How can mining companies remain cost-conscious while meeting normal fleet maintenance requirements? By getting a new lease on life for their worn-out equipment through comprehensive rebuild services.
A one-man trenching business and a multinational mining company are in many ways worlds apart. But today’s fierce marketplace and cost-cutting pressures force fleet managers of any size to weigh their investment decisions carefully.
Sandvik rebuild benefits
- Extended equipment life at a fraction of new equipment cost
- Lead time (11 to 12 weeks) shorter than for new equipment
- Equipment inspection by qualified OEM expert, assuring highest quality
- Refurbishment or replacement of main components with exclusively OEM original parts
- Systems and safety upgrades
- Improved equipment performance and reliability
- Modifications possible for equipment use in new environments
- Carried out by local Sandvik experts, supported by global standards
- OEM warranty and support
Historically, an exhausted piece of equipment has simply been replaced by a new one, but in current market conditions this is becoming increasingly difficult. Considering that awaiting delivery of a new machine can take significantly longer than rebuilding one, a refurbished old unit often saves both time and money, while also reducing an operation’s environmental footprint.
But can rebuilt equipment match the quality of a new piece? Will it perform as well as new? And what about the warranty?
Naturally there are preconditions. The original machine must be durable and of high quality. The basic design must facilitate repairs and upgrades. New, improved components must be available to make upgrades sensible. Finally, there must be a service provider capable of reliably carrying out the repairs and upgrades as specified.
As the OEM, Sandvik is in control of all these preconditions, and rebuild processes are systematically fine-tuned to improve efficiency and quality, as recently demonstrated by the company’s operations in Australia and Mexico.
However, even the best systems and processes cannot produce high quality without qualified and dedicated people. Sandvik rebuild personnel always take their customer commitment very seriously. In this they are supported by stringent environmental, health and safety (EHS) standards, which are always a top priority for Sandvik, and another assurance of outstanding overall quality.
Mine operators today demand more out of their capital equipment, so by giving new life to used machines, Sandvik displays global leadership by adding value to its equipment for customers and in promoting sustainable development.
A recent rebuild project at the Sandvik Customer Service Centre in Kalgoorlie involved a Sandvik DD420 development drill, which had served in a Western Australian nickel mine for seven years. Respecified for a silver mine in Queensland, the unit is now expected to serve another seven years.
The drill was completely stripped down to its base chassis and individual components. After thorough crack tests and inspections to detect any fatigue, the specified parts and components were replaced by new or rebuilt versions.
The result is a completely overhauled and updated unit in compliance with today’s standards. The rebuilt rig is covered by Sandvik Australia’s 12-month/1,500-hour warranty, and feedback on the quality of the rebuild and also on the performance of the rebuilt drill has been very positive.
Sandvik has invested heavily in the quality and productivity of its Australian rebuild facilities. There can be some variation in the equipment configuration depending on the legislative requirements of the location where it is used, and Australia has particularly strict regulations that Sandvik follows to the letter. Specialized productivity centres are set up to optimize the rebuild processes and work flows using Lean processes and strategies. All technicians receive continuous training to maintain and increase their know-ledge, capability and skills.
Mexico is a strong market for Sandvik, which serves a large fleet of underground hard rock mining units. Sandvik Mexico has its main rebuild facility in Guadalajara, in western Mexico, and a new shop will be opening in Zacatecas city in Central Mexico. Rebuilds of mining jumbos, loaders and trucks have increased since 2009, and for the past two years, reductions in capital spending budgets have also helped drive rebuilds.
Many customers have appreciated faster service and significantly better quality in their Sandvik rebuilds compared with their in-house repair shops.
“At the moment we have 25 units awaiting rebuild, and the shop is running at full capacity,” says Patricio Apablaza, vice president of sales at Sandvik Mining Mexico.
The rebuild service also supports new equipment sales because of the confidence it creates: Mines can rely on doubling the average service life of their equipment.
Sandvik Mexico aims to cut lead times and improve quality even further through increased focus on process improvements. To achieve this, a Kaizen/Lean initiative was held in Guadalajara in November 2014 with participants from the neighbouring Americas Sales Areas and the Global Service Team. The Guadalajara workshop was also certified as a Dana-Spicer Repair Center in July 2014.
Mine operators are looking not only for reliable, productive equipment but also for great service and closer partnership with suppliers, and Apablaza says the rebuilds are a great tool for achieving this. “This is where we must respond to the change in the market,” he says.