Modern Quarrying

Swift progress in rolling out and supporting the Trio range of crushing and screening equipment has been an important part of Weir Minerals Africa’s solutions-driven focus in the quarrying sector, according to process director JD Singleton.

“Our Trio journey in Africa has been an exciting one, as we have been able to put the full strength of Weir Minerals’ technical and support network behind this quality brand,” says Singleton. “Most importantly, the flexibility of our customer-centred approach allows us to be as effective in serving the owner-managed quarries as we are when serving large corporate mines.”

        An Enduron screen being installed in a quarrying application.

Weir Minerals established its own direct route to market in South Africa for its Trio range by mid-2015, having acquired the product line in 2014. It has put in place its local teams to deal with aftermarket and product support, developing a local Trio-specific stockholding of what is today worth close to R100-million to underpin quick and efficient response times.

“Our stock is now available across Africa to support local installations, and importantly is supported by a fully-fledged applications teams and sales teams,” Singleton says. “What makes all the difference is the level of skill and experience residing in these teams, which include process engineers and applications engineers.”

A separate aftermarket and spare parts team streamlines the reaction time for the local market. In addition to this, the product support and service team brings in-depth technical know-how to advise customers on key issues including trouble-shooting, optimising operations for better production and improving uptime.

“Our efforts have now established Trio as a truly local OEM,” he emphasises. “While we still bring in machines from our global manufacturing facilities, we develop our flow sheet and solution designs locally, as well as the steelwork and ancillary structures according to customer’s specifications and on-site needs.”

                 A Trio TC36 short head cone crusher.

To further bolster the company’s skills base to deliver, Weir Minerals Africa has brought in chemical engineer and process expert Vernon Steenkop as general manager Comminution, taking over this role from Singleton. Steenkop’s most recent role has been managing the company’s flagship Middelburg branch. He brings to Weir Minerals Africa some 27 years of hands-on process experience across a range of commodities in the mining sector.

“Combining our flexibility with our full suite of minerals process equipment, Weir Minerals Africa can provide the customer with a total solution,” says Steenkop. “Our focus is therefore not on selling a piece of equipment, but on achieving what the customer needs, especially in terms of better efficiencies, less downtime and higher output.”

 He emphasises that Weir Minerals Africa measures its achievements through the success of its customers. “We succeed in business only by improving the sustainability and profitability of our customers, which is why our focus on being close to customers and understanding their operations is central to our philosophy. Our commitment to the individual quarry or mine is for the long haul – we are here to stay, and to see through the commitment we make to customers.”

Building local skills

Getting the right skills on board has always been vital, says Singleton, and there is now over 100 years of combined experience in the crushing and screening team.

“As part of our commitment to skills development and transformation, we train our own engineers so that customers can be assured of the best support and advice available,” says Singleton. “This includes selecting high-potential school leavers and sponsoring their studies, giving them engineering bursaries and learnerships within the company, and developing them into managerial positions longer term.”

The comminution team now includes a project engineer and applications engineer – graduates in mechanical and process engineering respectively – who have come through the two-year graduate programme at Weir Minerals Africa and are well primed to add value.

“There are a further three graduates in the comminution team undergoing their graduate programmes. This highlights the way we build local skills in-house rather than simply ‘buying in’ the expertise we need,” he says. “This crushing and screening focus in the comminution team is in addition to the broader learnership and apprenticeship training that the company conducts.”

This on-going development of local skills feeds the extensive network of 18 Weir Minerals service centres around Africa, allowing branches to source the talent they require from within the organisation.

“Our involvement in the sector extends to taking an active role in industry bodies such as the Institute of Quarrying, where we exhibit regularly and present papers on occasion,” says Singleton. “We also exhibited our products and skills at the Bauma trade show, where we highlighted our capacity in both wet and dry processing.”

With the expansion of its offering through the Trio range, Weir Minerals Africa is fully invested in the continent and is looking forward to the recovery of commodities markets, as well as better times for the global economy in general, he adds.

“Closer to home, our commitment to development and transformation earned us the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) award last year for the most transformed organisation,” Singleton says. “This says a great deal about our approach and our enthusiasm in this sector and this region.”


 Trio – supply and skills now fully ‘local’

Since acquiring the Trio product line in 2014, Weir Minerals Africa has invested in a strong stockholding of the range of jaw crushers, cone crushers, grizzly and belt feeders, vertical shaft impact crushers, horizontal shaft impact crushers, conveyor sections and hoppers.This allows the market to be serviced with very short lead times, if not same-day delivery.

The equipment is the result of research and development invested over many years, with the aim of producing equipment that best serves customer operations. For instance, the Trio TP cone crusher has been engineered with a unique combination of high crushing force, high throw and high pivot point. Similarly, Trio TV vertical shaft impact (VSI) crushers offer high throughput with reliable and cost-efficient performance, featuring advanced open table designs, multi-port rotors and a larger bearing capacity than most other VSI crushers in the industry.

Capacity of the Trio crushers range from 50 tph to 1 500 tph and caters for all ore bodies. All crushers and screens in the range can be mounted on skids, eliminating the need for large civil-related infrastructure to support these plants.




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