Aiming for Unbreakable Teeth for Loaders and BulldozersWed, 10/21/2015 - 11:19
Q: How has MTG fared since recently entering the Mexican mining industry?
A: Although there is still some way to go, MTG’s objective of developing the Mexican mining market by providing innovative cutting tools is being achieved by focusing on major mining areas. Mexico and its market were unknown to us, therefore the company decided to hire someone local to get to know the sector. With this outlook, we have spotted the same needs as exist in the Canadian or the American mining sectors. The difference is that, in Mexico, the client demands much more presence from the supplier, needs constant contact, and takes more time when deciding to purchase products. Spreading our brand awareness has thus been difficult, given the reluctance of companies to establish contact and to try out our products. It has been a very slow process, but the Mexican market is very big and important, and we consider our products to be essential for mining development.
Q: How are you overcoming these market entry difficulties with your new 2014-2018 strategy?
A: MTG’s strategy for 2014-2018 is exclusively based on the development of innovative new products. Our Whistler 12 is a bucket for cable machines or dragline excavators that can be loaded with 100 tonnes of product. It is widely used in iron, coal, and copper mines worldwide and is already in use in mining operations in Sonora, Coahuila, and Durango. Our TwinMet product is a tooth made up of two identical parts, which has been rolled out in open-pit mines, but also has potential in the underground mining market. The third product is a protective blade used for scooptrams in underground mines, which will be released in 2015. There are about 7,000 scooptrams in use across Mexico so we see a lot of potential for that product here. We are also working on patented cutting tools. For example, we are researching the potential of incorporating ceramic in our cutting tools. However, this may be at least ten years away from being rolled out because the carbide incrustations we have tried so far have not worked. Ceramic is very hard but very brittle, like glass. We have to find the right percentage between ceramic and steel that holds. We also came up with a hammerless tooth fixing solution, named MTGtwist, where the conical pin is removed by one person in a safe manner. As for protective equipment, we have developed a product line called ProMet II, which represents a complete range of security products for a scoop.
Q: What are the priorities of your customers regarding the characteristics of the product they buy?
A: Companies measure products through their costbenefit ratio. They do not care if the piece is expensive or cheap, they need to see performance. Some customers measure performance based on cost savings and others based on time savings. For example, a Caterpillar 992 loader can load a 777 haul truck in five shovelfuls, but our product can do it in just four, saving 20% on both time and cost. Other companies do not focus on the machine itself but on the durability of teeth. For this requirement, we have about 20 different teeth designs in each product line, depending on whether they are for a front loader or a bulldozer. We have products for greater penetration, for more abrasion resistance, and extra teeth for universal machines used in different types of terrain. In the gold and silver mines of Chihuahua and Sonora, as well as in iron mines, the land typically has high silica content, which is one of the most abrasive materials. These mines require durability rather than speed from their equipment. Tooth strength is extremely important to us so we focus on preventing breakage by suggesting the appropriate tooth based on the characteristics of the tasks. A disaster could potentially arise if a tooth breaks and no-one notices because the tooth’s metal is stronger than the jaws of the crusher. MTG uses a new technology that makes it essentially impossible for a tooth to break if used properly. Known as Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD), this technology involves injecting argon, a noble gas, during steel melting in order to remove hydrogen, which is the most harmful element for the tooth and often causes breakage. Argon removes the hydrogen and is then lost in the process, causing the piece to be practically unbreakable. A tooth may still break if used in a machine of a different size than it was intended for, therefore it is important to choose the right tooth and a proper fastening system. MTG teeth only fit an MTG tooth adapter and the socket is patented by the company, along with the pin.