We started in 1996 as a problem-solving engineering business. This engineering mindset is ingrained into everything we do, whether you’re using one of our ground-breaking payload products or you have a Schlam Superstar working on your equipment. Today, we’ve grown to become one of Western Australia’s largest family-owned mining services companies and you’ll find our products and maintenance people at work across mines on six continents. With an ambition to be at every mine in the world, we’re still working to become the business we want to be.
Schlam closes the feedback loop for mining customers
Making mining equipment more productive is what Schlam does.
The Australia-based company has become a leading provider of diversified mining and engineering solutions since its inception more than two decades ago, delivering Payload, People and Engineering Solutions that make the difference on site.
“We realise value and unlock productivity opportunities for our mining partners, and engineer, manufacture and maintain the assets critical to their success,” Schlam says. “Today, we stand as an organisation that has an Australian focus, global reach and growing aspirations to be a world-class engineering company.”
Schlam’s Payload Solutions include products that challenge what operators think they can achieve with their fleet of open pit and underground machines.
This is typified by the company’s Schlam Hercules dump bodies. These heavy duty, durable and lightweight truck bodies, previously recognised under the DT HiLoad Hercules brand, come with a patented curved design for increased capacity and strength.
Over 1,000 Hercules bodies have been manufactured in Australia, with the innovation featured on mining trucks running around the globe’s major mining hubs.
These open-pit dump truck bodies are complemented by Schlam’s customised buckets, with the Barracuda range of excavator, shovel and wheel loader buckets tailored to deal with the ground conditions, commodities, material properties and OEM earthmoving fleet on site.
Underground, Schlam’s Bullant dump bodies are custom engineered and built specifically to suit the mine application and OEM underground mining equipment at hand, while removing the carryback problem many existing dump bodies suffer from. Such customisation can result in an up to 10% increase in payload per trip, Schlam says.
Its People Solutions entail a whole host of services from mechanical, electrical and heavy fabrication to line boring and high-pressure cleaning.
Personnel are ready to join mine site teams for as long as needed or bring their expertise and field equipment to site at a moment’s notice.
Schlam’s teams have an outstanding reputation across the sector, having recently been named by Rio Tinto as one of three firms to sit on a panel to provide mining equipment maintenance support at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara. This three-year contract incorporates various trades, including heavy-duty mechanics, auto electricians, light vehicle mechanics, boilermakers and more.
And, earlier this year, Schlam’s dedicated HME shutdown team – formed in 2020 to work on excavators, haul trucks and drill rigs across the Pilbara – completed its biggest shutdown job to date.
The shutdown of an Epiroc Pit Viper 351 blasthole drill saw the 25-strong team work in two shifts (day/night) for close to three weeks, with each shift containing roughly eight to 10 mechanics and three boilermakers. The scope included removing the rig’s mast; taking out and replacing the engine; completing a compressor changeout; removing and refurbishing the track frames; installing new tracks, rollers, idler and guides; mounting new associated components such as pumps, pump hosing, hydraulic valves, etc; and carrying out line boring of the frame.
Engineering Solutions are where Schlam’s in-built creativity really comes to the fore, solving problems for clients with out-of-the-box thinking that leverages more than two decades of experience.
This encompasses mechanical reliability problem solving, product engineering and design, finite element analysis, material flow modelling and wear analysis, custom fabrication and machining, and more.
Such expertise was highlighted in 2020 at a client’s alumina refinery in Australia. The refinery in question had a complex wet screening system in place in need of a wear parts refresh.
The wear components – selected to handle wet material that is extremely abrasive – were originally designed as an integral part of the structural makeup of the plant. This made replacing the components very expensive and time consuming, resulting in lost production.
Working together, the Schlam and alumina refinery teams designed, fabricated and installed a modified assembly that included an easily removable, fit-for-purpose wear component. This removed the need to disassemble major parts of the plant to conduct routine repairs, reducing cost while improving plant availability.
Schlam states: “Our engineering mindset and holistic view of equipment productivity means we have the people and technology to help you rethink and reinvent the way you’re currently doing things.”
It is close collaboration between these solution divisions and with clients in the field that ensures Schlam continues to regenerate new ideas that can be tailored to today’s and tomorrow’s mine sites.
“Our team in the field closes the feedback loop,” Schlam says. “Engineers receive information from teams in the field, learnings go into new and improved products, and service teams follow products into the field and work with the latest OEM equipment.”
Such ingenuity means Schlam will continue to collaborate and customise for the Australia and international mining sectors for at least another 20 years.