Tag Archives: rebuilds

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.

Sandvik sustainability focus on show at Zimbabwe remanufacture facility

Solar power is energising Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s facility in Zimbabwe, with the mining OEM saving around 400 t/y of carbon dioxide emissions, it says.

The Harare-based operation, which focuses mainly on the remanufacture of Sandvik trucks, loaders, drills and bolters, kicked off its solar power journey in 2017 with an 18-month Phase One project. This included strengthening the roof of the remanufacture facility to accommodate the weight of some 400 solar panels.

Using local contractors and expertise, the project was soon generating 50 kW of power to the facility. In Phase Two, another 50 kW of capacity was added, with the installation now supplying about 75% of requirements. Plans are also in place to provide 100% of demand with another 30-50 kW of capacity.

Among new Sandvik sustainability goals outlined in 2019 across the group is an aim to halve the CO2 foot print from the company’s own production by 2030.

Ian Bagshaw, Territory Manager Zimboz – Southern Africa at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This takes our Harare facility to the next level in terms of technology and sustainability.”

In an unusual design, the system operates with no battery storage, consuming the energy as it is generated. This substantially reduced the cost outlay for the project, enabling a payback period of just nine years, according to Sandvik.

The solar journey has not been limited to the facility’s buildings. Over the past year, it has also been extended to the homes of employees. In a pilot project, standalone domestic solar power systems were designed, tested and installed. The combined impact, so far, amounts to about 35 kW of renewable energy.

“We will provide loans to staff members wanting to install solar power at home, empowering them to further reduce climate impact,” Bagshaw said. “We will roll out this program in 2020 through an offer to all staff, and we expect an enthusiastic uptake.”

He estimates the company’s domestic solar program could soon produce a total of about 300 kW of renewable energy.

Bagshaw said the Harare workshop is fully accredited and works to OEM standards. “This high quality of workmanship allows us to provide full warranties on the machines we strip down and rebuild,” he said.

The facility is also an important training resource for Zimbabwe, developing diesel plant fitters, millwrights and electricians, according to Sandvik. It accommodates about 40 apprentices in training at any one time; currently around 30% of these are women. The facility also provides work-related learning to other companies’ employees in the region and is a government accredited trade testing centre, Sandvik says.

Volvo CE to acquire ‘construction and mining equipment adaptor’ CeDe Group

Volvo Construction Equipment is to acquire special application partner CeDe Group for an undisclosed sum, the Sweden-based company has said.

CeDe Group, based out of Malmo, Sweden, has a good reputation in the Nordic region as a low-volume adaptor of construction and mining machinery for special applications, according to Volvo CE. It has worked with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Volvo CE and its dealers, developing new bodies for haulers (eg fuel, water, waste), rail conversions for wheeled excavators, as well as conversions for underground mining applications.

The deal, which is expected to come into force by mid-March, will include CeDe’s intellectual property, operations, other assets and staff of around 45 full-time employees. As the annual volumes produced are relatively low, the deal will have no material effect on the income or financial position of Volvo CE, the company said.

Interestingly, CeDe, formed in 2000, can trace its roots back to Volvo’s original excavator business, Åkerman.

“Under Volvo CE ownership, the vision is that CeDe will remain an agile, entrepreneurial, standalone business,” Volvo CE said. “Volvo CE will make available its considerable competences to the company and add additional resources to allow it to expand its market reach and customer bases, becoming a European leader in this specialised field.”

A strengthened partner will also support Volvo CE’s objectives of expanding its product offering into new segments and applications, as well as providing a partner who can deliver low volume prototypes and production runs, Volvo CE said.The company will continue to provide and expand its engineering services to non-Volvo CE customers, it added.

Volvo CE President, Melker Jernberg, said: “This acquisition makes sense on a number of strategic levels. CeDe has already proven that it has a depth of engineering talent in adapting our machines for specialised applications. This closer relationship will allow Volvo CE to grow our product offerings while, at the same time, boosting CeDe’s ability to expand into new markets and segments, both with Volvo CE and its other OEM customers.”

CeDe Group’s Chief Executive, Krister Johnsson, said: “We are extremely pleased to be joining the Volvo CE family of companies. With our already long and good relationship with Volvo CE and deep understanding of its products, we are excited at the opportunities to develop our services and expand our reach into new markets.”

Genrec Engineering keeps downtime to a minimum at South Africa coal mine

Genrec Engineering has demonstrated its skills and capabilities in steel fabrication and engineering, successfully repairing a damaged dragline excavator boom in record time for one of South Africa’s leading coal mines.

This project also marks another important milestone in the company’s drive to diversify into specialist and niche markets since it was acquired by the Southern Palace Group (SPG) in 2016, the company said.

Genrec Engineering completed the project in around 10 weeks, helping reduce downtime at the mine in the Mpumalanga coalfields.

Producing coal for domestic thermal energy production and for export to global markets, the dragline excavator is an essential component of the mine’s open-pit mining. It is used in combination with drilling and blasting and dozers to expose the seam before wheel loaders and dump trucks are deployed in extensive load and haul operations.

Genrec Engineering’s involvement in this project commenced with a full-scale investigation into the damaged boom structure at the site in August 2017.

Managing Director of CMTI Consulting, Dr Danie Burger, was part of the team that participated in the investigation with various insurance companies.

Burger said a decision to award the boom repair contract to Genrec Engineering was based on the company’s long legacy in the South African and international steel engineering and fabrication industry.

“There is no other steel fabricator and engineering company in South Africa with the necessary infrastructure, as well as capacities and technical competence to take on such a complex project. Had the boom been sent to the original equipment manufacturer’s premises in Australia for repairs, it would have taken up to four times longer to return the dragline excavator back to service with obvious negative ramifications on the mine’s production,” Burger said.

Representatives of the mine’s management team visited Genrec Engineering’s factory in Wadeville, Gauteng, a week ahead of the commencement of the repairs.

Mark Prince, Divisional Director of Genrec Engineering, said: “The depth of experience and expertise of our team have allowed us to constantly innovate, which is a strategic differentiator in this industry and a trait that we proudly demonstrated on this complex design and build project.

“My team of professionals had to be able to think out of the box and on its feet to overcome a myriad of challenges to ensure the timely and quality completion of the project in an extremely short timeframe. The fact that we were able to complete this project in such a short timeframe speaks volumes of the capabilities housed here in Wadeville that have placed us firmly on our next growth path.”

The boom comprises a 37-ton (34-t) mid-section, which is 30 m long and 13 m wide, and the 43-ton (39-t), 32 m long and 13 m wide front portion. Both have a transportation height of 3.5 m.

It was completely remodelled by Genrec Engineering’s design team with assistance from CMTI Shared Services, in a process that took about a week-and-a-half to complete.

The original drawings of the Bucyrus dragline excavator were more than 30 years old and updated versions were later received from Caterpillar.

They were used to generate models to develop the manufacturing drawings and upgrades to the boom, in addition to the manufacturing sequence, work procedures and transport sections, according to Genrec.

The project also involved careful and complex logistical planning, considering that Genrec Engineering had to locate and source up to 34 tons (31 t) of chord material from various Australian mines to supplement insufficient supplies of the required specification.

“A comprehensive analysis was undertaken of all available material sources to ensure quality and, importantly, traceability in line with the stringent requirements of the OEM,” Genrec said.

The chords were buttered up and machined to specification and all lacing laser cut to fit assembly.

It took about three weeks of round-the-clock operations to complete the complex laser cutting by approved specialists located in Vanderbijlpark, with Genrec Engineering team members located permanently on site to advise, as well as monitor progress and quality.

They were delivered to the plant in the correct assembly sequence and welding was then undertaken in a 2,200 m² bay converted for specialised manufacturing projects.

Burger says: “The process commenced with pre-heating and the roots undertaken with tungsten-inert gas welding and CO2 used as a filler. Non-destructive testing was done using magnetic-particle, phased array ultrasonic, radiographic and ultrasonic testing. Personnel from NJM Heat Treatment & NDE Services, as well as NDT specialists, were stationed permanently on site to ensure that we were able to maintain sound productivity rates and adhere to exacting quality standards.”

A total of 2.3 tons (2.1 t) of weld material and eight weld feeders were also sourced from Australia to supplement available resources for this project.

One of the complexities of the welding operations was the varying diameters and positioning of the larger chords and smaller lacing, Genrec said.

A total of 129 welders were tested by Genrec Engineering and 52 metal inert gas, or gas metal arc, and tungsten inert gas welders employed to work on this project, together with 18 boiler makers and assistants. Ranks were bolstered with five specialist boom welders, as well as an expert boom weld engineer and project coordinator from Australia.

They also assisted in undertaking the four successful Procedure Qualification Records ahead of welding activities.

Genrec also highlighted the rotators designed and developed especially for this project. These complement the large investment already made by the company and SPG in acquiring the capital equipment needed to diversify into niche and specialist markets.

Among these are the computer-numerically controlled machines housed on the factory floor that have been fully integrated into the SolidWorks engineering programme to ensure high levels of precision and productivity, Genrec said.

These, alone, represent about a R50 million ($3.6 million) investment that is also being supported by continued skills development and training as Genrec Engineering builds up its skills base to cater to the high demand for its specialist services.

As part of the project, Genrec Engineering was also tasked with upgrading the dragline excavator’s boom-point box.

A special furnace was designed and developed around this box and soaked at 600°C for six hours and then cooled down to 37°C for five days. The furnace was heated with gas at a rate of 37°C/h to 600°C.

A canopy was also designed to allow sand blasting to continue apace in the workshop while welding progressed according to plan to maintain high productivity rates.

The components were transported to the mine site by Mammoet using a 13-wheel Nicolas trailer and resting on 11-ton (10-t) cradles specially designed and manufactured by Genrec.

It took three days to transport the two loads to site as part of the last phase of the project.

“This is the largest abnormal load to have ever travelled on the Gauteng road network, and Genrec Engineering was also involved in the extensive road survey, in addition to obtaining all necessary road permits from the Gauteng Department: Roads & Transport,” Genrec said.

The mid-section of the dragline excavator boom was dispatched to site at the end of November and the front end in early-December. It was successfully assembled by Caterpillar’s southern African dealer, Barloworld Equipment, on site in December over a period of four weeks.