A convenient and cost-effective option for ageing African mines, some of them 50 to 60 years’ old, is to have their geared units professionally refurbished by SEW-Eurodrive.
Supplementing its refurbishment capability, the company can also offer a drop-in gearbox replacement service. Geared units are particularly difficult to refurbish or modify on mines, as their large size means that production has to be halted temporarily in order to gain access. This has a negative impact on any mining operation’s bottom line, thus many mines hold out on replacing these essential high-capex items for as long as possible.
The major advantage that SEW-Eurodrive can now offer its mining clients is that no modification to, or adjustment of, the original geared unit is required. “The drop-in replacement is based on a fabricated case that matches all critical dimensions of the existing gearbox exactly, and with improved mechanical and thermal ratings,” highlights national sales and marketing manager, Norman Maleka.
What makes the drop-in replacement service particularly attractive, in conjunction with refurbishment, is that the cost of repairing a worm gear unit usually exceeds its replacement cost. Factors that need to be taken into account are the associated downtime when the unit is out of service, together with the total removal, repair, and replacement cost.
Since orders for drop-in replacements can be generated in advance, when an ageing unit is ready to be replaced, a modern drive can be delivered and installed at the same time as the old drive is removed. “One must bear in mind that the drop-in replacement is a completely new unit, in addition to being the latest in efficient technology,” elaborates Maleka.
Another advantage is that as the client is already familiar with the old unit, specialised technicians or support is not required for the drop-in replacement. SEW-Eurodrive has focused on this drop-in replacement service as a means to add maximum value to its clients’ operations by supplementing its refurbishment capability, as well as keeping them up to speed with the latest technology advances. “Service and support are key differentiators, especially in the prevailing market where margins are constrained, meaning that factors such as energy-efficiency become increasingly important to curtail costs,” concludes Maleka.
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