More than ever, processors within the mining, mineral and aggregates industries are cashing in on economies of scale by equipping their plants with huge grinding tables, roll crushers, kilns and material-handling systems in an effort to cut costs and boost productivity.
The mining industry in South Africa is, at present, not at the levels that it used to be at for a multitude of reasons. Mining conglomerates and houses are therefore looking at all angles to stay afloat, let alone make a profit for their shareholders.
In the heydays purchasing new mining equipment was never questioned. But today with the pressures that the mines face, alternatives have to be looked at. Refurbishing existing equipment is one of them. This could include gears, condensers, heat exchangers, kilns, mills, screens, dredges, conveyors, classifiers, cyclones and rock-crushing equipment cones, gyratory and jaw crushers.
Just arrived on the floor is the newest addition to the company’s machining division. The machine is a new Radar Industries CNC RAL-16 vertical turning lathe that is part of the company’s Kingfisher range and was supplied by EDM Shop
Spares, Supplies & Services is very much a family owned and run company with all the partners hands on individuals. The shareholders are Johan van der Westhuizen, Kobus Louw, Jaco Louw and Peter Pienaar
A granulator frame top cover fabricated by Spares, Supplies & Services
The components making up this type of equipment are generally large castings and forgings, such as top and bottom shells, main shafts, swing stocks, hydroset cylinders, liners, pinion shafts and bronze bearings. Take a crusher for example. It is a machine that is built to crush rock and you’d expect it to handle pretty much anything you feed it, but you would be wrong. Anything can stop a crusher cold and cause some extensive damage in the process. Long delivery times make it difficult to replace damaged and or beyond repairable parts as components can weigh between 15 and 120 tons costing thousands of rands, and the environment that the machine operates in compounds the difficulties.
Unfortunately, the gargantuan size of the respective components of these machines does not necessarily widen the margin of error when manufacturing them. If anything, flaws in castings or machining mistakes are magnified, so attention to detail and accuracy are just as important as they are with smaller components.
Specialising in refurbishing this type of equipment, as well as supplying new components, is Anderbolt, Boksburg based Spares, Supplies & Services.
The older generation of the family owned business – Johan van der Westhuizen and Kobus Louw – have been in the mining related industry all their working careers. By coincidence Johan and Kobus’ paths crossed when they met at Bateman Equipment, where they were both employed as quality control inspectors, project engineers and repair and refurbish managers in the crushing and process equipment departments.
Johan had previously worked at Iscor Van der Bijl (now ArcelorMittal) and then Vecor, and Kobus qualified as a fitter and turner at an engineering company in Denver, Johannesburg.
Bateman Equipment Ltd, which is now known as the ELB Group, is a supplier of engineered products to the infrastructure, mining, processing and construction industries. The crushing department was eventually sold to Svelda before being acquired by Sandvik Mining Equipment. Both Johan and Kobus gained invaluable experience during their time at all of these companies. You could say they got to know the crushing equipment like the back of their hands.
Johan was the first to break ranks when he decided to start his own company in 2001, specialising in the repair and refurbishment of crusher components for the mining industry.
A main shaft in for repair
The Titan vertical turning lathe machining a fan hub
A fan hub that is in the process of being refurbished
“The conception of the company was born around project management and this is still a vital element of the company’s services, although we offer a great deal more these days. I had plenty of experience and contacts in the industry, and was confident that I could deliver value to both the OEM market and the customer.”
“I operated from an office and coordinated all the project engineering, site supervision and post-installation support. I was the single point of contact. This approach ensures the most efficient and detail-oriented planning, development and installation of any multi-vendor project.”
“At first it was intimidating but I was soon looking for a partner. I approached an ex colleague of mine, the late Manie Pienaar, and he joined me about a year after the company was established. Kobus then joined Manie and me a further year on into the company’s history.”
“We had plenty to offer the OEMs in terms of our knowledge in the industry, while at the same time offering a solution to an area of their business that they were not always comfortable with. We outsourced and sub-contracted everything in those early days. That included machining.”
“We continued to operate the business in this way until 2007. However, the fact that we were always reliant on suppliers did not sit comfortably with us. Up until then it had suited our business plans but we always knew we would have to change. Besides we were wasting Kobus’ talents who, while qualifying as a fitter and turner, had already progressed to CNC machining.”
“That year we purchased a conventional lathe, a milling machine, a radial drill and a 400 amp Mig/Mag welding machine. It was the beginning of a new era in the company that has now culminated in us purchasing a state-of-the-art CNC vertical turning lathe.”
“We are still reliant on subcontractors for the larger components, 20 tons and above, and all of our plate work is done by TW Profile as our volumes do not justify us purchasing this type of equipment.”
“Since inception, we have successfully repaired most major components on cone, gyratory and jaw crushers. As far as possible, all components are restored back to original and OEM specifications to ensure compatibility with spares available from OEMs. Welding, heat treatment, NDE testing and machining stages are monitored and documented to ensure sound and acceptable engineering practices. Mechanical repairs of components up to 20 ton capacity can be handled on our premises.”
A new gyratory eccentric sleeve manufactured by Spares, Supplies & Services
A granulator rotor shaft that has been refurbished
A gyratory spider bush on the new Radar Industries CNC RAL-16 vertical turning lathe
“All of the above are manufactured from approved drawings and material specifications as per the OEM specifications. Quality requirements as per the manufacturing processes are strictly adhered to and certification issued as required.”
“When a component arrives on our floor it is stripped, measured, NDE tested where needed and analysed for whatever repair work is required. Machining, welding and testing operations are then carried out before final inspection and painting where necessary. We like to say that when the component leaves our shop it is a ‘new’ component.”
“However, we are not restricted to doing repairs and refurbishment. For example, we have just had two 80 ton top shells and a 120 ton bottom shell cast at ArcelorMittal foundry for our client Tenova Takraf. The first top shell is complete and the second is nearing completion at DCD Heavy Engineering Vanderbijlpark works whilst the bottom shell is in the final stages of upgrading. Due to the mass of these castings and the close proximity of DCD Heavy Engineering and ArcelorMittal, they were the obvious choice to do the proof and final machining. We have and will manage the project for our client from start to final release, which includes the scrutinising of drawings right through to the witnessing of destructive testing and final inspection after machining. Again, all the manufacturing has been done according to OEM specification.”
“The business has also diversified over the years in terms of the products and components that we repair or manufacture. We are not just limited to crushers anymore and now have experience in a number of other heavy duty equipment.”
“Most of the equipment that we have either repaired, refurbished or manufactured new is used in the coal and platinum mining industries and you can see equipment that we have worked on in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Botswana and other African countries.”
The new Radar Industries CNC RAL-16 vertical turning lathe has a table diameter of 1600mm, a maximum swing of 2000mm, maximum turning diameter of 1900mm, maximum turning height of 1600mm and a maximum workpiece weight of 10 000 kilograms. More importantly, it covers the company’s requirement of the ram feeding down. The machine is the first of its kind to be installed in South Africa and it was supplied by EDM Shop
A jaw crusher ready for delivery to client after refurbishment and repair
A completely refurbished cone crusher
“Our biggest clients are Sandvik Mining, the ELB Group and Tenova Takraf Africa. We still carry out work for our first client, who is in iron ore mining.”
Site visits, inspections and supervision
“We have established a very satisfactory customer base as a result of our inspections on equipment, especially during breakdown and normal shut down periods. Inspection and condition reports after visits have been well received especially in highlighting areas of concern and possible failures. Supervision on the assembly and or stripping of equipment can also be done.”
“Our welding division now consists of two 600amp Lincoln welding/gauging machines. For our cladding needs we have a 2,4mm Lincoln sub-merged arc welding head. For maximum efficiency and quality we have manufactured our own 2,5 metre welding manipulator with horizontal and vertical turning capabilities.”
“This division was only established in 2009 and was a natural extension of our business capabilities. Most of our plate work is outsourced, as is all of our profiling, rolling and bending requirements. We will then fabricate, weld, fettle and paint. This department is equipped with a 10 ton overhead crane so we are limited to this size, but it is not often that we need more than this requirement. Some of the products that we have manufactured and assembled in this division include granulators, conveyor systems, base frames for coal breakers and ring chutes for stacker reclaimers.”
“Our 20 ton overhead crane takes care of loading and offloading our machines. Our conventional lathes can handle components of up to 740mm in diameter and 5 metres in length. We have horizontal turning machines that can handle up to 2,5 metres in diameter and a maximum height of two metres. The drilling division is able to drill products of up to two metres in height and two metres in diameter in a single setting. We also cover milling applications as well as slotting.”
“One of the machines we have in this division is a Titan vertical lathe that has a swing of 2,6 metres with a height restriction of 1,9 metres.”
“On site, renting space in our facility, is a subcontractor that machines all our small component requirements. These are mainly crusher spares and wear parts such as sleeves, step bearings, spiral bushes, head nuts and many others.”
New Radar Industries CNC vertical turning lathe
Just arrived on the floor is the newest addition to the company’s machining division. The machine is a new Radar Industries CNC RAL-16 vertical turning lathe that is part of the company’s Kingfisher range.
“The machine has a table diameter of 1600mm, a maximum swing of 2000mm, maximum turning diameter of 1900mm, maximum turning height of 1600mm and a maximum workpiece weight of 10 000 kilograms. More importantly, it covers our requirement of the ram feeding down.”
“The machine is the first of its kind to be installed in South Africa and it was supplied by EDM Shop.”
Family owned company
Spares, Supplies & Services is very much a family owned and run company with all the partners hands on individuals.
Johan’s brother, Eben van der Westhuizen, works in the quality inspection division and his son-in-law works in the contracts department. Kobus’ son Jaco Louw joined the company in 2007 and is in charge of production. Jaco’s wife Donna works in the administration department. The late Manie Pienaar’s son Peter joined the company in 2002 and is responsible for the contracts department, and Peter’s wife Zelda works in the creditors department. Both Peter Pienaar and Jaco Louw are also shareholders.
The family connections even permeate down to the rest of this 37-strong employee company where there are a number of brothers, sisters and cousins that are employed.
“We did not intentionally have this idea from the beginning. It is just how it has evolved and what we have learnt is that it creates a very good vibe in the company.”
“Going forward, we would like to move into a new factory once we can locate a suitable one. We moved here in 2009 and did not think we would fill the space, but now we are bursting and restricted to a 20 ton overhead crane. We have had 20 to 25 percent growth per year since inception and would like to continue in that fashion. So we desperately need to find a bigger facility.”
For further details contact Spares, Supplies & Services on TEL: 011 892 2925 or visit www.ssscrusher.co.za