When a major copper mine in Zambia required a 110 kW Variable Speed Drive (VSD) urgently for a slurry application, it turned to SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa, which was not only able to supply the unit on a fast-track basis over the Christmas 2017 period, but it also assisted with on-site commissioning.

As this was the first time that SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa supplied this mine with a VSD, it decided to go the extra mile by dispatching an electronics field service technician to site to assist with the commissioning and set-up.

“We also provided basic operator training as part of our support service,” Export Sales Engineer Philip Steyn adds.

“This project was a major achievement for us, not only due to the large size of the unit, which is one of the biggest VSDs we have ever supplied, but the fact that we have introduced this mining producer to our electronics line-up.”

A particular advantage of the VSD supplied is that the mine did not have to upgrade its control system in order to have it connected and up-and-running as soon as possible.

“Changing-out a VSD is not as simple a process as changing a motor, but the modularity and ease-of-use of our products makes this a quick and efficient procedure. This is a clear example where our class-leading technology gives us a leading edge in the market,” Steyn comments.

Such has been the success of the project that the mining producer is looking to procure a second VSD as a back-up unit – which SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa already has on hand if need be.

“Our significant stockholding is a critical factor in our success. It is all about being able to not only deliver what you promise, but going above-and-beyond what is required.”

A major advantage in this regard is the company’s Exports Department, which facilitates cross-border projects such as this one in the Zambian Copperbelt.

“The back-up and support service offered by our Exports Department is crucial, especially as we cannot be on-site constantly. However, the necessary support structure is in place, and we do conduct regular in-country visits,” Steyn adds.

This contributed to the success of the Zambian project, where the mining producer was essentially unaware of the electronics side of SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa’s product line-up, despite having a large number of its gearmotors on-site.

“It is important for us to look at a customer’s entire operation, and to see where we can best add value by incorporating additional SEW products to make for a total package.”

The success of this project not only increases SEW’s installed base in the Zambian Copperbelt itself, but further entrenches the company as a supplier of solutions that make for the lowest total cost of ownership.

“For example, we have just sold an additional two gearboxes to the same mining producer, with a further two on order. The benefit for customers at the end of the day is that they have peace-of-mind that all our products come with comprehensive technical assistance and back-up support, even in Africa,” Steyn concludes.