Supplier to the global cement and minerals industry FLSmidth has reduced unplanned outages by more than 5% since implementing a maintenance contract six months ago at diamond miner Debswana’s Jwaneng diamond mine, in Botswana.
Jwaneng is a long-standing FLSmidth customer and has bought a variety of materials handling equipment from the company.
“We have deployed a significant number of technicians on site to support and maintain the equipment supplied to Jwaneng, only six of whom are expatriots,” says FLSmidth customer services director Buks Roodt.
The scope of the maintenance contract includes the mechanical maintenance of 102 conveyors, including all chutes and belt magnets, as well as maintenance management, spares and maintenance planning using the customer’s application programming system, standby and breakdown support, and cleaning services.
“Having designed and manufactured this equipment puts us in an ideal position to add real value to the mine’s operation and maintenance. “Every additional percent of plant availability means direct revenue to the customer, and we have demonstrated that the new maintenance contract is already benefiting the Jwaneng mine. We are proud of these early gains and are committed to sustaining them,” says Roodt.
FLSmidth says its role as a one-source company, whose support and service extend to the complete life cycle of a project, differentiates it from other companies in the mineral processing field.
Roodt adds that a great deal of value is added to the customer’s operation through focused own-equipment manufacturing services. In addition to its operation and maintenance offering, the company’s parts availability guarantee programme includes the stocking of fast-moving and strategic parts, stock location optimisation, simplified order processing, twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week ordering and troubleshooting, as well as service and training programmes.
FLSmidth’s service visits programme covers service audits, troubleshooting, on-site repairs, parts installation, service supervision and on-site training, while its rebuild, upgrade and replacement programme includes complete rebuilds, repairs, retrofits and calibration, laboratory sampling services and assistance with process optimisation.
“The benefits of total life cycle support far surpass the initial investment,” says Roodt, adding that, based on the lifetime cost concept, less than 15% of the lifetime cost of owning and operating a piece of process equipment is the capital cost. “The balance is all operating costs, so there are many factors that should be taken into account when a company looks at buying equipment.
“The project environment in the minerals market is structured in such a way that customers which are executing project models to construct new plants generally do not incentivise optimised lifetime costs. Instead, customers incentivise lowest capital expenditure at project stage, which, ultimately, leads to procuring lower-quality equipment at higher operating costs,” says Roodt.
FLSmidth, therefore, encourages customers to conduct independent assessments of the total lifetime cost of ownership. “In execution models where capital expenditure is reduced, as soon as the project elements have been constructed and commissioned, the plant designers leave the site, leaving it up to the owner and a group of suppliers to navigate the operational challenges for the life of the mine,” he adds.
FLSmidth highlights that it prefers to help design the plant since it can offer customers a variety of processing equipment across the system, which gives it critical mass on sites anywhere in the world.
“This makes it easy for us to dedicate services to support the operation in the long term. However, even if a customer only buys one piece of equipment, we will also support this equipment for the life of the mine. Ultimately, we are here to provide customers with service from the conceptualisation of a project and throughout the life of the mine,” notes Roodt.
Moving into Mozambique
As part of this service, FLSmidth has established various regional service centres, one of which was recently set up in Tete, Mozambique, employing skilled and competent technical service staff. “The decision to set up an office in this province is part of a strategic plan to service the company’s growing installed base across all the major coal projects in the area,” says Roodt.
Further, customer support will come out of FLSmidth’s new supercentre in Delmas, Mpumalanga. This is the first FLSmidth supercentre in Africa and the seventh of its kind worldwide. “As an extensive aftermarket hub, the new facility houses a concentrated stockholding and is set to become the South African construction base service and repair facility for all FLSmidth activities,” he adds.facility for all FLSmidth activities,” he adds.