Earth-moving giant Bell Equipment continues to be a powerful force in the local and now global coal mining industry.
This is thanks to its commitment to optimise performance and maintain client relationships though strong after-sales service – two key requirements for a sector driven by the need to consistently maintain high levels of productivity, writes LAURA CORNISH.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 3, 2019
“Bell Equipment’s strategy is to offer customers the lowest cost per tonne solutions for moving material," says Bell Equipment’s ADT product marketing manager, Brad Castle
"Affording customers with the opportunity to maximise their production and profitability is part of Bell Equipment’s focus and this is achieved by engineering equipment that is highly efficient,” .
This strategy is only as effective as the support offered with it however. Renowned aftersales support therefore has been and remains “a vital cog” in the company’s strategy which has proven particularly effective in the coal sector.
In addition to this commitment, Bell Equipment’s heritage is evident in coal industry-specific solutions.
It has become recognised for its fuel-efficient trucks and its low SG bins are offered as an option on its ADT range for lighter weight material that is typically associated with coal operations.
“This offering allows customers to maintain their tonnages regardless of the material weight, or simply put, move more for less,” Castle notes.
“But offering cost-effective earthmoving equipment and a strong aftersales support network is only part of Bell’s attractive package.
"We also offer application assistance to ensure that our machinery is correctly matched to specific sites and applications, as well as the timing of cycles compared to the number of trucks,” Castle continues.
Bell Equipment considers site management of equal importance to its equipment on site. Its innovative fleet management system, Fleetm@tic, has made site management an easier process.
Machine productivity, utilisation and condition can all be accessed from the owner’s computer, tablet or mobile phone.
“Customers can therefore be rest assured that their investments are earning a maximum return,” adds Castle.
A global success
Bell Equipment’s successes in the coal industry can be seen in South Africa and further afield which more recently included the delivery of large B60E fleets into a coal application in Indonesia.
PT Victor Dua Tiga Mega, a coal mining company and contractor in Indonesia, has since realised an increase in productivity of between 20 and 30% after investing in four B60Es in 2018 to optimise coal production following an increase in the coal price.
The company started mining in 2004 and shipped its first cargo of 45 000 t in mid-2006. Since August 2017, PT Victor Dua Tiga Mega has handled overburden removal, coal cleaning as well as coal haulage to the crushing plant and jetty.
The company is looking to build its production to around 2 Mt by 2020.
The mine however, experiences high rainfall – averaging over 2 500 mm per annum and for this reason the company was looking for an ADT with a capacity exceeding 50 t for its mining operation.
Because the maximum capacity of ADTs available in the country at the time was 45 t, Bell Equipment’s dealer in Indonesia, PT Hexindo Adiperkasa Tbk was able to offer a solution to the challenge, having added the B60E, with a payload of 55 t (metric) to its product range.
Today, the B60Es are operating in conjunction with a fleet of 50 t rigid dump trucks in two 12-hour shifts. Production is monitored by the onboard Bell Fleetm@tic software and with a haul distance of 2.3 km from the mining area to the crushing plant the B60Es each average 150 tph.
“As a customer we focus on productivity, functionality and availability. Bell surpassed other heavy equipment that we use in terms of functionality and availability," says Allbest Suyipto, a director of PT Victor Dua Tiga Mega.
"The truck is not hampered by drizzle or rain, which helps us to continuously increase our productivity."
In response to the performance of the B60Es and the commitment to customer support shown by Bell and Hexindo, PT Victor Dua Tiga Mega placed an order for an additional eight B60Es and two 120 t excavators.
The proof is in the South African pudding
Closer to home, Bell Equipment client Andru Mining, a well-known South African mining contractor in the coal industry has purchased 34 new Bell B40E ADTs – 10 of which are today doing the same production as 12 older ADTs at a coal mine in the country.
The 10 B40E ADTs were fitted with the newly designed Bell coal bin, which allows the truck to easily fulfil its design capacity of carrying between 36 to 39 t of raw coal.
Delivery of the new fleet of Bell B30E and B40E ADTs took place during April, May, June and July 2018 and most trucks were delivered straight to their respective mining sites from the Bell Equipment Richards Bay factory.
“We at Andru Mining have a long relationship with Bell Equipment and taking the decision to now invest in the company’s E-series ADT was a relatively easy one,” says Andru Mining plant director Joe Naicker.
“It’s a cost-effective machine to run and maintain compared to what is in the market and we’ve deployed the bulk of the 34 new Bell B40E ADTs to our coal mining sites between Middelburg and Belfast.”
Andru Mining’s new Bell B30E and B40E ADTs have been bought with the standard 12-month warranty with unlimited hours – a fact which the company feels works in its favour as utilisation on especially coal mines is high.
Coal production demands high mechanical availabilities and the Bell B40E ADTs run on average for 20 hours in a 24-hour cycle.
“We’re enjoying the Bell Fleetm@tic monitoring system,” Naicker continues.
“This adds value to the open dialogue we have with Bell Equipment’s customer support representatives like Willem Johnson, who helps us in quickly sorting out technical hiccups that do crop up at times.”
He is also adamant that even when their new Bell E-series ADTs have exceeded their warranties, Bell Equipment would still be asked to undertake all 1 000-hour services to ensure each machine has a clean bill of health to ensure maximum uptime.