Adrián Márquez
Director General
VMX MinePro
View from the Top

Added Value Makes Specialized Mining Components Shine

By Cas Biekmann | Mon, 03/23/2020 - 12:21

Q: What market niche did you identify for starting this project?

A: We had previous knowledge of the industry concerning high-volume production. Specifically, the niche was for equipment that could handle large loads. It is a rather specific area of the industry, and a delicate one, too, because the components are costly. We do not have a lot of competition, which provides us with a greater degree of certainty. In addition to the products we provide, we offer experience that enhances the equipment’s reliability and profitability.

In mining, our core business centers around open-pit projects, but we have product lines for underground use as well. We started this project in Mexico one year ago, and we have since opened up shop in Panama, Peru and Colombia, working with the largest companies. Our goal is to provide our clients with specialized technology-based support and experience. The target is to increase the reliability of equipment and boost productivity while lowering operational costs.


Q: What issues have you identified where VMX Mine Pro can offer a notable solution?

A: The previous company I worked for was a product manufacturer. At the beginning, there was no specific analysis of every component that was for sale. The provider or the manufacturer defined the price of the product and gave the client a take-it-or-leave-it quote. You did not know if the provider could offer repairs or added services. That was what was missing in the market: high-quality support and better analysis of parts to match the warranty. In some cases, a provider would offer only a quarter of the warranty time compared to the product’s predicted life. Producers did not know the conditions under which their products would be applied, so they would restrict their warranties. Our knowledge and our understanding of operations allow us to estimate better warranty periods. We know how a component will function based on past experiences. We complement the OEM’s warranty with an operational context, ensuring the buyer knows they are purchasing quality. The main differentiator from our competition is the added value of vastly superior aftersales service.

We also provide benefits by using technology more effectively. If we sell transmission, we will add a service that analyzes vibrations during the life of a 20,000-hour warranty. As a result, customers know they have a quality product, and we have the assurance that our equipment works optimally. If we detect minor flaws, we change the piece during the next service period.


Q: If there is an intermediary between the producer and the client, costs increase. How do you justify this increase?

A: We generate a direct channel from the factory to the final client. The client pays the same amount as if he visited the factory directly. What we really do is make every technology fit perfectly with the client’s needs. We work with the OEM to this end. We would not use the word “intermediary.” We see ourselves as a direct connection to the factory. We add value by means of technical service and technology. Whatever amount the client pays regarding this added value pays for itself eventually thanks to the higher performance achieved.


Q: How do you select your international providers?

A: Our group of providers is part of a global network. One factory of components will be in synergy with a company that creates equipment. This year, we will add two companies to our network that are more focused on services, so we can provide our added value with greater variety.

We select providers mainly based on the quality of their product. We visit factories ourselves and review their capacity and quality and the history of the product. This is important to us because one flawed product could cost an operation time and money. The price of the product is barely taken into account when adding up all of these factors.


Q: How do you modify OEM equipment?

A: Generally, OEMs work with a certain type of steel due to cost factors, as long as its quality has been proven. But steel can often be improved. We eliminate the need for an intermediary, or even the OEM asking price, by becoming the direct channel. We have an engineering department that works with the brands that we work with. It reviews OEM components to see if certain parts are affected by wear and tear more than others. We can see where components receive a lot of pressure, for instance, and then modify it in-house. Our solutions are tailored to the client, no matter what type of mining they are involved in or what they are looking to find.


Q: What new technologies are you using to support your customers?

A: We have several new additions that not many companies provide. We are betting on a few new techniques. We are a young team, in touch with the latest technologies, such as predictive software and various analytics, like TrackAdvice, a monitoring system that uses ultrasound to identify wear and tear in certain components. It provides an accurate measuring of components in undercarriage systems. It can identify patterns in the wear and tear and can provide an accurate prediction as long as the operational aspects remain the same.

We also use a special technique of vibrating analysis specialized on off-highway vehicles, electric rope shovels, excavators and drills. Nobody currently in our market uses this technology. We increase the life expectancy of a component with certainty and data analysis to support the decision along with the customer. This is a huge differentiator from what is currently available in the market. The ability to predict when components will wear out avoids unnecessary replacements.


Q: Do you have any statistics that demonstrate the success clients have had working with our company?

A: We have proof that our products and services can generate savings between 15 to 20 percent on the average cost of the product, in addition to all the other benefits we provide. We also increase the life span of products with the technologies that we mentioned before, compared to an OEM.

VMX MinePro is a supplier of components for heavy industries. In the mining sector, it focuses on open-pit projects. It provides integral solutions, including predictive analysis and maintenance.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst