the company says.
Introduced in 2015, the network is a “unique factory-direct service program”, delivering replacement belt cleaner blades, air cannon valves and other Martin products, specified and custom-fitted on-site and installed free of charge. Further, Martin service technicians will replace the main frame and tensioner of any belt cleaner as needed – also at no charge – as part of the Mr. Blade service relationship.
The new territory is part of a larger initiative to deliver factory-direct service to customers around the world. The Mr. Blade program is currently up and running in the USA, UK and Italy, with additional launches planned for next year. The company estimates that it is currently responsible for about 10,000 conveyor belts worldwide as part of its managed services program.
“Martin assures accurately-sized and professionally installed replacement blades that are matched to the specific application, providing optimum cleaning performance and service life,” the company said. “The company ensures customer satisfaction with its exclusive Forever Guarantee, which specifies that users will experience better cleaning, longer service life and lowest cost of ownership.”
Initial targets for the new territory will be facilities producing or handling sand, aggregate or cement.
Martin Engineering Senior Customer Support Specialist, Marty Smith, explained: “Plants in just about every industry are being asked to do more with limited resources. Maintenance personnel often don’t have the time or training to safely and efficiently perform belt cleaner inspections or air cannon service when needed. Customers really appreciate having a dedicated technician who makes regular visits, so employees can focus on core business activities.”
National Sales Manager for Wear Components, Alan Highton, says shifting the maintenance responsibility to a trusted partner through this kind of service relationship is one way that bulk handlers can continue to streamline their operations, improving the performance and safety of their bulk handling systems at the same time.
“Unlike most suppliers, we have chosen not to use third-party service providers, who typically don’t have the specific expertise to optimise these systems,” Highton said.
“The idea behind the Mr. Blade program is to deliver an unequalled level of service using highly efficient, regionalised systems,” he added. “Our technicians really get to know the conveyors they’re visiting, and with the monitoring systems we now have in place, we’re able to deliver proactive service in advance of a breakdown, replacing worn or failing components before they lead to an event that stops production.”
The company is also taking steps to help customers whose facilities have limited access during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with their maintenance staff to remotely train employees to effectively maintain their conveyor systems, offering guidelines on preventive maintenance, inspections and replacement blade ordering. Factory-direct technicians remain in close contact with periodic check-ins and provide key parameters to assure optimum performance, according to the company.
As part of the Mr. Blade service, Martin will install its Position Indicators on every primary cleaner free of charge to deliver remote monitoring for qualifying customers, allowing technicians and operations personnel to access detailed information on conditions and remaining service life via Wi-Fi or cell phone. The monitoring system alerts service personnel when re-tensioning or replacement is required, or when abnormal conditions occur.
Also included are regularly-scheduled inspections, adjustment and blade replacement as required on all Martin belt cleaning systems, as well as the company’s multi-point Walk-the-Belt audits based on worldwide best practices. All services are covered by the price of components, with no contract required, Martin claims.
Highton said the new territory will cover five states: Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. The company has begun serving customers with two technicians in specially-equipped vans, each outfitted with a fresh supply of 8 ft (2.4 m) blade lengths and equipped with a band saw, milling machine and all tools required to achieve a custom fit, accurate installation and precise tensioning.
The vans are designed as mobile business units, with technicians able to electronically enter and update data on each customer system right at the site. With a lifetime record of all belt cleaning equipment, customers will have access to details on the mounting assembly, tensioner and blade wear life, along with total annual cost information for budgeting purposes, the company claims.
Smith said: “Consistent attention to the cleaners helps deliver maximum performance and wear life, minimising component failures and unscheduled shutdowns. And, if there is a breakdown, service is available from MSHA-certified technicians capable of repairing any brand or style of cleaner. We can even supply retrofit blades to fit belt cleaners from any manufacturer.”