Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens has long been a major player in the global crushing and screening world, with 2023 another significant year in the business's development. Guy Woodford caught up with Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens president Peter Unelind to talk about the current trading climate and future growth plans
Peter Unelind has been very busy delivering varied strategic priorities since succeeding Andy McCullock as president of Sandvik's Mobile Crushers & Screens business division on 1 June 2022. With a strong background in international business with a particular emphasis on operations, sourcing, technical and quality management, his execution capabilities, firm leadership, and focus on collaboration are being deployed in helping to deliver Sandvik's Make the Shift strategy and maximise uptime across the Group's extensive machinery range.
"Much work has been going into strengthening Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens product offering and ensuring we are set up to handle customer plant and replacement parts delivery expectations. We have a more robust supply chain with dual or changed parts sourcing. We've also strengthened our after-market teams and overseen major improvements to both operating systems and processes across both after-market and technical support," Unelind tells Aggregates Business in a Teams call during a recent visit to Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens state-of-the-art production facility in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Formerly vice president of Operations in Sandvik's Stationary Crushing & Screening division, Unelind joined the Swedish quarrying and mining plant and linked technology giant in 2013.
So, how does the Swedish national see current global mobile crusher and screen demand? "There is healthy underlying demand based on key global trends such as population growth and a growing middle class, fuelling infrastructure development, demolition recycling and mining business. We are operating in a highly competitive industry where we must ensure we deliver the best customer value based on our deep crushing and screening application knowledge and our reliable and proven solutions.
"We are regularly launching new products, extending our addressable market, and will cover more geographical regions by adding dealers in new territories."
Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens is a business within the Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions (SRP) business area of the Sandvik Group. In Q3 2023, SRP saw its order intake grow by 29% to SEK 2,824mn (€244.56mn) and revenues by 22% to SEK 2,853mn (€248.08mn), both fuelled by a strong contribution from Q4 2022-acquired SP Mining (Schenck Process Group) and good demand overall in the mining sector. The aftermarket business accounted for 67% of SRP revenues in the quarter (57% in Q3 2022), while the equipment business accounted for 33% (43% in Q3 2022).
"Like most companies, we have had to go through a period of cost pressure coming out of Covid and then high inflation. There have been challenges around profitability, and we need to work on lowering our costs. This will be done internally by working with our suppliers and looking at pricing," explains Sweden-based Unelind.
Recently introduced Sandvik mobile crushers and screens include the fully electric UJ443E heavy jaw crusher. The machine is built upon a new 'fully electric' track platform and features high quality, reputable componentry throughout and the latest generation Sandvik jaw crusher. Its new modular feed station includes a larger hopper, two feeder options with larger grizzly cassettes & an optional under screen for greater natural fines extraction before crushing, allowing operators to optimise their process flow depending on feed conditions and material.
Capable of operating in the most hostile environments, the UJ443E is designed for hard and abrasive rock applications. Ideal for the quarry, mining and contractor segments, this unit is said to be one of the most versatile and sustainable heavy-duty, mobile primary jaw crushers available today.
Aligning with Sandvik's Make the Shift strategy, the UJ443E has been designed with an increased focus on sustainability, productivity, and durability whilst retaining the look, feel and value proposition customers demand. The fully electric UJ443E gives customers a claimed up to 30% reduction in fuel consumption and up to 30% increase in throughput versus previous generation products.
It features electric final drives and an onboard genset, which can be operated more sustainably, powered by either an external electricity supply, HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) or diesel from the onboard genset. Operating whilst connected to the external electric source can bring several advantages, including lowering running costs, extending drive train service intervals, reducing time spent refuelling, reducing onsite emissions and lowering noise levels. The nearly fully electrical unit, including fully electric track drives, is also said by Sandvik to decrease the use of hydraulic oil on the plant by up to 91%.
"We see a big interest in our electrified offering and our heavily electrified product roadmap going forward," says Unelind. "We just launched the UJ443E and will present several new electrified products during 2024. We aim to offer 90% of our product portfolio with an electric powertrain alternative by 2025 through our aggressive product development. We have launched 11 new products in the last two years: six tracked, including three electric or hybrid, and five wheeled electric units. This pace will continue going forward."
What does Unelind think about the future of diesel-hydraulic mobile crushing and screening? "We believe there will be a demand for quite a long time, but it depends on the region and the customers' site-specific situation. HVO is a sustainable alternative fuel we were the first to introduce for mobile crushing and screening equipment. All our hydraulically driven machines leave our factory with HVO in the tank instead of diesel."
Asked how Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens is catering for the increasing market emphasis on sustainability, Unelind says that sustainability is at the core of operations for the division and the wider Sandvik Group. He emphasises that Sandvik is "fully committed" to the SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative) targets, and through its plant HVO and electrification options, customers can run more sustainably.
I'm curious how Unelind sees Sandvik mobile crushers and screens stand out from rival OEMs. "We have a huge focus on safety, uptime and productivity for our customers. We believe we have the best crushing and screening application knowledge and are committed to offering the most safe, sustainable, productive, reliable and proven solutions in the market.
"We achieve this in a range of key areas, such as superior crushing technology in the form of our proven jaws C10/C12 and our Hydrocones and Doublescreen technology. We also continuously strengthen automation, digitalisation and customer support for our equipment and aftermarket."
Unelind highlights that Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screen has both global and local training programmes, with the business continuously investing in technology, including digital tools such as the remote technical support offered with visual aid, to make this even more accessible and useful for dealers and customers.
There is, he continues, also a major internal focus on everyone having individual development plans and assuring Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens offers training and opportunities for growth to fit the business's competence needs as it shifts towards more electrification, automation and digital solutions.
Turning his attention to Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens' machine servicing and maintenance offer, Unelind says: "It emphasises improved machine efficiency. Examples include Opti-tooth replacement jaw plates that improve jaw-crushing efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, new geometry blow bars that improve energy consumption and reduce the proportion of fines created in impactor operation and extended service intervals."
How does Unelind rate the size and efficiency of Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens' current global distribution network? "We are regularly reviewing our distribution network and adding dealers or extending the reach of current dealers to better cover all major markets. Some examples of newer dealers include Alta Equipment in the US, Ferronordic in Germany and Kazakhstan, Eltrak in Bulgaria, SVF in Mexico, and Escandinavia in Argentina."
Even if the supply chain situation has improved for global market off-highway equipment manufacturers after post-Covid bottlenecks, Unelind says there are still challenges for Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens to overcome.
"We have used Sandvik's global presence to identify and bring onboard new global suppliers for some components; in other cases, we have negotiated improved allocations from major component manufacturers. Freight continues to be a challenge in accessing capacity where shipping lines are reduced compared to pre-Covid and in terms of delays due to port congestion in some parts of the world. We work with dealers and customers to identify other routings and dispatch timings to minimise those challenges. Flexibility is key!"
Unelind explains that Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens benefits from having a partly joint production footprint with other Sandvik divisions, with the business utilising and sharing capacity, including in Svedala, Sweden, Pune, India, and Shanghai, China, while regularly reviewing extensions of it.
Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens' My Fleet telematics solution has been available to customers and dealers since its global launch at the Hillhead 2018 quarrying exhibition at Tarmac's Hillhead Quarry near Buxton, England. How much does Unelind think it is being used, and are there plans to increase its capabilities/data analysis? "All units we deliver include a seven-year subscription to MyFleet as standard. Digital solutions are at the forefront, and a continuous drive exists to develop them further. Customers and dealers will experience a continuous flow of additional functionality and service from our digital tools."
Are Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens customers seeking more automated processes in running their crushers and screeners? "It typically varies across regions in the world to what extent there are problems finding skilled labour and in terms of needs and wants for advanced automation versus rather simple technology. In areas with resource limitations, we, for example, see a demand for further automation and the ability to control multiple machines from one location."
I am curious about how Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens uses artificial intelligence (AI) across its machine range and wider business operations. "Sandvik as a group has several AI initiatives and has built up internal capabilities, which we benefit from. As we roll out further functionality in our digital tools for dealers and customers, these capabilities will support further intelligence and automation in our products, ultimately enabling higher customer productivity.
"Examples include to help maximise uptime for our customers with advanced condition monitoring and increase safety for operators. In business operations, equipment telemetry can support operational planning of customer support and component availability. Other examples are automatically measuring component wear and re-calibration operational tolerances without locking the machine or calling maintenance technicians."
What does Unelind see as the biggest challenges in his senior role, and how does he address them? "Managing a business during this rather bumpy period of covid- and war-impacted supply chains and market demand has been, and remains, challenging. Building a more agile and resilient business that can handle these variations is key. We are addressing this by strengthening our product portfolio, improving our supply chain, upgrading internal systems and improving our internal processes and capabilities generally."
What does Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens president like about working in the mobile crushing and screening industry? "It is a fast-paced industry with many exciting changes, major changes to the product offering, and several new technology breakthroughs, such as electrification, automation, and digital tools. It all makes the coming quarters and years exciting. The most rewarding thing personally is the great people, both my team at Mobiles but also the full extended network of dealers and customers.
"I am really excited about the positive environmental impact we can make as we offer our customers the opportunity to operate in a more sustainable way with our equipment. This is a huge focus for us, as a very high share of the CO2 footprint (over 98%) is directly linked to them operating our equipment."
I end by asking Unelind what he will see as success in his Sandvik Mobile Crushers & Screens leadership role. "I aim to exceed the expectations of our dealers and customers by offering safe products and services which offer them the best uptime and productivity. At the same time, I want to ensure that we can continue to invest for the future in our product portfolio and our internal talent pool to deliver sustainable, profitable growth."