Moving with the times

Pilot Crushtec makes coal crushing simple and mobile

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If the 21st century has taught us anything, it is that things are changing quicker than ever before. To succeed in the current business landscape, companies need to be agile and tool their operations to cater to the ever-changing environment with innovative and appropriate solutions. Case and point is a company operating in KwaZulu Natal that had to rethink their equipment needs, to meet the requirements of their client.

The company has had to increase their average monthly processed coal production from some 20 000 tons a month to just over 60 000 tons. Yeshen Achary, sales engineer at Pilot Crushtec, says that for the client, when the decision was made to invest in new machines, Pilot Crushtec was a natural choice for them.

“The company’s focus lies in three areas: anthracite, bituminous coal, and lean coal mining for both the local and international market. Having increased their production significantly over the last while, they needed to add an additional mobile crusher. Having had a long association with Pilot Crushtec and an understanding that our service and quality is beyond reproach, they contacted us for a solution. Additionally, the product they were keen on was the DoppiaTrac DR400 double roll crusher, a mobile unit that not many companies manufacture.”

The decision to go with the DoppiaTrac DR400, according to Achary, was an easy one. “The double roll crusher works a lot better for their application, as the raw feed material in KZN tends to be slightly softer and it creates more fines, which is unsuitable for their particular clients spec of end product. Having looked at a number of the competitor’s machines our client realised, quite quickly, that the DoppiaTrac design was more advanced, robust, easy to use and, most importantly, it was mobile.”  

Achary, who was involved in the acquisition process from the beginning, believes the DoppiaTrac DR400 will serve the client’s needs perfectly. “Essentially, the company could not establish the definitive lifespan of the mine so would have to go with mobile units. Using traditional mobile units would’ve taken two or three units to produce the required tonnage that a single DoppiaTrac DR400 can produce. From a pure operating cost perspective this made no sense as you would be running three diesel engines as opposed to one. Another one of the other unique selling points, which impressed the client, was the fact that it is far cheaper to run the DoppiaTrac DR400 than a cone or jaw crusher as a double roll crusher is not normally as high wearing on the roll segments. Essentially it ticked all the boxes on the clients wish list, and at its price point, it is a safe bet for any contractor.”  

The mobility of the unit seems to be a big selling point as well, as there is a trend for mines to subcontract processing out to smaller to medium sized enterprises. This makes mobility crucial as short-term contracts are the order of the day, which makes expensive static plants impractical on a number of levels.

It is this trend that Pilot Crushtec identified early on and started designing and manufacturing the DoppiaTrac DR400 around.

“The DoppiaTrac DR400 was designed from scratch when we received an enquiry from a client,” explains technical director at Pilot Crushtec, Jorge Abelho. “Whenever we get an enquiry from the industry, we explore the viability of producing the machine, and whether or not it would find a place in the market. In the case of the DoppiaTrac DR400 it made sense. When the prototype was built, we put it through its paces in real world scenarios and tweaked the design to make it available to our workshop for production. Once released to the market we continue to monitor its performance and make improvements according to customer feedback. Our products are constantly evolving to deliver the best results in an ever-changing industry.”

From a design point of view Abelho says the overriding philosophy is to design machines for the African milieu. “We have deliberately kept the design as simple as possible. It is robust, easy to maintain, and has all solid-state relays that any electrician can get to and service. You have to understand that our machines are often used in remote areas of the country which are not always easily accessible. You have to ensure that it keeps working as it could take a technician a long time to get out to the site.”

While the static roll-crusher concept does exist, there are no machines able to cater to the contractor. “Contractors are one of our biggest customer bases,” says Abelho. “Essentially, they need something that is portable. They do a job for a few months, move on, and need to re-establish quickly on another site. You can, quite literally, drive off a low-bed, and be up and running in 30 minutes. Conversely, if you commission a static plant, you are looking at around 12 to 24 months before you are up and running, and you need a sustained, long-term contract for the project to be viable.” 

The DoppiaTrac DR400 ticks all the boxes when it comes to reliability, mobility and affordability in an industry where margins are critical to the small and medium operators. Pilot Crushtec understands the needs of its clients and continues to innovate and excel at customer service ensuring a robust and sustainable sector going forward.

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