Headquartered in Bocholt, Germany, and active across 35 countries including Asia, Flender is a global leader in drive technology employing approximately 8,600 people and had sales of some €2.2 billion in FY2020. The company’s comprehensive product and service portfolio includes gearboxes, couplings, and generators for a wide variety of industries including mining.
Q&A with Andreas Evertz
IM took the opportunity to talk to Flender CEO Andreas Evertz, highlighting the company’s strengths and activities plus future potential in the mining sector.
How would you summarize the FLENDER offering to the mining industry?
Flender offers a wide range of mechanical drive products for the mining industry. In particular, Flender offers solution for applications with stationary machines. Flender is an absolute specialist in mechanical drive technology, especially in the minerals and mining industry. We have solutions for almost all applications with a strong focus on mechanical drive solutions.
Are there particular drive sizes or applications in mining that FLENDER is most known for eg. conveyors, ball mills etc.?
As mentioned before, Flender is the absolute specialist in mechanical drive technology with solutions for almost every application in the minerals and mining sector. Especially in applications such as conveyor belts, mining trucks, pumps, flotation, mixers & agitators, mills, roller presses, etc. we are very successful.
How important is the opening of the new facility in Australia in terms of FLENDER’s strategy to grow in mining?
It is very important for the local market in Australia, especially in the western part. There is a large installed base in the western Australia mine sites and new projects are expected. So, an assembly and service facility is essential to secure the share of wallet, service the installed base and increase the Flender market share too. Western Australia is a key market globally in the minerals and mining space and this investment is a critical part of executing our independence strategy and investing in being close to our customers. This also shows our long-term commitment to the mining industry.
How would you say FLENDER differentiates itself in the mining market in terms of technology, experience, quality etc versus major competitors like ABB and WEG?
ABB and WEG are not competitors with Flender, they could be partners like Siemens for drive trains consisting of gearbox, coupling and motor. With regard to Flender’s competitors in gearbox technology, we continuously aim to maintain our technological leadership and to extend our leading position. Above all, we try to be not only a gearbox specialist for our customers, but also an application specialist who knows the exact requirements of our product and translates them into the individual solution. Partnership-based cooperation with our customers and highest reliability of our products are our concept for success.
Is there a defined division in terms of rated power or equipment size above which gearless drives start to make more sense or are the two technologies competing in certain markets?
Originally, we thought we saw a trend towards gearless drives in the very high-power range, but the last few years have shown a different picture. The interest to work with gear solutions, also in the very high-power range, has increased very much. Due to continuous improvement of the gear technology, we are now able to offer our customers the highest performance and availability at affordable costs. We are convinced that geared solutions have more advantages in terms of CAPEX, flexibility as well as OPEX in minerals and mining applications compared to direct drive solutions.
When mining companies or EPCMs are specifying drives for major equipment types like mills and conveyors and crushers what are their main concerns – reliability, ease of maintenance, service support, or a combination of these?
Yes, reliability of the products, ease of maintenance, service support and reliable project management of the supplier are the main concerns. For the EPCMs it’s important that they work with a company like Flender who not only understand their product but also understand the customers application which then makes for the best solution.