FLSmidth gets up close and personal in the Hunter

Internal discussion at FLSmidth's Hunter Valley service centre

FLSmidth’s services and support have moved closer than ever to the mining operations it serves in the Hunter Valley region.

The minerals processing specialist consolidated its presence in the New South Wales region late last year by completing development of its NSW service centre at Beresfield.

With the new centre, which brings together several existing FLSmidth facilities in the region, the company enters 2018 being able to support its Hunter Valley customers more efficiently than in the past.

The centre means FLSmidth can realise a company vision to improve the productivity of local mining and aggregate producers, while also reducing downtime across the region.

FLSmidth group executive vice president, customer services, Brian Day, who has been visiting Australia for more than 35 years with the Danish company, officially opened the facility in December.

Seeing a service centre launched by the company may not be a new experience for Day, but he does expect the Beresfield facility to provide a unique offering, all under one roof, for the Hunter Valley.

“The key word is purpose built and the service centre is built around what our customers in this region are looking for. When we develop these facilities it also gives us the opportunity to extend our service offerings,” Day told Australian Mining.

“There might be services in other facilities that we previously haven’t had for customers here and now we can incorporate them in to the overall footprint. That adds more value for our local customers as well.”

The 4700-square-metre facility includes a 670-square-metre office area that is now home to FLSmidth’s regional administration, sales and project management teams.

Beresfield’s 4000-square-metre factory includes a relocated woven wire plant, a site services depot, a component rebuild workshop and two overhead cranes.

Its 1700-square-metre workshop, which is around 40 per cent larger than the previous workshop, is equipped with a digital exciter test bed and provides service and testing facilities for screen and centrifuge vibration exciters.

We are also providing project management and engineering services, making the centre an opportunity to start repairing more products locally as opposed to taking them to our Brisbane facility or elsewhere.

Mark Clifford, FLSmidth’s Australian country head, reinforced how important it was to be able to offer these services and support closer to more Hunter Valley operations.

“The whole idea of setting up Beresfield was to be close to the customers in the Hunter Valley. We’ve had a facility here, at Warners Bay, but it had become a bit old,” Clifford explained.

“We’ve now updated that into a new facility, which is about 40 minutes away from the mine sites and 20 minutes from Newcastle’s coal exporting facilities.”

Clifford said having the capability to manufacture woven wire at Beresfield was a significant inclusion for local operators, the centre and the company.

“This allows us to shorten lead times and make bespoke product in the Hunter Valley,” Clifford said. “Not too many of our competitors have the woven wire manufacturing capability here.

“In this region, we do a lot of rebuilds, a lot of service exchange work, as well as on site services – so this a central hub for our field service guys.

“We are also providing project management and engineering services, making the centre an opportunity to start repairing more products locally as opposed to taking them to our Brisbane facility or elsewhere.

“It gives us more diversity in what we can do to support the customers from a full product range.”

FLSmidth expects the integration of a training room at Beresfield will prove valuable over time as more miners engage the company for education programs around its services or equipment.

The purpose-built training centre is another point of difference for the Hunter Valley facility, according to FLSmidth product line manager David Williams.

He said it would enable Hunter Valley miners to learn how to make the most of what FLSmidth offers in the region.

“Our technical team looks at each customer’s operations together as a team and on a flow sheet. So, we get our customers here at the centre and evaluate every part of their plant’s bottle necking. Part of that process is education,” Williams said.

“The centre has been purpose built with a training program for that reason. We are close to the customer base and we can bring our customers in. We can train them on all aspects of their process to look at how they increase productivity.

“By having the training program, we then have access to our customer’s port facilities, the power plants and the coal facilities. We’re part of their process and part of their team too.”

The technical team at Beresfield is also able to tap into FLSmidth’s global network of experts when it faces challenges unique to the region.

“When we are talking to our global network, our international people have been on sites or have been on other teams working at operations around the world. We bring that expertise to our customers here,” Williams said.

While the Beresfield facility is a step forward for FLSmidth in the Hunter Valley, Day said it also maintained the company’s high standards from a global perspective.

“If you look at our overall group vision, we drive success through sustainable productivity enhancements,” he explained.

“So any time we do something like this, it addresses that factor. We’re close to our customers; we can get what they need to them quickly. We’re maximising their uptime and we work with them on their new developments.

“To me, safety is critical in everything we do – zero harm is the target. But we are now also improving how we deliver on the speed factor by being close.”

This article also appears in the February edition of Australian Mining.

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