Ralph Buchholz
Director General
Beumer de México
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View from the Top

Slashing Maintenance Costs with Automated Conveyor Belts

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 11:09

Q: How would you describe the Mexican mining market and how important is it for Beumer?
A: The company has a particular interest in Mexico as it is the biggest silver producer in the world and is experiencing a significant rise in new projects. We already collaborate with the cement and limestone industry in the country, including companies such as Cruz Azul. The company also installed several machines for Grupo Calidra. We find that companies are starting to invest in more projects. Not only are Canadian players opening more gold and silver projects but they are also significantly investing in base metal mines. This market has a lot of potential as manganese is being produced by only one company in the country. Grupo Mexico is greatly expanding its portfolio as well. Mexico will have a good market for the next few years thanks to these new developments.
Our greatest challenge is in being a new market entrant. However, we will be able to overcome this obstacle by demonstrating Beumer's success in the mining industry across the globe, as well as with many other bulk and other material-handling industries within Mexico. Establishing partnerships with Mexican mining companies will allow us to demonstrate our value to them and illustrate that we are more than just a supplier.
Q: How can Beumer de México help operators reduce costs and improve productivity?
A: Mines traditionally move materials from one place to another using massive trucks that can hold up to 50 tons at a time. The downside of this method is that these machines consume a large amount of diesel fuel, which is becoming increasingly more expensive. The weight of the load also greatly damages road conditions, which implies a constant need for maintenance. These factors combined with the high price tags of tires and other automotive parts that have to be replaced periodically can quickly add up. Long distances can also force operators to buy a bigger fleet of trucks.
We can help companies reduce costs by implementing conveyer belts that may have a higher initial cost, but many long-term benefits including a lower total cost of ownership. Our systems are manufactured in Europe and comply with strict standards from the region. Their high quality makes them last longer and require less maintenance. Despite the fact that our products are manufactured in another country, we still find ways to offer lower costs and assemble the machines locally. This allows us to customize and adapt our products to the needs of each project. Our systems can equally help projects become safer as they can detect loose materials and malfunctions in real time and can be controlled from an operation room, which eliminates the need to have a person on site at all times.
Q: What kind of logistical challenges do you face in underground mines in comparison to open pit mines?
A: We can provide solutions for both, but underground mines are much more challenging and riskier to work in. We tend to especially avoid underground coal mines as any type of spark or malfunction can be extremely hazardous and explosive. As providers, we can only prevent these types of risk through our products and management of them but operators also have make sure they are following strict safety standards in their processes. But we are open to venture into other types of underground mines such as gold, silver or base metals such as manganese. Mexico also has significantly fewer coal mines than Germany, for example, so it is not an issue in the country.
While we are able to accommodate many types of mines, we are more concerned with the timeframe and development of the project. We work with a wide variety of specialists from engineers and consultants to construction companies. We are prioritizing automation and work with control systems from around the world. Beumer also takes into consideration the end product, as liquid and dry concentrates need different handling and packaging along with security and transportation costs.