Demand from operations managers of quarries and open cut mines for faster turnkey supply has expanded the potential for conveyor technology specialists, such as Industrial Conveying , to fill market needs with technologically up-to-date materials handling systems.
Planning, designing and commissioning of a technologically up-to-date materials handling system is always required as quickly as possible to keep associated construction costs down and limit plant downtime.
Mr Don Erskine, Managing Director of international conveying and materials handling specialist Industrial Conveying, says this new shift in expectation plays directly into the hands of the specialised conveying and materials handling suppliers.
As a result, conveying specialists are now challenging engineering consultants for business in this sector due to a strong need for fast turnaround of the concept, design and commissioning of conveyor projects.
"The more attuned and successful conveying specialist has almost certainly adopted lean manufacturing as a pivotal factor in its expansion in the current business environment," said Mr Erskine.
"By listening to the market, it was clear to our organisation that quarries and mines now want the entire project - from design to completion - as quickly as possible with a high degree of engineering accuracy and with strong access to post-completion technical support,” added Mr Erskine.
Despite proposals for a new mining sector tax in Australia, current commodity prices are relatively high, so the market can only benefit from an arrangement for fast, cost-effective infrastructure supply.
It is a shift in supply culture where a new form of ‘partnering’ is focusing directly on design engineering and project development for companies from the ground up.
This significantly reduces the clients concern about engineering drawings and tender documents, yet allows them to remain in control of the conveyor project and the costs, and they are afforded complete communication throughout the timeframe.
“Basically, the onus is on companies such as ours to ensure complete accuracy of each and every project,” said Mr Erskine.
“The client is not dealing with a consultancy which requires engineering drawings to be supplied and then tendered to a list of third party providers; it is dealing with a solitary supplier so responsibility can never be deflected," added Erskine.
Industrial Conveying is a longstanding company serving the general mining and quarrying industries with specialised conveyors and conveyor projects – from single units to entire systems.
From its base in Bendigo, Victoria, the company manufactures and installs belt conveyors, radial stackers, drag chain conveyors and high impact conveyors independently or in systems, while a fast-growing technical office in Melbourne employs proficient materials handling design engineers these systems.
"It was clear the market demanded solutions on a turnkey; so our solution was to set up a dedicated design arm of our business that works closely and directly with our clients to engineer the ultimate design and these are linked closely and quickly with our manufacturing centre in Australia," said Erskine.
"What the market gains is flexibility of product design, rapid implementation of technology, and a virtually modular solution concept allowing us to pick and place various technologies to work in sync with one another which can also be relocated as required on a particular job site," he added.
Management of quarries and mines have for a long time expressed concerns about the inefficiencies of the tender process, particularly the time and cost factor of a process that can take months or even years. Naturally there will still be projects that require a tender process, however this near-elimination of the tender process can only be of benefit to quarries.
"Now quarries and mines have direct access to suppliers that can completely understand the materials handling needs, design instantly for these needs and provide the full turnkey solution in a fraction of the time it used to," said Erskine.