With mining operations coming under greater pressure to optimise plants, suppliers need to become more dynamic and focused in terms of their overall market offering. Unswerving support has always underpinned MBE Minerals SA’s relationship with its customers and an increasing emphasis is being placed on value-added service and support to ensure that customer operations perform optimally.
This was the message conveyed at the BAUMA ConExpo where Johannes Kottmann, managing director of MBE Minerals SA, explained that the company’s support options are customised to suit specific customer needs.
“These could range from basic maintenance contracts, which would typically include service personnel on site, extend to consignment stock facilities and progress right up to comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs) provided through fully-fledged regional service centres capable of undertaking ongoing equipment condition monitoring, maintenance and service support.”
Customers are able to leverage the expertise and in-depth experience MBE Minerals SA has acquired across the full spectrum of services to a large footprint of customers. “With an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) supporting the equipment in the plant directly, it is possible to implement efficiency improvements as a result of ongoing input and interaction with the plant personnel. In addition to this, training is undertaken that benefits the plant personnel both in terms of operator needs and maintenance,” Kottmann adds.
The maintenance of equipment in mineral processing plants is equally as important as its optimum functioning and a multi-disciplined approach needs to be instituted when designing a plant. “OEMs should be tasked with the continued and consistent maintenance of equipment in the plant to ensure that it is carried out cost effectively and downtime is reduced. We have seen a trend developing within the industry whereby customers are moving away from maintaining plants in-house to an SLA or life-cycle contract with the OEM. This implies that the manufacturer is not only selling a piece of equipment, but is also supplying the customer with a systematic maintenance plan,” Kottmann says.
Coupled with this is the importance of the OEM’s location in relation to its customer’s operations. “For example, MBE Minerals currently operates a fully-fledged service centre in Kathu in the Northern Cape to cater for these iron ore and manganese operations and in Middleburg to service various customers in the coalfields. We have been able to develop first-hand knowledge of how our equipment is operating within the various plants, enabling application-specific design improvements that result in an enhancement in the operational life of the equipment,” Kottmann says.
“Our locality in close proximity to our customers also allows us to provide a rapid response technical assistance and maintenance service. We maintain a substantial stockholding of requisite parts as determined by the customer base’s needs and we can offer both on- and off-site service. From an OEM perspective, we will ensure that the correct parts are installed according to specification, and that the equipment operates within its design limits, to ensure maximised throughput and minimised downtime,” Kottmann adds.