Genuine parts and service – the recipe for success

July 8, 2015

When the Sasa lead and zinc operation near Kamenica, in north­eastern Macedonia, reopened in 2005 after a two-year closure, expectations were high. The new owners, Romtrade of Russia, pledged to make the mine more productive and profitable than at any time in its 37 year history.

As part of that plan, the management also decided to make Atlas Copco its main supplier of high performance mining equipment. New equipment was installed and an extensive service agreement was signed. Since then, the collaboration has grown increasingly stronger, and today, the fleet includes 27 Atlas Copco machines, all covered by a total maintenance and service program.

In addition, to enhance the mine’s productivity and profitability, around 30 Atlas Copco technicians are at work round the clock, providing maintenance, service, coordination and follow-up of the fleet. Atlas Copco has also established a service center with workshops and offices on the site to be in close proximity to the mine.

One result of this commitment is that the mine’s production of lead and zinc ore has almost doubled since the reopening, and, in 2011, production reached 850 000 tonnes, its highest level ever recorded.

Service agreements

When M&C visited the site, a service team was busily working on a Scooptram loade­r with 32 000 hours “on the clock”, to get the vehicle back into operation as planned later that day. Vlatko Stojov, Atlas Copco on-site Service Manager, says: “Thanks to the regularly scheduled preventive maintenance and only using genuine parts on this machine, we have been able to ensure a high level of operation year after year – and it is still going strong.”

Vlatko’s team provides the mine management with monthly status reports on each machine, with statistics on availability, drillmeters, and more. Based on this information, and predictions from the service team, decisions can be taken of what spare parts need to be ordered.

To make monthly predictions and plan spare parts supply has become a winning concept for Sasa. To have just one main shipment, once a month, keeps logistics costs down and also ensures that the right parts will be on hand for planned repairs and servicing of the machines.

Milco Cosevski, Atlas Copco Office Manager, says the statistics show high availability of the machines in the mine specifically because parts delivery and preventive maintenance are planned in advance.

On-site hose production

Another important contributor is the on-site Atlas Copco hose container, where all of the hoses required are produced, guaranteeing 24 hour availability.

Cosevski, who initiated the on-site hose container, explains: “We order hoses in full lengths in different dimensions from Atlas Copco in Sweden and we can produce all of the hoses the mine needs in our workshop here at the site. This has proven to be a major benefit to the mine.”

The hoses are not only of the highest quality; their easy availability on the site is crucial for the consumables. Atlas Copco Service specialist, Zvonko Stamenkov, says: “It is very important to produce the hoses in the right way to ensure high quality. As the hoses face a tough environment down in the mine, the couplings have to be fastened with great care in order to be secure. Therefore it is crucial to have well trained people producing the hoses.”

Furthermore, the mine is informed twice a month of which hoses have been replaced, for which machines, and the reasons for replacement. In this way, there is no need for Sasa to keep money tied up in stocks. In the future, a small hose workshop may even be set up under ground to be even closer to the machines.

In addition to hoses, Atlas Copco is also the mine’s preferred supplier of engine oil. Atlas Copco Engine 100 is a top quality oil that is approved for use on all Tier IV engines. Engine 100 contains special additives, protecting the engines from premature wear in the harsh, underground environment, reducing service costs.

Another benefit is that this oil is approved for use on almost all engines, regardless of type, make or vehicle.

A bright future

Alexander Rakov, General Manager of Sasa Mine, says he is positive to the strong cooperation between Sasa and Atlas Copco and that he is hoping to strengthen the relationship further in the years ahead.

This year, Sasa has added a number of new Atlas Copco machines to its fleet, including a new Scooptram ST7 loader as well as the new Boltec S, the latest rig for rock reinforcement.

Clearly, these services not only keep the machines up and running at Sasa, they also lower the life cycle cost of the fleet.

Operational excellence Safety Europe Service Energy efficiency Loaders Scooptram ST7 loader Productivity Value creation Mining Macedonia Boltec S rock reinforcement rig