What started initially as sporadic attendance to breakdowns at an iron ore mine in the Northern Cape has escalated into a permanent on-site presence of a supervisor and three technicians from SKF/Lincoln South Africa.
“This was in response to a request from our longstanding mine customer of some fifteen years to be present onsite to provide seamless labour and parts supply,” states Riaan Fourie, SKF/Lincoln Area Manager – Griekwastad. “The mine decided to go bumper-to-bumper (comprehensive maintenance plan) with OEM’s in a bid to get the complete service package on everything i.e. on their own as well as on all other machinery on site. “This is a ‘whole fleet’ service – from excavators and dump trucks to drills, etc,” says Fourie. He explains that when the mine made the bumper-to- bumper transition, SKF/ Lincoln SA remained off-site for six months as the then OEM was under contract to service everything. However, when the OEM failed to meet the requirements, the mine gave us the green light to move on site permanently.”
“Over the past four years we have met our customer’s requirements for easy access to lubrication technicians who provide professional technical support services, the supply of reliable lubrication products and systems, as well as for a reliable stock solution,” affirms Fourie. OEM and planning meetings are held on-site for handling breakdowns, etc. The supervisor is responsible for managing the technicians’ time and for the planning of all scheduled maintenance; the technicians carry out the manual labour in line with the schedules. “In addition to receiving and responding to monthly technician support orders, we are also responsible for parts supply and fitment. We have codified the parts for the customer in their stores meaning that they are carrying minimum and maximum stock of all SKF/Lincoln products.”
SKF/Lincoln lubrication product and system solutions fitted to the mine’s entire machine fleet include progressive systems, e.g. P203 fully monitored systems; centromatic systems (single line hydraulic flowmaster with grease injectors); complete pressureless diesel systems (FastFill), fully functional oil systems as well as fire suppression systems (Muster) on some of the machines.
SKF IM-x condition monitoring sensors have also been installed on the whole plant for vibration and temperature monitoring. “We have also recently started supplying SKF bearings to the mine,” adds Fourie.
SKF/Lincoln SA’s scope of service along with components supply includes planned service work e.g. the fitment of systems and the repair of diesel and lube systems (piping, new pipe installs) as well as being involved with the refurbishment of machines. “When a machine is ready for a new engine, etc. we redo the whole the system, from diesel to lube,” notes Fourie.
SKF/Lincoln SA technicians undergo extensive training via the SKF Training Solutions Department to equip them with knowledge on the latest products, technologies and procedures. According to Fourie, they are also currently collaborating with the Training Solutions Department on possible training they can provide to the mine on the bearing side.
Fourie wraps up: “The fact that we are providing the mine with easy access to technicians and stock has improved uptime and subsequent productivity and production. Our customer can also rest assured in the knowledge that their machines are regularly and properly maintained. The fact that the customer has requested two additional technicians on-site and is awarding us a three-year contract demonstrates the strength of our relationship with the mine and that the customer is satisfied with our product and service solutions.”