Tag Archives: mining equipment

Austin Engineering makes management changes as it targets further North America growth

Austin Engineering Limited has announced changes to its senior management structure in an effort to grow its North American business.

Current Chief Operating Officer (COO), Graham Backhouse, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Strategy Officer. The role will primarily concentrate on developing a growth strategy for Austin’s North American business where Austin is focused on increasing market share for haul truck trays and, in particular, mining buckets, following the company’s acquisition of Australia-based Mainetec in 2022.

In the last 18 months, following several operational changes, Austin’s North American business has seen much-improved EBITDA margins, which are now at record levels, Austin said. The North American order book has nearly doubled since a similar period last year, further reflecting the success of those operations and highlighting the potential in this region.

Austin’s central North American hub is located in Casper, Wyoming. It is a large manufacturing facility supported by multiple final assembly partnerships. North America is a major global market for mining equipment and Austin sees the potential for further substantial revenue growth across its existing equipment offering, plus Mainetec’s products, including in its high-value dipper bucket products.

Vincent D’Rozario has been appointed as the company’s COO. He will continue to drive the Austin 2.0 growth strategy across the business and further embed the operating model that has seen substantial increases in delivered margins and order book growth across the business, the company says.

D’Rozario has held a number of executive positions and senior roles in a diverse range of sectors including engineering, commercial aviation, major project delivery, and environmental and waste management solutions. Most recently he was the Regional Managing Director APAC for CHC Helicopters, overseeing services to mining and energy companies and State and Federal Government entities. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of ASX-listed The Environmental Group, which provides waste and environmental solutions to the resources, health and heavy industry sectors.

Both appointments are effective January 20, 2023.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “We are very pleased to strengthen the capabilities of our executive team with these two appointments, which will drive the next and substantial phase of our growth plan. We have made big strides across all business units over the last year and a half, with focused attention on our Australian and Indonesian businesses. We are very pleased to appoint Graham to develop and roll out a new growth strategy in North America. It is our second biggest market, and we are seeing substantially improved profitability and growth opportunity ahead. Central to that focus will be deploying more products developed in Australia into that region.

“We warmly welcome Vincent to the team as our new Chief Operating Officer. Vincent brings added capability to Austin through his diverse range of international experience in growing companies. We look forward to his contribution to Austin as we continue to grow our global business.”

Sandvik and Redpath to tackle underground mine safety and profitability with new pact

Sandvik and Redpath are aiming to improve safety and reduce underground mining costs through technology advancements, innovation, continuous improvement projects and standardised best practices under a newly-signed agreement guided by operational and relationship key performance indicators.

The five-year agreement includes Sandvik commitments on local presence and support, as well as an annual technology summit and factory training sessions. It will also standardise the use of equipment, leading to cost reductions and safety enhancements, the companies said.

“Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has long been a valued supplier of underground mining solutions to our global operations,” George Flumerfelt, CEO of The Redpath Group, said. “This mutually beneficial cooperation will help ensure Sandvik provides the same service experience and quality, independently of the geographic location and size of Redpath operations.”

Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “This agreement underlines the trust we have in our long-term relationship and further strengthens our good partnership with Redpath. Closer collaboration with Redpath’s business will enable us to deliver on expectations and optimise our product development.”

The two companies have worked on many underground mining projects together in the past and, last year, Redpath became the first company to receive and operate a Sandvik DD212 production drill in Australia, putting it into action at Silver Lake Resources’ Rothsay gold mine in Western Australia.

VDMA Mining notes German equipment turnover uptick in latest market outlook

The VDMA, which represents around 3,500 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies, says Germany’s mining equipment sector continues to recover from the COVID-19-related downturn, with turnover for the first nine months of the year up by 18% to €3.75 billion ($3.9 billion).

“The mining industry is doing well at the moment, benefiting from a high order backlog,” the organisation said in its latest report. “In 2021, the manufacturers of technology for the extraction of raw materials achieved a total turnover of €3.18 billion in Germany as a production location.

“From January to September 2022, turnover of €3.75 billion increased by 18% compared to the same period last year. In the first three quarters, however, incoming orders declined by 26%.”

The industry hopes that the excellent mood and response at the bauma trade fair, in Munich, Germany, will be able to close the gap in incoming orders by spring and is counting on its technical expertise, especially in digitalisation, the VDMA noted.

Exports by mining equipment manufacturers in the period from January to August 2022 were 25% up on the previous year at just under €1.24 billion. VDMA Mining estimates that the industry will end the current year with a 15% increase in turnover.

The importance of modern mining technology for Germany as an industrial location has increased with the energy transition, according to the organisation.

Manufactburers are relying on digitalised and, where already possible, autonomous extraction and production processes – also in their own companies.

VDMA Mining added: “The bureaucratic obstacles, such as the German Supply Chain Act, which is ahead of the future EU law and can hardly be implemented, a shortage of skilled workers and the negative attitude towards mining are challenges that must be overcome in order for Germany to have a future as a high-tech location.”

Dr Michael Schulte Strathaus, Chairman of the VDMA Mining Executive Board, said at the Mining Industry Meeting in Essen, Germany, on November 17: “In addition to all the political and economic uncertainties we are currently facing, we must not lose sight of the fact that a sustainable industrial location in Germany is also a guarantor of social stability and our democratic system. Modern mining equipment secures our supply of raw materials and is, therefore, indispensable.”

Kwatani looks to digital monitoring for improved screen uptime

Close monitoring is the basis for keeping vibrating screens productive and achieving the lowest cost of ownership, according to Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers, Chief Operating Officer of South Africa-based vibrating screen specialist Kwatani.

Moving from paper systems to digital solutions is a vital step towards this goal, he added.

“Where machine data recording – combined with periodic inspections and regular maintenance – can be captured in the digital sphere, you can generate a complete picture of the equipment’s lifecycle,” Mayhew-Ridgers says. “Real-time data monitoring is a game changer for screen reliability and performance.”

Wherever there are operational deviations from the prescribed norm, sensor-generated data can quickly alert the right people on the mine – giving them the ability to react timeously, he says. Importantly, this technology also allows patterns to be detected in the relationship between component life and throughput.

“By analysing these patterns, the mine can make well-informed decisions about its maintenance strategies, being aware of the optimal conditions for its equipment duty,” Mayhew-Ridgers says. “It also gives us, as original equipment manufacturers, the opportunity to compare machine performance in detail across different customer sites – so that we can adapt and advise accordingly.”

Where Kwatani sees one customer getting longer life from their exciters, for instance, the relevant data is easily available to make comparisons and identify distinguishing factors. He explains that Kwatani can monitor its vibrating screens using industrial sensors and measurement technology which is readily available and supported worldwide. In other words, it is not so specialised that it becomes unaffordable; neither is it so complicated that customers cannot maintain it themselves, the company says.

“What is key to the successful application of digital technology is that the raw data that we process must be analysed to become useful for decision making and planning,” Mayhew-Ridgers says. “This means streaming it seamlessly to databases, and allowing our customers to visualise the information effectively.”

To do this, Kwatani partners with system integrators and works closely with its mining customers so that the end users get the most out of the information without spending time and money to process the raw data themselves.

This digital monitoring can also help to overcome a common challenge in many mining operations: working in silos. Paper systems do not easily lend themselves to sharing of data across different aspects of the operation. This, in turn, makes it difficult to improve equipment performance on a holistic basis. The availability of various streams of data on a single platform enhances transparency between service technicians, foreman, engineers and the OEM of equipment on site.

“This of course requires that we integrate our systems with our customers’ existing infrastructure, which is an important focus for us,” Mayhew-Ridgers says. “Whether greenfields or brownfields project, it is important that information be compatible and seamlessly shared.”

He highlights that the data generated is valuable not only for reflecting a machine’s current status, but because it can store an entire life cycle history. Digital systems can keep track of the equipment’s inspections, maintenance and operational performance over its lifespan.

“The insights gained from this can lead to improvements in the design, or in the way that it is operated,” Mayhew-Ridgers says. “This can result in better efficiencies, improved production or other benefits.”

In 2021, Sandvik Group acquired Kwatani with its more than 45 year legacy as an OEM, and its South African manufacturing facilities are set to become the global engineering and manufacturing base for vibrating screens and feeders for both local and international customers.

The company is a Level 2 B-BBEE organisation. The Kwatani brand will continue to be used across Africa while products sold internationally will be sold through the Sandvik sales channels under the Kwatani product name.

Vehicle-agnostic MiC 4.0 BUS data interface and protocol to debut at Bauma 2022

A new universal, uniform and manufacturer-independent data interface between attachment tools and construction machinery, which also has potential in a mining environment, will be presented at Bauma 2022 in Munich, Germany, next week.

The new MiC 4.0 BUS, which was nominated for the bauma Innovation Award 2022, enables simpler work processes through barrier-free and direct data exchange between attachments and machinery, the consortium developing the protocol says.

Together with the agreed data protocol, it enables every attachment to communicate unambiguously, and without additional devices, with every construction machine, regardless of brand and manufacturer. It was jointly developed by the participating companies in the attachment cluster of the MiC 4.0 Machines in Construction working group and will now be presented live at Bauma in the LAB0 innovation hall, from October 24-30.

Users of attachments and construction machinery can simplify their individual work processes by using the MiC 4.0 Bus to enable direct and uniform communication between the machines without having to resort to isolated solutions, detours or third-party tools, the consortium says. They do not need additional displays or external technology, as they can exchange all agreed data with the MiC 4.0 protocol.

The responsibility in which form and under which framework the MiC 4.0 bus is used remains with the respective actors such as the OEMs.

“This MiC 4.0 BUS is, thus, the technical basis for a well-functioning plug-and-work solution and enables any direct communication between attachments and construction machinery,” the consortium says.

Komatsu to expand ‘mother plant’ in Longview, Texas

To upgrade and consolidate multiple functions into a single location, Komatsu is building a significantly expanded office and administration building on its manufacturing campus in Longview, Texas, USA.

Last month the company broke ground for the new 56,000-sq.ft (5,202 sq.m) building at 2400 S. MacArthur St. and is targeting a move-in date of December 2023.

With design and manufacturing responsibility for Komatsu’s electrical drive and SR (Switch Reluctance) hybrid drive systems for the company’s electric drive wheel loaders, the Longview campus also supports Komatsu’s global mining business through manufacturing assembly of other key parts and modules for electric rope shovels, rotary and track drills, trucks for surface mining, and underground hard-rock mining trucks and wheel loaders. Komatsu will also soon begin a project to expand the facility’s motor shop.

Designated a “mother plant” within the network of Komatsu’s global facilities, the Longview facility has research and development, design and manufacturing capability on one campus. Mother plants are tasked with strengthening the production competitive edge of their plants as well as those of their “child plants” that manufacture the same models, Komatsu explained.

“We value our partnership with the city of Longview and this investment is a reflection of Komatsu’s commitment to the southside of the city,” Jesse Dubberly, General Manager of Longview operations for Komatsu, said. “With new investments in this campus of close to $100 million, our goal is to continue to demonstrate that we are a solid community partner that offers good, family-sustaining jobs.

“By taking functions that were spread across six buildings and consolidating them into one new energy-efficient facility, we are constructing a building that is designed to not only better serve our existing workforce, but is also sized for our future growth.”

In addition to office facilities for up to 230 people, the new building will house an employee centre which includes a café, marketplace, indoor and outdoor seating, multipurpose room and Komatsu store; and a facility care centre maintained by the Environmental Health and Safety department that will provide an audiometric booth, first aid room, mother’s room and direct access for emergency vehicles in the event of an emergency. There will also be a Komatsu Customer Experience Center showcasing both Komatsu’s legacy and ingenuity.

Both the general contractor, Transet Co., and the engineering firm, Johnson & Pace, are local Longview firms. The architectural design team for the project is Arkansas-based Polk Stanley Wilcox.

Sandvik makes its case for mining equipment rebuilds

The need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ is now widely accepted, but Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions argues that equipment rebuilds also reduce fuel consumption, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), downtime and accidents, in addition to carbon footprint.

Sandvik says it is able to completely refurbish virtually any of its older machines to the latest spec at a significant discount to what customers would pay for an equivalent new model.

“From any of our 70 workshop facilities around the world, Sandvik’s certified technicians are able to provide a rebuild service to precisely match the customer’s needs and budget,” Francois Nell, Portfolio Manager Rebuilds & Upgrades at Sandvik, says.
While it’s true that a lot of our business traditionally comes from markets where there is an emphasis on keeping equipment running for as long as possible, it’s important to remember that our solutions aren’t just for those machines that are nearing the end of their life.”

In fact, rebuilds can be most effective when they are undertaken as mid-life services that ensure greater reliability in the long-term, while immediately helping to boost performance, increase safety and slash TCO, the company says. And it’s the growing recognition of the value these services offer that explains why major players are jumping on the rebuild bandwagon, rather than automatically trading up.

With rebuild workshops becoming busier and increased lead times for components large and small, much more forward planning is required nowadays, according to the company. This also ensures customers can select the least disruptive time for the work to be carried out, minimising  unplanned shutdowns.

“Our offering ranges in complexity from the base Custom Rebuilds, via Life Extension, up to Reborn and Reborn+ scopes,” Nell says. “We begin with a thorough assessment, to decide what components are required to meet the brief. This allows us to order the parts in advance, so that the real work can begin as soon as we receive the machine. The whole process typically takes 6-7 months, although 2-3 months isn’t unheard of when the need is urgent.”

This assumes the intervention is carried out at a Sandvik facility, enabling the company to use the highest levels of standard operational procedures, tools and cleanliness, etc. By rebuilding to a set of fixed standards, Sandvik can offer the customer an ‘as new’ or standard warranty depending on the scope, which could not be guaranteed if the work was done at the customer’s site, it says. Some equipment, however, may be irretrievably situated below ground, in which case exceptions need to be made.

So what can a customer expect once their machine arrives at a rebuild workshop? In Sandvik’s case, over 1,000 measurements, diagnostics and check points are analysed before the restoration even begins. After the machine has had a full stripdown, the company’s engineers carry out non-destructive testing to determine the extent of any metal fatigue and ensure that a rebuild is indeed viable. Once it’s been approved and repainted, it’s effectively a full ‘nut and bolt’ restoration, using only genuine parts.

Often using pre-assembled kits to speed up turnaround time, all major components will usually be replaced. Older machines will frequently be rebuilt to new generation spec, such as the latest engine technologies where appropriate, or upgrades in terms of hardware and software – most notably Sandvik’s Knowledge Box technology or the latest safety features.

Testing for functionality then follows, before the machines are once again put back into service with their operators. A further benefit of this approach is that, unlike when a 10-year-old machine is replaced with a new model, there is no need to retrain the operator. They can simply get in and immediately begin providing the same (if not higher) levels of productivity as they previously did – albeit in greater comfort and safety.

“With rebooted machines typically offering at least 90% of the lifespan of new equipment, the economic advantages to mine owners are clear – and we haven’t even touched on the environmental benefits that result from the huge reduction in energy consumption enabled by this reduce-and-reuse philosophy,” Nell concludes.

Although the majority of underground equipment is rebuilt no more than once due to structural fatigue, machines such as rotary surface drills can quite easily have their components replaced two or three times, operating well over 100,000 machine hours before they’re put out to pasture.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas preparing for new machine and tech launches

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc (HCMA) has officially began leading the Hitachi brand’s mining equipment sales and service support efforts in North America and Latin America.

This new direction replaces the joint venture Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) shared with John Deere.

In preparation for this changeover, HCMA has added more than 60 new team members throughout North America and Latin America, solidified equipment dealer relationships and worked with the HCM global team on new equipment and technology innovations that can help mines reduce operational costs and support sustainable mining practices.

According to Alan Quinn, CEO of HCMA, there has been a lot of excitement and anticipation leading up to the brand’s official realignment in the Americas.

“HCM and Deere worked together for many years to become a leading equipment provider in the Americas,” he said. “As HCMA takes over control of equipment sales, service and support moving forward, we are preparing to launch new machines and new technologies while focusing on having a more direct relationship with our customers and dealers. To support those efforts, we are developing a team to specifically support the mining industry, developing relationships with dealers that support the mining industry and operating a 400,000 sq.ft (37,161 sq.m) parts distribution centre located south of Atlanta, Georgia.”

HCMA has enlisted seven dealers in North America and eight dealers throughout Latin America to support mining operations, with Quinn saying HCMA will continue to grow its dealer network in the coming months.

In addition to bolstering its dealer network, HCMA plans to introduce new machinery and technology for the mining industry.

“HCM is committed to product development,” Quinn said, “so our future mining equipment aligns with the priorities of mining companies. For example, our team is working on battery-powered haul truck technology that will help reduce equipment exhaust emissions while still delivering similar productivity. We understand mines are more environmentally conscious, and we are developing technology to support a more sustainable industry.”

On-board equipment technology is another area HCM is investing resources to advance. The company plans to differentiate itself through the product capabilities of these new machines, including the latest in hydraulic systems, innovative “uptime” and IoT services and enhanced safety features, it said. The mining industry can expect to see increasing capabilities of Hitachi ConSite, with an initiative to add more telematics and predictive analytics for its mining product lines.

“While our new operational structure is just getting started in North America and Latin America, we are excited to bring the full breadth of resources seen from Hitachi in many other parts of the world,” Quinn concluded.

Liebherr-Australia set for Kalgoorlie return in 2022

Liebherr-Australia is set to return to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, with a new branch set to open in the city in 2022.

The Kalgoorlie branch will provide support in the form of fast access to spare parts and customer service for the growing number of Liebherr mining equipment in the region and will be one of three mining branches in Western Australia, the company said.

The branch is set to be opened in the city on a 10,000 sq.m block, incorporating a 1,000 sq.m warehouse and 180 sq.m office space, with necessary parts and Liebherr tooling held in the facility. It will be supported by full time parts personnel, with customer support and service teams using the branch as a hub when travelling between sites.

In recent years, Liebherr’s footprint of mining equipment in the Goldfields-Esperance region has grown, now supporting more than 30 excavators and trucks, over 15 mine sites and nine customers, with more scheduled into 2022.

“Returning to Kalgoorlie marks the success we’ve had in recent years in growing our equipment fleet in the region,” Trent Wehr, Liebherr-Australia Managing Director, said.

The new opening marks a return to the region for Liebherr-Australia who was present in the region through an agent between 1986 and 1990, before taking over the official OEM dealership in the region from 1990 to 2006.

Wehr added: “We have always been committed to providing the best support to our customers and establishing the Kalgoorlie branch will only further enable us to provide these services.”

Liebherr-Australia’s mining customer support network includes branches in Mackay, Queensland; Mt Thorley, New South Wales; Perth, Western Australia; Newman, Western Australia; and soon-to-be Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. This comes alongside the head office, national distribution centre and production facility in Adelaide, South Australia.

The Kalgoorlie branch is scheduled to be operational in January 2022, with Liebherr-Australia to hold an official opening ceremony with key customers and partners in the March quarter of 2022 to celebrate the milestone.