Thomas Klein
Director General
Bosch Rexroth

Technology Leader Not Resting on Its Laurels,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 14:31

When the slump, which has been felt by almost all companies operating within the mining industry, comes to an end, a slew of opportunities will open up for those who are correctly positioned to seize them. Bosch Rexroth is one such company, unfaltering in its mission to pursue the interests of the mining industry, and securing some important projects in the past couple of years. Despite winning various public mining tenders, the company also experienced the industry-wide drop in sales. “That reduction in sales was not only within the mining industry, but in other industries as well,” explains Thomas Klein, Director General of Bosch Rexroth Mexico. “Thanks to our diligence and discipline, we were able to rapidly recover from such a downfall. Right now, we are participating in around 25 public tenders in which we have acceptance rates of 60-80%.” Klein attributes the company’s cross-selling strategy as being one of the factors that led to its recent success. “With the expertise we have in different industries, and with our well-rounded teams of engineers, there are no technical challenges that we cannot solve,” assures Klein. “The economic ups and downs of the mining industry have forced us to adapt our business model to the current situation. Mexico’s economic and industrial growth is hugely important for the company. We have witnessed the evolution of the country in terms of its production, so we know how important it will become in the next few years.”

Bosch Rexroth has set up R&D centers in Guadalajara, which are mainly focused on tropicalizing the company’s technology and adapting it to different environmental settings. Bosch Rexroth still develops its hardware and mechanical devices in Germany, but adapts them for Latin American markets in its Mexico R&D labs. These kinds of adaptations are also extended to the company’s range of electricity sources and diesel generators, as Klein explains. “If electric energy is not available due to the remoteness of the operation, we can combine diesel generators with our power units to provide an alternative generator which optimizes the power consumption. Our technology provides the same capacity with less energy and space requirements, representing a huge benefit for mining operations with limited space.” The adaptation process of Bosch Rexroth’s technology depends entirely on the information provided by its customers, according to Klein. For example, in some mines operating in very extreme conditions, the conveyors can freeze due to the moisture in the ambience. It takes a lot of energy to break the ice so that the transport belts can start working again. “We take these special conditions into consideration in order to know if we should oversize the motor, or supply an actuator with a peak demand reserve,” explains Klein. “We are able to achieve this by implementing hydraulic pumps or flow generation units, and by measuring the external parameters in all of our electronic devices and controls. Our products provide great benefits since they are a total life cycle solution for mining companies, and also cover the peak energy demands that tend to exist.”

Bosch Rexroth produces its power units, cylinders, and actuators within the country, providing convenient access to its product line. “Normally, there are three types of players when it comes to developing a processing plant: the producers, the suppliers, and the integrators,” explains Klein. “Sometimes, mining companies ask us to integrate our knowledge into their hydraulic applications. They know that, with our expertise, we will not undersize or oversize the application. We try to locate our resources as close to our customers as possible in order to limit the cost of our services. I strongly believe that the future success of certain industries will not depend so much on the quality or the capabilities of products, but on how fast they can be delivered to the end user. Mining companies in particular need partners that can be there for them anytime, anywhere.”

In 2011, Bosch Rexroth completed the acquisition and integration of Hägglunds Drives Ltd., strengthening its reputation as a reliable mining partner due to Hägglunds’ historical presence in the industry. “Hägglunds definitely opened a door for us; it was a key acquisition for our place in the mining market,” says Klein. “We had already been providing the mining industry with diesel systems and standard hydraulic systems, but the addition of Hägglunds’ products gave us a distinct competitive advantage.”

In closing, Klein expresses his confidence that Bosch Rexroth’s tried-and-tested product lines will continue to bring success in the mining industry. “Bosch Rexroth manages a total life cycle cost concept. We are convinced that, with our drive systems, customers will gain the best life span of a product or an application. We are not looking to reinvent the wheel, we are looking to maximize and enhance existing technology. Nevertheless, we believe that we can still find better materials to elaborate our products and their protective coatings. In the future, this will help us to expand the lifespan of our products and to continue adapting them to the harshest conditions found in global mining operations.”