Greg Girardey
VP
Fenner Dunlop
/
View from the Top

Fenner Dunlop Provides Tangible Benefits for Mining Operators

By Paloma Duran | Mon, 04/19/2021 - 14:26

Q: What is Fenner Dunlop’s proposal for the mining industry?

A: We are focused on the total cost of ownership, which means the life span of the conveyor belt. Our goal is not to sell the most conveyor belts but to produce the most durable, longest lasting conveyor belts. This is a tangible benefit for our customers, which allows them to fully optimize the reliability and potential profit from their mining operations. Some customers are interested in adopting technology, while other customers are more price sensitive. However, given the cycle of commodities, our conveyor belts deliver success in the gold, silver, zinc, iron ore and copper markets and as a result, we see good opportunities for the next three to five years.

Q: How has the company ensured that its belts are the best, strongest and most durable on the market?

A: We are an ISO-certified company and we focus primarily on product quality. We also focus on material supply chains to ensure that the best raw materials are implemented in our conveyor belts. To ensure we have the best conveyor belts in the market, we must understand the customer’s needs and requirements. To this end, we conduct belt conveyor surveys to assess each application to ensure that the most appropriate carcass and compound are incorporated into the belting specification. Lastly, our conveyor belts employ the latest technologies with regard to carcass construction and rubber compounds. One example is our Lavonia Georgia weaving operation. Here we are able to fully use our patents by producing our own textile carcasses vs. the common practice of purchasing standard belt weaves in the textile commodity marketplace.

Q: How does the company minimize its impact on the environment?

A: We are fully cognitive that earth has limited resources, so we adopt an internal philosophy of “more with less.” What this means is that every step of the conveyor belt manufacturing process strives to optimize the energy and electricity utilized at our manufacturing plants. We optimize the consumption of nylon and polyester in our carcass constructions to yield the best product with the least amount of physical material(s) and optimize the amount of recycled material(s) that go into our rubber compounds. The programs we have implemented with regard to energy saving along with utilizing recycled rubber components have delivered strong results.

Q: Why should companies trust UsFlex® belts and what sets them apart?

A: UsFlex® is perhaps our most well-known belt technology. It is a high-performance belt that utilizes proprietary straight warp weaving technology. UsFlex® belts deliver benefits that solve customer problems via superior rip, tear, and impact resistance! These are extremely strong and robust belts that are difficult to destroy, which is important for heavy-rock industries, such as copper, gold, silver and zinc. In addition, by adopting our technology, customers / users can replace their belting from other belt manufacturers and increase the belt service life by three to 10 times. Although our UsFlex® belting products command a premium, they are a very attractive value proposition because they last significantly longer, which ultimately generates a lower cost per ton of material conveyed. UsFlex® users use fewer belts per year, make fewer belt repairs and replacements, reduce or eliminate belt downtime and improve employee safety.

Q: Why should mining companies choose the company’s belts for their hard-rock mining operations?

A: Our belts have two main technological components: the carcass and the rubber compound. We work with each mine to understand their unique requirements. Our X Series® product line (UsFlex®, KordFlex®, Nova-X® and Patriot X®) are high technology, high performance products that are perfect for harsh and very demanding mining applications. Fenner Dunlop Americas designs and manufactures the belting carcass for these challenging applications, which makes a big difference in terms of belt life and belt performance. In addition, when Fenner Dunlop has conducted a complete review of the conveyor belt application, we can at times offer our customers a performance guarantee. The Fenner Dunlop belt may be 40 percent more expensive than their current belt, but Fenner Dunlop offers twice the average life (1 year vs. 6 months) and will only charge the additional belt premium when the new belt performs and reaches the longer life milestone.

Q: How does Fenner Dunlop ensure its conveyor belts are working correctly?

A: We have a network of distributors that provide service in the US and Mexico. We also have engineers and technicians who go into the field to perform on site evaluations, where they will inspect the conveyor belt and provide recommendations on improvement(s) and if applicable perform the actual belt maintenance for the customer. Our engineers and technicians also utilize diagnostic systems such as X-ray and scanning technologies to provide both predictive and preventive maintenance with the goal to improve the useful life of the equipment.

Q: How is the company positioned in the Mexican mining sector?

A: We are a premium brand in Mexico and are recognized as technology leaders. One of our current strengths exist in gold but we are expanding into silver, copper and zinc markets. It is about finding a mining company that is interested in total cost of ownership and enhanced performance via robust belt technologies. We want to grow our market share and double our business in Mexico in the next five years. Our goal is not to flood the market with low-cost, low quality products but with belt technology that delivers tangible (measurable) benefits to our mining customers.

Fenner Dunlop Americas is a provider of heavyweight conveyor belting and services for the mining and industrial sectors. The company has 150 years of proven belt manufacturing expertise, with Fenner Dunlop Americas having more than 40 years of belting service solutions.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst