Luis Castillo Burgos
Former Country Manager Mexico
ESCO Corporation
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Insight

Ground-Engaging Products Reduce Machinery Downtime,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 11:15

Without the cogs and gears that keep our clocks ticking, time itself would come to a standstill. The same can be said for the parts that comprise the outer workings of mining machinery and vehicles. Once these essential elements fail, they must be replaced as fast as possible in order to limit costly, profit-hemorrhaging downtime during mining operations. The longevity of these parts is largely governed by the science of tribology, which is the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion. Put simply, when the metal-mechanical parts of ground-engaging tools clash with the hard rock and minerals that they are designed to penetrate, the friction and abrasion of this action causes them to wear down over extended periods of time. ESCO Corporation (ESCO) is an independent developer of engineered wear parts, such as buckets and truck bodies, with over a century of experience in its core competencies of metallurgy, design engineering, manufacturing processes, and distribution

ESCO recently restructured by splitting into three different divisions: mining, construction and industrial, and oil and gas. “Our primary reason for this overhaul was to get closer to our customers than ever before,” states Luis Castillo Burgos, Former Country Manager Mexico of ESCO Corporation. “By altering the company structure, we can strategically generate new offers for our customers. We also intend to make it very clear that mining and construction are two very different businesses.” As a newly independent entity, ESCO’s mining division will continue to be focused on developing wear parts and attachment products while maintaining a strong focus on innovation and safety. The company’s dedication to developing efficient products for the mining industry can be observed in the Nemisys® Lip, Tooth & Shroud System, which helps reduce maintenance costs through improved reliability, faster and safer replacement, and improved lip coverage when applied to excavating machinery. “The idea behind Nemisys® is to assemble everything that the customer needs into just one lip,” Castillo Burgos explains. “Over time, the teeth on ground-engaging machines become shorter meaning that much of the work related impact is absorbed by the bucket, which is a very expensive part to replace. For example, a small bucket could cost US$1 million, but the largest models can reach as high as US$5 million. Nemisys® provides a higher quality lip with better teeth that protects both the bucket and the machine, improving overall performance.” The system was designed with efficiency in mind, vastly reducing the time taken to replace the worn parts while increasing their durability and minimizing downtime. The level of work that these machines undertake is highly extensive, meaning that ESCO’s customers tend to value performance above anything else. However, according to Castillo Burgos, cost remains an issue that must be addressed. “Many potential clients are difficult to convince as to a specific product’s value if its price is too high. We maintain that the reason our products are not cheap is that we provide the most advanced technology available.”

ESCO is turning part of its business into a service supplier, which will see it supply third-party products to complement its own portfolio. “Our business is in replacement parts,” says Castillo Burgos. “This constitutes a huge market in Mexico, and its competitive nature means that we have to stay one step ahead of our rivals.” One of the ways ESCO convinces a customer to buy its products is to agree on a trial period. These trials can potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so, in an attempt to keep costs to a minimum, the company negotiates a diverse range of deals based on the needs of each individual customer. “During an initial meeting with a new client, we will outline the comparisons between the price of the product and the time the customer might spend using it, ensuring that they get the maximum amount of productivity from large investments,” Castillo Burgos continues. “For example, we would explain that one of our products would provide 500 hours of usage, as compared to only 400 hours of usage promised by our competitors.” Usage time for machines is very important to our mining clients. Maintenance often involves a very time-consuming process. On occasion, a machine needs to be switched off for a whole week, which can cost millions of dollars depending on its application. Deciding on the right product from the outset is vital to keep costs to a minimum.”