First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
Using cheaper crusher wear parts may help cash flow in the short term but longer term gains come from investing in quality parts
While capital investment for new machinery may not be readily available, maintaining existing machine fleets to a high standard is essential in the long term. Wear parts manufacturers are warning against using cheaper parts in a bid to reduce costs because the long term impact on machine performance may be far greater.
"Some regions have picked up but others are still in survival mode and require longer payment terms as well as price reductions," explained Metso Minerals
vice president for global crusher wear solutions Osmo Maki-Uuro. "We have reorganised and restructured the business to bring efficiency improvements into the manufacturing, logistics and stock handling processes.
"Although there is a demand to reduce costs we have maintained the quality of our castings. There is no compromise on quality but we cannot sell below cost. Quarry operators are more hopeful of more work but they need to recognise that the quality of the aggregates is important and using cheaper wear parts can impact on this." CMS Cepcor
managing director Matthew Weare added, "We are seeing an increase in companies starting to benchmark and look at performance. This is driving quarry operators to use high manganese and higher quality wear parts.
"There is a real move from low cost parts with companies considering the impact on the long term with a cost per tonne focus. Larger operators have been doing this for some time but it is now filtering down to the smaller operators. It is possible to improve wear life by up to 40% on a primary gyratory crusher with higher quality wear parts"
According to Maki-Uuro, when the workload is substantially lower many customers have idle equipment so will postpone spending on repair and maintenance as they have the potential to use their unused machines instead. "I expect these operators to move into repair and maintenance mode later in the recovery," he said.
"Some quarry operators are only running two to three days a week and maybe only one shift where before they ran two so there is plenty of available capacity. This has been an exceptional situation.
"As conditions return to normal some operators may be tempted to turn to cheaper options when it comes to wear parts but I would urge them to look at the overall cost of ownership. They need to consider energy efficiency, total wear and the gradation of output that will deliver the maximum quality fractions and minimum waste and at the best cost.
"If the chamber design isn't accurate then there could be higher waste as well as higher rates of wear. Cheaper parts only represent a short term gain.
"Dimensional accuracy is essential - if the fit and seat angles are not correct, then the inner organs of the crusher could be damaged which could shorten the life of the machine in the long term and increase maintenance. A general overhaul is expensive compared with the investment in quality wear parts. But because of the economic cycle cash spend is restricted.
"In the previous growth cycle there was a lack of product and long lead times. Now aggregate producers have full inventories and it is difficult to get funds to pay for anything more than the minimum level of investment. But that phase is behind us now and the world is showing some positive signs.
"Service packages are helping quarry operators to manage costs. The joint approach with condition audits means that we can detect need before breakdown and can service machines for just wear and tear. Breakdowns bring higher costs through emergency call outs, loss of production and parts.