Applying Cross-Industry Experience to Mining ProjectsMon, 10/21/2013 - 13:36
The experience of supplying products to and working within a number of different industries brings many advantages. New technologies applied in one market will almost certainly bring value when applied in other markets, too. One company that is taking advantage of its established presence across a number of different industries worldwide is Gates Corporation. Gates is a leading supplier of power transmission products internationally, serving a number of different industries from oil and gas and mining to automotive and aerospace. “In many areas of the industries we cover there is a certain crossover in applications. We can transfer our solutions from one industry to another, which gives us the leverage to expand our solutions into different sectors,” says the company’s Director General for Mexico and Vice President of the company’s North American Power Transmission Division.
An example of the company’s innovation and versatility is the Gates Poly Chain GT Carbon Belt, or Carbon Drive System. This high tech belt replaces roller chains in power transmission devices. “These state of the art bands are replacing metal chains in many industries, for example Harley Davidson has been so convinced of the added value of this product that it has replaced all of its metal chains for Gates belts, in spite of the traditional image of the motorcycle with a chain,” says the Director General for Mexico. “The belt has a carbon core and incorporated advanced nanotechnology, making it stronger as well as higher performance. This is a perfect example of how our technology provides alternatives for existing parts that you would never consider could be replaced.” The fact that the product was named the most innovative power transmission product of 2007 by Plant Engineering Magazine is a demonstration of the impact it has had on the different industries it serves.
Of the various products Gates supplies to different industries, what ties them together is their focus on innovation and application. “The Gates philosophy of achieving change through innovation has remained the key driver since the company was started, and many of the products we have launched have become the benchmark for the different industries we are involved in. The material, design, and engineering invested in our products have helped us to stay ahead of the competition, by constantly developing higher performance solutions,” says the Director General for Mexico. “If you look at the bigger picture, our products are the least expensive components of machinery, but they can make the difference between a plant or a mine running smoothly or facing costly downtime due to damages or maintenance.”
The fact that in the industries with which Gates works much of the power is driven by hydraulic systems exerts additional pressure to ensure that the company’s products are as reliable as possible, in large part because of the cost implications of equipment failure, but also because of the environmental problems that can be caused by leakages on hydraulic systems. “We cannot allow failures to occur in these industries because any forced shutdown due to failure on complex equipment in the mining or oil and gas industries immediately incurs the loss of millions of dollars. Failures can also lead to leaks and pollution. Our defective rates, or the PPMs (parts per million) as they are referred to in the industry, are close to zero,” explains the company’s Director General for Mexico.
Mining companies also pose similarities to the other industries Gates supplies in the remoteness of their operations. “Many of our customers in different industries are in remote locations, and we stand out from the competition because we have many field engineers working in remote places, especially in the mining industry, in order to ensure that our customers’ operations can continue uninterrupted,” says the Director General for Mexico, for whom this team of specialists represents the company’s key asset. “In total we have five business sectors within the company and we have specialists for each sector we are involved in, because we understand that each sector has its own specific needs and requirements. As far as I understand, having a team of highly specialized technical staff continuously on-hand for our customers makes us unique in the industry.”
In Mexico, Gates has leveraged its international success and premium quality guarantee to win contracts with the mining industry’s major companies, such as Grupo Mexico and Peñoles. “Our consumers are getting outstanding performance from our products, in terms of productivity and safety, and a good cost to productivity ratio,” says the company’s Director General for Mexico. “The key factors in Gates’s success have been innovation, quality, and high level service. We do not consider ourselves to be selling products – we sell services that fulfill our customers’ needs. We try to be one step ahead with innovative, high tech products that exceed our customers’ performance expectations.”
Mexico represents a unique and exciting opportunity for Gates, and the country will play an important role for the company in the coming years. “Gates itself now exports from its Mexican facilities to China, Canada, and Europe, and the country is a key part of Gates’s global business strategy.”