A cost leadership strategy driven through continuous product improvement and the on-going optimisation and streamlining of its engineering and production facilities have seen Kwatani screens maintain their reputation for robustness and longevity, while being cost competitive.
Jan Schoepflin, general manager sales and service at Kwatani, previously Joest South Africa, says this is one of the primary reasons why an iron ore operation in the Northern Cape placed an additional order on the company for 24 of its vibrating screens.
'Being cost competitive is not just about the capital purchase price, it is actually about the owning and operating costs of equipment,' Schoepflin says. 'To Kwatani, this is about producing a quality product at a marketed related cost that will achieve the highest throughout with the lowest total cost of ownership.'
Kwatani has gained a reputation as a vibrating equipment solutions provider and not just an equipment supplier. Schoepflin explains that the company's technical team offers a depth of expertise and experience that is largely unmatched in the mining sector.
'Our modus operandi is to spend time with the customer so that we understand specific plant conditions and application requirements. This investment is essential as it also allows for the flexibility needed to provide a vibrating screening solution that takes both the capital outlay as well as the operating cost into account,' he says.
Kwatani has a strong relationship with this customer built on the back of the successful operation of its vibrating screens on the plant for decades. The vibrating equipment replacement programme saw 100 Kwatani screens installed across the plant in recent years.
The order for the 24 new vibrating screens will complete the plant upgrade. The first two orders were for a combination of double and single deck machines, while the latter were all for single deck screens. All screens are 2,4 metres wide with a length of 4,8 metres.
Retrofitting vibrating screens does require a dynamic approach, and Schoepflin says that in this instance Kwatani engineered a solution whereby the bottom sections of the previous existing screens were used as counter balance frames. This, he says, will reduce the dynamic loads into the existing structure where these replacement screens will be installed. In addition to this, it saved costs as there was no need to manufacture new counter balance frames.
'The existing sub frames were closely inspected for structural integrity to ensure that these would be able to handle the load, and this is all part of our overall approach when working closely with customers on retrofit projects such as this,' Schoepflin says.
All the Kwatani vibrating screens being supplied are exciter driven, and a significant aspect of this turnkey project was that the customer specifically requested Kwatani gearboxes.
Derrick Alston, director at Kwatani, says that majority of the vibrating screens operate in very wet conditions with high humidity which makes a mechanical driven system such as a gearbox the preferred option.
Locally manufactured Kwatani gearboxes are known for their robust construction and reliable performance even under the harshest operating conditions. These components are produced at Kwatani's facility in Spartan under stringent quality control conditions. The company is ISO 9001 accredited.
Delivery of the screens will be phased with the first three already delivered and the last unit scheduled for delivery in December 2017. This turnkey operation includes the supply of peripherals and piping, and on-going support will be provided by Kwatani's service centre in Kathu.
'Having an established presence in Kathu is a major advantage to all our customers in the region, and ensures that the highest levels of support can easily be maintained,' Schoepflin concludes.