In a tough economic climate, South Africa’s mining, cement and other industrial sector players are facing numerous challenges, including a strained electricity supply, rising operating costs, and fuel increases. This has put them under pressure to maintain profitability by cutting costs. However, cutting costs in the wrong places could have a negative long-term impact on a business’s sustainability.
Rather than looking to cut costs by opting to use cheaper maintenance products, companies need to focus on protecting and managing their equipment more carefully, particularly in harsh operating environments, such as mines and cement factories.
Open-gear lubricants and greases distributed by LE Incorporated protect against machine failures and improve the performance and longevity of important equipment.
Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at LE says they’ve experienced cases where mines have attempted to cut costs by using cheaper lubricants, but have found that it is not profitable. Ford says these customers have returned to LE products due to their quality and contribution to greater equipment longevity.
“Given the abrasive nature of the requirements in these two industries, the gears used in mining and cement production experience high wear and typically have to be replaced often,” he says. “Owing to the resultant downtime, loss of productivity, and the price and transportation of replacement parts, this becomes costly. This is why it’s worth investing in the right lubrication solution – it can drastically cut down on the wear and tear, especially on large open gears that have to perform at a high intensity in challenging conditions. They have to withstand dust, silica, water, high heat and extreme pressures. Open-gear lubricants must be specially formulated to keep these gears and machinery operating at maximum efficiency.”
Ford explains that using high-quality lubricants can also reduce the volume of lubrication products that a plant or mine needs to use, meaning that operating costs decrease over the long run when using higher-grade products.
“One of our mining clients switched the lubricant on their mill drill motor to our Pyroshield 9011 XHvy high-viscosity oil, and they saw the drill motor moving from operating at between 5,6MW and 5.4MW to between 5MW and 4.6MW – an energy savings of 400kW to 600kW or approximately 12%, while maintaining the same production output,” Ford says. “They also reduced their monthly lubricant consumption from 800kg per month to 80kg, which just goes to show that buying a quality product has real benefits.”
LE also offers its clients support so that they are equipped to use its gear lubricants and greases to maximum efficiency, giving mines and cement plants the greatest value possible for their money. LE technicians analyse sites to ensure the correct lubricants are being used, and that they are applied properly to achieve good equipment performance, which in turn reduces electricity consumption and wastage.
“For mines and cement factories looking to cut costs, the answer may not be to use cheaper products, but rather to find quality equipment maintenance products that require lower volumes to achieve their purpose and increase the longevity of machinery,” Ford concludes.