Eliminating Energy from Mining Companies’ Concerns,Wed, 10/21/2015 - 15:55
The mining industry is dependent on a myriad of energy intensive processes, ranging from excavation and material transfer, to mineral preparation and separation. It is imperative that the energy requirements of these processes are consistently met to ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum. The equipment required to keep mining operations running smoothly are fuel-powered, electricity-generating engines, referred to in the industry as ‘gensets’. If a genset responsible for providing energy to a critical operation in the mine was to fail, all mining would be halted and profits would drop as a result. Because of this, downtime is a major concern of the mining sector, requiring both gensets and their operators to be extremely reliable. Catering to just this need, Megamak is a leading supplier of generating equipment, spare parts, and energy solutions. The maintenance required on brand-new genset engines is usually quite simple, such as oil changes and filter replacements. But with use, the units inevitably start to experience more severe issues, which require immediate attention. These issues can be aggravated by mine personnel trying to conduct the repairs themselves without being trained to do so. “Attempted engine repairs performed by untrained personnel are the most common causes of downtime at a mining site,” explains Pedro Robles Hernández, Mining Manager of Megamak. “We need to convince our customers to consider the benefits of having a backup genset on-site should the unthinkable happen. Furthermore, by providing familiarization training to genset operators and ensuring that they stick to a pre-designed maintenance program schedule, we hope to greatly minimize the risk of genset failure.” Alongside establishing dedicated training programs, Megamak has strategically located its warehousing facilities in Hermosillo, Torreon, Guadalajara, and Merida, to enable it to deal with customer demands quickly and efficiently. These locations allow its specialists to arrive at the mines as fast as possible if their customer’s on-site technicians are not capable of dealing with a particular issue. Megamak offers a range of support packages which includes ‘around the clock’ availability of its highly qualified technicians. “Our service packages are very flexible,” says Robles Hernández. “Some customers receive a weekly visit from our specialists to check for issues and run diagnostic tests, but others require support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. It really depends on the needs of the client.”
As well as being a center for its highly trained teams of technicians, Megamak’s facilities are also used to stock those products pertaining to the most prominent mining sectors in the regions where they are based. For example, the northwest of Mexico sees a lot of underground mining, so Megamak stocks a higher quantity of underground mining parts and engines in its Torreon warehouse than anywhere else. “Our customers expect us to have sufficient stock in our facilities when they urgently require a part,” says Robles Hernández. “However, some companies could potentially stock these parts themselves. Even so, many customers still prefer the convenience of requesting our stock and specialists from a nearby location on an ad-hoc basis.” If certain products are located elsewhere, Megamak relies on a combination of third-party logistics companies and its own internal stock management software to track the part and deliver it fast.
In addition to having obtained the right to represent some world-class brands, such as Cummins, Megamak became the national Cummins training center for Mexico and the Caribbean for these specific services in 2014. In order to obtain this responsibility, its sales people and technicians had to meet strict training requirements, particularly when dealing with high powered (HP) engines. Cummins has developed a support strategy known as “The Four Pillars,” which encompasses technical training, stock management, industry liaisons, and equipment diagnostics. Megamak hopes that by reinforcing this strategy, it can increase the revenues received through the mining sector. “Megamak is a company that supports all markets,” explains Robles Hernández. “In the Pacific region, we support the mining, industrial, and automotive sectors, but mining alone represents around 40% of our total revenue in this region, which could increase to 50% by next year.” Although the mining industry has produced flat growth for Megamak in recent years, it is predicting an increase towards the second quarter of 2015. One element which Megamak has noticed is that the underground mining sector continues to show signs of growth. “This could be attributed to production costs being much lower than in other large projects,” says Robles Hernández. For this reason, Megamak has recently opened offices in Zacatecas and intends to open more in Parral, Chihuahua, to be close to companies like Industrias Peñoles and Grupo Mexico, two of the largest purchasers of underground mining equipment in the country. Due to the size of their operations, both companies have their own team of technicians, negating the need for Megamak’s support services. Despite this, Megamak’s presence in this region is designed to provide backup support, in the event of an emergency request.