Brelko

Research, development and innovation remain the key drivers of success for conveyor belt cleaning equipment designer and manufacturing company Brelko.

This has over the past 32 years entrenched the proudly South African company as an industry leader in spillage control in the materials handling sector.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020

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Brelko MD and co-founder Kenny Padayachee has been the driving force behind the company’s existing and future plans and will stop at nothing to ensure the evolution of the business to suit its clients’ needs.

Founded on the principle of providing a turnkey product range of outstanding quality, backed by unquestionable aftersales service, the company had early on its history recognised the technological changes taking place within the industry driven by high labour costs, shortage of skills and an ageing workforce and adapted its business strategy accordingly.

In response to the changing needs of its technologically-evolving client base, Brelko has committed considerable resources into research and development towards refining its product and aftersales service offering with the sole purpose of producing products that will not be reliant on a scheduled maintenance programme, says Brelko service manager Craig Abbey. These products will require little to no maintenance and product performance will be guaranteed for the life of the product.

The company is also in the process of developing a range of “self-monitoring” equipment. “This technology will allow mines to remotely monitor the equipment eliminating the need for staff to physically perform routine maintenance inspections,” explains Brelko technical and CADD manager Riaan Rynders.

“This new equipment will also ensure improved efficiency and productivity as it will be able to operate 24 hours, seven days a week. The efficiency and productivity gains could be substantial, particularly for those companies operating in remote areas with high labour and transport costs.”

Product perfection, however doesn’t happen without a solid automated work place. The Brelko manufacturing facility, which utilises the latest software and machinery that is energy efficient and environment-friendly with little to no waste of raw materials, will continue to strive for perfection in order to ensure “ultimate performance” from its products.

To this end, Brelko will continue to equip the facility with the latest equipment and technological processes, capable of designing, manufacturing and successfully distributing the company’s ever evolving product range.

Driving collaboration through technology

The company has embraced digital transformation as a means to drive collaboration between its field and office staff. This collaboration is aimed at making it simpler for our staff members to communicate with each other while staying focused on the task at hand. “This is done by aligning our business processes with the technology available to us,” explains Brelko IT supervisor Craig Leader.

“Having mobile electronic devices in the hands of each of our service teams not only means that we are able to maintain easier contact with our staff members, but that we are also able to enforce policies and procedures to standardise the level of service that our customers receive,” he adds. 

Embracing Africa’s development

Africa, which is home to a significant amount and diverse range of mineral resources, has and will continue to be a tremendous resource for Brelko. The company has been selling and servicing Africa for the last 15 years and continues to see future growth potential from Africa.

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With an impressive foothold in the SADC region, Brelko has over time cultivated ongoing business in Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Malawi, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Ghana and Tanzania.

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While Brelko continues to service its existing agency network, it is continually looking to expand and grow. “As African countries develop, we will continue to expand our agency network as new opportunities arise,” says Brelko area manager for USA & Africa Brent Weller.

People-focused

At the heart of Brelko, and also key to the company’s manufacturing strength, is its employees.

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With 10 executive managers reporting directly to Padayachee – 70% of which have been with the company for +15 years – Brelko operates like a well-oiled machine with each manager responsible for one of the various portfolio’s within the company. These managers are at the core of driving the company’s objectives forward.

The combined experience of Brelko’s qualified and capable workforce, which is significant and will continue to improve, is an integral to developing and testing new products, manufacturing these products, packaging and distributing them.

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Through Padayachee’s leadership, coupled with his experience, vision and drive, planning for the next ten years is already in motion and will ensure that all the necessary steps are in place to realise a bright future for Brelko and enable it to take advantage of all the opportunities it encounters.