Tag Archives: OEM

Kwatani bids farewell to founder and chairman, Gunter Vogel

Engineer and self-made industrialist Gunter Vogel, founder and chairman of South African vibrating equipment manufacturer Kwatani, has passed away in Johannesburg after a long illness, the company confirmed. He was 75 years old.

Kwatani said: “Vogel was a well-known personality in the mining and manufacturing sectors, having acquired Joest South Africa, in 1988. It was then a small company importing motors from Germany for the assembly of small vibrating equipment. He built this modest business into a fully independent local original equipment manufacturer (OEM) which was rebranded as Kwatani in 2016. With its focus on ‘engineering for tonnage’, the business has become an industry leader in vibrating equipment solutions through South Africa and beyond.

“Born in Germany in 1944, he studied mechanical engineering before coming to South Africa as a young man in his early 20s. Colour-blindness had denied him a career as a pilot, but he pursued his engineering career with passion and ingenuity. According to his daughter Kim Schoepflin, Kwatani’s chief executive officer, he also loved mathematics and was convinced that everything had an engineering solution.

“Schoepflin said: “His success relied on this commitment to quality, technology and most of all his commitment to customers. He loved being on the mine site and was never shy to get his hands dirty working through the night to resolve whatever the problem was. He was so devoted that very often he would drive 12 hours through the night at the drop of a hat when the telephone rang.””

“She remembers him as a passionate teacher, giving interesting presentations on screen sizing that left a lasting impression on many customers in mining. “Even today, some of our competitors and suppliers use and refer to his sizing philosophies,” she noted.

“An enthusiastic reader and philosopher, Vogel also loved adventure and the African bush. Perhaps his most daring trip – together with his wife Maria – was by Landcruiser from Johannesburg to Hamburg, Germany. The 30,000 km trip took them seven months and traversed 29 countries on three continents.

“He was also a free thinker who opposed racial discrimination and devoted many years to supporting and building black businesses during apartheid. Significantly, Vogel laid the foundation for Kwatani’s transformation into a B-BBEE Level 1 company.

“Schoepflin said: “Being an exceptionally ethical man, he always fought for what he believed was right. He stood by his word and did not subject himself to any rules or regulations that he did not believe in. He remains a legend in the industry in which we operate.””

HydraGEN technology receives top prize at Mining Cleantech Challenge

dynaCERT Inc and H2 Tek have taken home the $5,000 top prize at the Mining Cleantech Challenge in Denver, the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) has reported.

The two companies’ technology was chosen by mining executives and investors in the industry as the best among a competitive field of 12 total companies representing the US, Canada and Israel, the CCIA said. An international team of judges reviewed and voted on the winners, the CCIA said.

dynaCERT’s HydraGEN™ turns distilled water into H2 and O2 gases on-demand and introduces these gases directly to diesel engines’ air intakes. H2 Tek Vice President of Sales and Marketing, David Van Klaveren, said: “Our technology, HydraGEN can actually improve significantly those carbon emissions, reduce them and, along the way, pay for the capital cost of all this through fuel efficiency savings.

“We can’t ignore the fact that clean technology is an important part of our responsibility as participants and members of this industry, the mining industry,” he said. “I think it’s remarkable that an association considers this a priority: bringing together companies that have innovation for an extremely important cause.”

Hydrocarbons and CO2 are reduced due to the absence of carbon in hydrogen fuel and also due to better combustion of diesel fuel with the aid of hydrogen which has a higher flame speed, dynaCERT said.

“Although CO values for neat diesel operation is relatively lower, by inducting H2 & O2 into diesel the CO amount is further reduced,” dynaCERT said. dynaCERT has created partnerships to perfect a technology that would deliver on the promising findings with H2 & O2 injection. Not only have we developed patent-pending technology, we have completed testing and have validated that our technology works.”

Some of the features delivered through the technology, dynaCERT said:

  • “Our patent-pending electrolysis system and Smart ECM provides a reliable and adjustable delivery of H2 & O2 concentrations. Not all engines are the same and having the optimal ratio of gases provides increased benefits;
  • “Our technology is scalable allowing use with Class 6-8 on-road vehicles and transition to applications with rail, marine, off-road and power generation;
  • “Our technology is leading edge and provides solutions without drawing excessive power to perform the task;
  • “It is designed to work with OEM manufacturer’s and compliment technological improvements.”

Second place in the cleantech competition went to Earth Alive Clean Technologies, a microbial dust control technology that is non-hazmat, 100% organic and has biodegradable properties, while Rail-Veyor and its light rail solution rounded off the top three.

NEPEAN bulks up conveyor component reach with addition of Tefco Engineering assets

NEPEAN’s PROK Conveyor Components has extended its conveyor component capability with the addition of a fully-operational specialised original equipment manufacturer (OEM) pulley business based in New South Wales, Australia.

NEPEAN Chief Executive Officer, Miles Fuller, said the new business, which comes from Tefco Engineering’s assets, is a perfect extension of its conveyor pulley capability in key mining regions and will strengthen PROK’s offering to customers on the east coast of Australia and internationally.

With the integration of Tefco Engineering’s assets, PROK is positioned to provide customers in core mining regions with a dedicated and local option for OEM pulleys and pulley overhauls, the company said.

Fuller said: “The new facility will be integrated with our existing PROK business with a focus on growing, improving and innovating to ensure that our customers are the winners.”

The acquisition includes over 3,500 m² of manufacturing operations in New South Wales, bolstering PROK’s existing capability with six overhead cranes, plate rolling, computer numerical control machining, in-house stress relieving, shot-blasting, painting facilities and specialised pulley acceptance testing equipment, the company said.

NEPEAN is already the largest manufacturer of pulleys and idlers in Australia, and one of the largest specialists in conveyor components globally, the company said. Through operations in six continents, NEPEAN produces thousands of large engineered pulleys and millions of rollers for distribution to over 66 countries.

Fuller said: “Our service offering and the wider suite of products positions NEPEAN as the number one choice for quality conveyor components.

“Our investment in the Tefco Engineering business, and more importantly Tefco Engineering’s customers and employees, is a further commitment to an industry we know well. It is a step in NEPEAN’s journey to be the global leader in innovative conveyor components.”

NEPEAN’s conveyor expertise in Australia includes fully-integrated bulk materials handling solutions from the mine to the train or truck load station.

Miner collaboration playing a key role in battery-electric developments, Sandvik says

Sandvik says it understands the underground hard-rock mining industry’s need for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles and, as a result, is working on even more solutions to cater to this demand.

Innovations and ideas for these future solutions are being discussed and validated in customer forums, participated by several major mining houses, and organised by the OEM.

These customer workshops and forums have proven to be an effective and successful means of collaboration, according to the company.

“Today, Sandvik understands customer needs for productive and safe mining with battery-electric vehicles, and uses these forums to discuss the changes, challenges, and opportunities that electrification is expected to bring to the mining industry,” it said.

As part of Sandvik’s customer validation process, pioneering mining houses get their voices heard and needs analysed in discussion forums, the company says. One example is Goldcorp, which is developing the world’s first all-electric underground mine in northern Ontario, Canada, at the Borden Lake gold project, and presented in the recent Canada customer forum.

Sandvik said: “The benefits that electrification and battery-electric equipment are expected to bring – for the Borden Lake mine as well as any other operation planning to introduce new technology – will include, for example, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced diesel fuel consumption, and reduced power consumption.

“Additionally, as diesel engines are replaced with battery-electric solutions, underground mines will produce less heat, noise and exhaust gases, including diesel particulate matter. Thus, the innovative technology will result in decreased mine ventilation needs, which are currently a significant cost factor in deep and complex underground mines.”

While Sandvik’s customer electrification forum occurred recently, previous efforts have been instrumental steps in the journey to providing an electrified product offering to replace diesel, the company said.

Sandvik has previously developed innovative products for the underground mining industry such as electric LHDs, remote control LHDs, and automation.

Learnings following two years of testing with the Sandvik LH307 battery LHD prototype (pictured) have been important building blocks to the knowledge bank, which is guiding the ongoing R&D efforts, and have driven a clear understanding that “successful electrification implementation involves much more than simply replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery”, Sandvik says.

“Thus, solutions in progress at Sandvik are based on a holistic approach of electrified equipment, ensuring that the final products make no compromises to performance.”

Mats Eriksson, President of Product Area Load and Haul, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Finding new solutions to reduce heat and emissions in underground mines, without compromising the customer’s productivity, is perfectly in line with our strategy, safety first.

“Also the targeted benefits of battery electric vehicles speak for Sandvik’s aim to align with the United Nations Global Sustainability Development Goals. We believe that developing battery electric technology is one of the future directions to take.”

IM will be hosting The Electric Mine conference in Toronto, Canada, on April 4-5, 2019, where developments in this fast-evolving sector will be discussed. For more information on the event, click here.

Australia coal mine automation could increase post-2025, says WoodMac

While autonomy has started to catch on in Western Australia’s iron ore sector, coal miners on the eastern side of the country have been slow to adopt such technologies. Research firm Wood Mackenzie thinks that could change with a number of new, large projects starting to come online after 2025.

The reasons East Coast coal miners have shied away from autonomous trucks, drills and trains now operating across the iron ore ranges of the Pilbara are mostly tied to mining complexity and high capital spend, according to WoodMac’s Brent Spalding.

Without labour reductions or output increases, autonomous retrofits produce minimal operating cost savings, he said.

But, that hasn’t stopped Whitehaven Coal from signing up to an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) development at its Maules Creek operations in New South Wales.

Earlier this month, the company agreed to mobilise a fleet of six autonomous Hitachi EH5000AC3 haul trucks at one of the mine’s operating pits by 2019 as it looked to improve safety and efficiency. If proven successful, the technology could be rolled out across the mine.

The collaboration between the two companies will entail scoping the delivery and commissioning of phased AHS deployment for the fleet at Maules Creek and the establishment of the physical and technological infrastructure to support AHS capability.

But wider adoption among the Australia coal sector is some way off, Spalding said. This is despite numerous operating cost and safety benefits already seen in Western Australia iron ore operations.

“In iron ore, we have seen increased productivity levels of 15-20% mainly driven by higher output levels. Output levels have increased at autonomous mines because of improved equipment utilisation, less downtime due to fewer shift changes and breaks, and a drop in labour absenteeism,” he said.

“Safety has also proven to be a key driver of automation. To date, there have been no injuries attributed to autonomous vehicles within the Australian iron ore sector.”

Yet, these results require additional upfront capital not necessarily paid back with higher financial returns.

“For iron ore, we estimate no real change in net present value across automated and non-automated sites, because the operating cost savings are presently offset by the high capital spend,” he said.

Autonomous retrofits of haul trucks, which Fortescue Metal Group and Rio Tinto are in the process of carrying out, cost in the order of $500,000 per truck, according to Spalding.

He sees this capital outlay falling as access to autonomous technology improves and becomes more readily available, while added productivity improvements could lead to further cost savings.

Yet, at current costs, the return on investment in coal doesn’t make sense, according to Spalding’s numbers.

He applied the same 15-20% improvement in unit rates (excluding diesel) for truck haulage and the same increase in labour productivity seen in WA iron ore across Australia coal.

This analysis was based on an average surface coal mine operating at the mid-point of the Australia cost curve and assumed a surface coal mine with a strip ratio of 6.5 bank cubic metres per raw tonne, producing 10 million tonnes per year of raw coal with a productivity of 13,333 raw tonnes per employee.

“When adjusting at 15%, we estimate a decline in raw total cash costs of 10% (or $2.69 per tonne) to $25.44/t. At 20%, we estimate costs 12% lower at $24.66/t,” Spalding said, noting raw costs do not take into account processing yields.

“In this Australia coal scenario, the total labour component accounts for close to one-third of the total raw unit cost. However, for the 15% and 20% productivity improvement scenarios, we estimate the labour component will account for more than 60% of the total cost saving. So, it stresses that if labour is not reduced – or output increased – as part of the automation process, cost savings will be limited to approximately $1/t for both scenarios,” he said.

But, OEMs and autonomy specialists should not despair; a slate of new, large projects could be ripe for such solutions.

“Beyond 2025, there could be more opportunities for driverless trucks through the development of some larger projects in excess of 20 Mt/y, which include Glencore’s Wandoan coal project in the Surat basin and Adani’s Carmichael in the Galilee basin,” he said.

Wandoan is expected to produce 22 Mt/y of thermal coal at full tilt, while Carmichael is reported to have a 60 Mt/y capacity.

The reason these greenfield projects are more likely to adopt such technologies – aside from the obvious safety benefits – is because “they represent a clean slate, where the mine plan can be geared towards automation from the start, rather than be retrofitted or changed as the mine develops”, Spalding said.

“There could even be a further option for driverless trains given the rail infrastructure still needs to be developed for these Queensland coal basins.”

Metso Q2 results up on mining equipment demand

Metso benefitted from a ramp up in project activity in the mining equipment market during the June quarter, with the company’s services and sales orders, and profit all growing in the three-month period.

Overall orders received increased 14% year-on-year to €853 million, with services orders up 7% at €463 million. The company’s sales rose 15% to €776 million, with services sales (up 10%) making up €442 million of this total.

Operating profit increased 45% to €86 million, compared with just €60 million a year earlier.

Metso noted there was healthy activity in all of the markets it serves in the June quarter and expected the next six-month period to see further growth in demand for equipment from its Minerals division and stable demand for Minerals services.

Interim President and CEO Eeva Sipilä said: “We saw continued healthy market activity across our businesses and were particularly pleased to see the project activity in the mining equipment market increase during the second (June) quarter. The solid growth in both equipment and services is a clear indication of our strong position in our key markets.”

She said the company would continue to focus on operational excellence as well as implementing its other “strategic fundamentals”.

The company’s digital strategy is moving forward with piloting comminution analytics at customer sites in North America, Africa, and Australia taking place.

“We are also taking R&D plans forward across our portfolio to strengthen our offering further. Also, our work on adjacent acquisitions supporting our growth strategy continues,” she said.

“Overall, while we have a lot of areas of further improvement ahead of us, I am encouraged by the results we have achieved during the first six months of the year.”