MASPRO is well known in the industry for working with mining professionals to improve productivity. Much of this comes down to streamlined processes and efficient local supply and shipping, however, it’s our improved parts that have cemented long-term relationships with some of the country’s biggest mining companies.
One of the key things that makes MASPRO different from other aftermarket parts suppliers is our ability to redesign an existing part to improve its functionality and performance in demanding conditions.
So how does this process typically work?
We sat down with Engineering Manager Tony Waterman to talk about MASPRO’s redesign process.
What causes parts to fail?
Whilst there is nothing specifically wrong with OEM parts, some customers experience premature failures or suboptimal performance due to a range of environmental and operational factors. OEM parts are also typically designed to a strict budget. This means they perform well in the narrow parameters they are designed for, but they may not be robust enough to handle applications that fall just outside of their design criteria.
Tony notes that one of the most challenging things about operating a mine in remote locations is the lack of access to support and supply chains, which can lead customers to adopt a ‘make do’ approach.
“This leads to customers being forced to utilise whatever machine they have available to keep operating. This is a resourceful approach, but it means that drills can sometimes be operated far outside their design parameters,” says Tony.
“There can also be manufacturing factors where a part is of acceptable quality and is designed to last appropriately, but our customers really need far greater quality and longevity out of their parts in order for them to function properly in these unique and challenging conditions.”
Working with MASPRO to find a solution
Tony says that the MASPRO sales team is often approached by reliability engineers and maintenance managers, with productivity being the main hot-button issue.
“Often our customers will call because they’re having trouble with the performance of a part and it’s failing early. It might be causing unnecessary downtime, or costs are blowing out because it’s being replaced so often. In some cases, a part hasn’t necessarily failed, but the maintenance and engineering teams have identified the need for improvement.”
“This is where MASPRO steps in, and where we can really add value,” adds Tony.
MASPRO’s engineering team works with reliability engineers and maintenance managers, reviewing the part and fully understanding how it’s being used before getting to work with design improvements.
“It’s a really collaborative process,” adds Tony.
“We work together to find a solution, then our customers test the part and put it to the test on-site. We then gather feedback on its performance and make further adjustments if necessary, and decide whether it makes sense for us to incorporate these changes into our regular product line or keep the part as a customer-specific item.”
Redesigned parts for improved performance
Tony recalls a recent example where MASPRO was able to successfully redesign a jaw for a breakout table.
“The off-the-shelf part featured grooves on each face of the jaw, but our customer approached us with an idea for adding serrated teeth to help its grip strength,” explains Tony.
“In this case, our customer believed serrations would offer longer life and better performance for their application, which involved non-standard sized components. We redesigned the part and sent it for extensive metallurgical testing to ensure the heat treatment didn’t negatively affect the faceted shape of the teeth.”
“The part passed muster but we made some further adjustments based on customer feedback, adding another set of teeth. More rounds of testing and approvals later, and this part is now in action at our customer’s site, only a few months after that initial phone call.”
Tony notes that MASPRO’s internal engineering team also puts forward their own concepts for improved parts. With a few big players in the industry and a lack of new competition to drive innovation, MASPRO has taken up the challenge to further innovate when it comes to mining drill parts.
“The industry is quite stable and established, but as a niche engineering brand, we have the agility to redesign parts for the absolute best in performance, efficiency and safety.”
“We look for the solutions that our customers need, and then make sure they are safe, adhere to Australian and International standards and are made from the best possible raw materials.”
“This results in uncompromising quality and a part life that often ends up being twice or three times that of the original,” adds Tony.