The current environment of uncertainty worldwide is impacting operations globally, one way or another - including supply chains, equipment manufacturers, distributors and quarry owners. Some producers have delayed their equipment investment decisions because of this uncertainty. Maintaining, or upgrading, their current equipment allows the luxury of time but, as the average age of the fleet starts to increase, parts and service take on a new importance.
Crushing and screening plant manufacturer McCloskey says that the timely and reliable provision of parts, and a proactive approach to maintenance, become the cornerstone of productivity and, ultimately, profitability. It adds that, for distributors, this represents a call to action and offers an opportunity to focus on customer support and service. In addition to price and parts availability, having a knowledgeable staff that knows its customers is key to keeping customers coming back.
Dealers for Metso Outotec-owned McCloskey have commented on how they are working with customers in the current environment and how their business is adapting to the new environment.
Among them is Mark Senyard, national support and marketing manager for Kemach Equipment in South Africa, who says: “It’s not only about selling a new machine. The hard work starts after that, ensuring that the customer’s aftermarket needs are known and delivered upon.
“It is critical to understand what the customers’ expectations are and how best to support them.”
Tim Watson, marketing manager for McCloskey Equipment in the UK, says that ensuring machines are serviced and/or the correct maintenance items are used is not new or isolated to the aggregates business.
“Machines are used in so many different applications that it is impossible to see every eventuality,” Watson adds. “To assist with reducing any distance between our experts and operators, we are investing and deploying the latest technology to increase remote visibility and make communication easier, regardless of distance or location.”
Philip Barr, CEO at MSC Group of Companies in Australia, has tackled the parts challenge head on by stocking a large range of parts. This might go against a lot of companies’ thinking but “if you don’t have the parts, you’re going to either need really expensive air freight to get them, or have to wait six or eight weeks, which doesn’t work when your customer could have two, three or four machines down. We can have some parts in stock for two, three or four years but it’s worth it in the long run.”
Readily available wear parts are a key component in the ongoing, and uninterrupted, process of crushing stone. Factors impacting a crusher can range from environmental factors, like moisture or temperature, to the material being fed into it, to the most basic of all - age of the equipment. In the current situation driven by the desire to extend the life of currently owned equipment, ongoing maintenance of the protective liners is a relatively straightforward means to achieve longevity.
The focus has turned to proper preventative maintenance conducted both by the end user and the equipment provider. This requirement further increases the need for services, particularly for operations that find they are short of resources at their site.
According to Shane Fleming, managing partner for Rock & Recycling Equipment in the US, “a lot of customers are having trouble finding skilled mechanics. It’s gone from a lot of people working on their own equipment to them needing good, dependable support. What I’ve seen is a shift with more and more people wanting a servicing option, that’s where I see things going.”
The general expectation is that demand will continue to grow as post-pandemic stimulus spending is launched by governments to restore balance, and that after-sales support will continue to grow in lockstep.
Barr sums up one of the keystones of a successful after-sales relationship - keeping in touch. “Do what you say you’re going to do and ring people back straightaway. I think that’s really important these days. People want to be talking to someone when they ring you. They don’t want to be stuck on the phone getting passed around. Having one good contact they can talk to is important, a person with a good base understanding of the machines.”
Berco, a manufacturer and supplier of undercarriages and components to the world’s main heavy-machinery OEMs, is strengthening its aftermarket business.
With over 100 years of experience and expertise in the industry, the Italian company is extending its high-quality product lines to give customers even better access to replacement components. The extended range will, says Berco, offer a very competitive TCO (total cost of ownership).
In its aftermarket offer, Berco supplies track chains and shoes, idlers, sprockets, track and carrier rollers. A leader in the mining segment, the new strategic development will see the company boost its aftermarket presence in the highly competitive construction industry.
Through a strong collaboration with company dealers, a service presence will be established in strategically important locations. This will allow customers access to the right product, at the right time, in the right place.
To implement this new strategy, Berco has established a new team composed of dedicated experts who possess the experience and mindset to be successful in the aftermarket. The team will fully avail Berco’s comprehensive original equipment (OE) knowledge and pedigree while expanding its aftermarket construction offer.
Diego Buffoni, Berco’s head of aftermarket, said: “The introduction of a focused aftermarket strategy, a clear structure and an increased product portfolio are already creating many growth opportunities and revenue streams for the company. Our goal will be to provide every customer in our various industrial fields with a one-stop-shop offer for all their heavy-duty aftermarket needs.”
Berco’s aftermarket offer includes three different product lines: Original, Platinum and the most recent, Service. The Original Line provides customers with identical components to OE parts in terms of design and production process. The Platinum Line goes one step further, surpassing OE in quality, durability and performance. This line offers tailored solutions to large machines that must operate in extreme climatic and soil conditions. With increased reliability and lifespan, the Platinum Line is designed to provide cost savings in the long term by allowing machines to operate for significantly longer periods without interruption.
The Service Line was created to supply machines in the construction industry. The inaugural line, which is aimed at excavators with capacities of 13, 20 and 30 tonnes, is now being made available to customers. This line comes with a very high warranty (2,000 hours under normal running conditions) and better resistance to abrasion, impact and humidity.
As a next step, the Service Line for dozers – chains, rollers and sprockets for the D4, D5 and D6 classes – will be completed during the second half of the year.
Following the launch of Sandvik Optitooth jaw plates, Sandvik Mobile Crushers and Screens has now created a number of complementary ready-to-order maintenance kits which include Optitooth jaw plates and its new Optitooth side plates for the Sandvik QJ241, QJ341 & QJ341+ jaw crushers.
The Swedish manufacturer says that benefits for its crushing and screening customers include longer wear life and convenience. With all parts in one kit, they simplify service, increase maintenance efficiency and consequently increase uptime.
The tailor-made Optitooth kits are designed around the natural usage of the wear parts in the crusher, and offer all components an operator needs with just one part number.
Sandvik says key customer benefits include increased performance – Optitooth Jaw plates are matched with the new Optitooth side plates which are designed to greatly increase the efficiency and extend the wear life of the crushing chamber.
It adds that the maintenance kits also improve profitability by increasing maintenance efficiency and productivity. They also enable equipment operators to replace their wear parts in just one service interval following wear patterns.
Sandvik says the kits also provide greater availability by avoiding delays or parts shortages with delivery of all components in one shipment.
It has created kits in three different offerings for convenience. Firstly, the Optitooth Fixed Kit 1 with an Optitooth jaw plate and new lower side plates.
The Optitooth Swing Kit 2 comes with a Swing Optitooth jaw plate and new lower side plates. Finally Optitooth Kit 3 features one fixed and one swing Optitooth jaw plate, and new upper and lower side plates.
All the necessary components are supplied with the kit to keep the crushing chamber operating at optimal performance.
Sandvik says the new enhanced side plates introduced with its Optitooth Kits have proven to last up to three times longer in trials.
“This improvement in wear life matches perfectly with our Optitooth jaw plates, making them the ideal combination for superior performance,” it adds.
Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) says that steel hardness is of major importance for the service life of wear parts such as its excavator buckets.
The manufacturer states that the quality and hardness of the steel used in the wear parts can affect how quickly the bucket’s cutting edge wears down.
Volvo CE only uses 500 Brinell steel in its bucket edges, bolt-on edges and segments, which it says delivers superior service life compared to many cheaper offers. The company says that genuine Volvo CE parts are made of steel with consistent properties, with the same hardness throughout and not just a hard surface and a soft centre which can be the situation for other offers.
“By upgrading from 400 to 500 Brinell, the service life can increase by 70%,” the company adds.