When Sadanand Makar started Oriental Rubber Industries in 1949, he did so in order to supply rubber products to the Indian Army.
Fast track 70 years and the company has stayed true to its founding innovative roots, becoming a leading supplier of conveyor belts to the mining industry, with its South African division contributing significantly to global operations. GERARD PETER reports.
With a presence in 70 countries across all continents, Oriental Rubber supplies a myriad of conveyor belts that can be adapted for any mining operation.
This includes MAXX AGNI, a range of fire resistant conveyor belts that are suitable for underground and surface mining applications such as fiery mines.
In addition, the company also manufactures MAXX ARMOUR, Kevlar reinforced, conveyor belt. Lightweight, heat and corrosion resistant, these belts are well suited for demanding hard rock applications.
They offer up to 50% reduction in belt weight, up to 40% reduction in belt thickness and saves up to 15% in energy. Furthermore, Oriental Rubber’s products have undergone stringent testing at the CSIR, the Hanover based Institute of Transport and Automatisierung and is SABS certified.
The decision to start a South African operation was borne in 1994, following a visit of a high-profile business delegation from India.
Kirsten Odendaal, Marketing Manager says, “In the mid-90s the mining industry was booming so it made sense to start a business in South Africa with a particular focus on hard rock mining for commodities such as gold and platinum.
In addition, the company decided to open a manufacturing plant in Boksburg, Gauteng.
“The factory has more than 100 jobs and around 300 indirect jobs through our supply chain,” states CEO Vincent Govender.
He adds that the head office in India is very much involved in local operations, offering technical support as well as research and development.
Highly adaptable solutions
Odendaal points out that not only is Oriental Rubber able to offer high-quality products to the industry but it is also able to adapt its designs and expertise from India specifically for the South African market.
It is for this reason that the company has supplied belts to various projects in Africa, include Zambia, Ghana, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Odendaal adds: “In South Africa, Oriental is contracted to supply Glencore, Samacor, Sasol coal mines. With regards to project business supply Booysendal PGM and most recently Sepflour’s Nokeng mine.”
Govender states that Oriental Rubber’s objective is to work closely with project engineering companies to ensure that it can develop a bespoke solution for mining operations.
“A case in point is Exxaro’s Belfast project in Mpumalanga where we advised the client to consider using a Kevlar belt for their feeder belt applications as a solution to their constraints.
Similarly for Mimosa Zimbabwe, Kevlar was a solution to their problematic application, whereby increased production, loss in production due to breakdown and higher joint retention was required.”
With an extensive range of durable belts backed by expert support, Oriental Rubber is looking to expand its footprint and track record beyond South Africa borders.