For over 30 years, Drivetrain has been providing genuine parts and components, authorised and tested rebuilds, along with a wide range of engineering and field maintenance services to the mining industry. Australian Mining finds out what its expansion into a key Western Australian region will bring.
Drivetrain has spent the last three decades developing its reputation as a supplier of high-quality solutions for major Australian mining companies and contractors.
Its longstanding relationships with leading international driveline component and equipment brands allows Drivetrain to enhance and improve mining maintenance programs and operations across the industry.
In January 2021, Drivetrain’s parent company ASX listed Engenco Limited made the ultimate commitment to Australia’s unofficial gold mining capital, Kalgoorlie, by aquiring an industrial property in the city to house the Drivetrain facility. This is part of the Engenco Group growth strategy to expand the reach of products and services by reacting to customer needs.
This will complement Drivetrain’s existing portfolio of mining-focussed workshops in Mackay, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth which service; underground and open cut mining, across soft and hard rock operations, along with Australian defence assets, material handling, rail, commercial and automotive vehicles, power generation and oil and gas compression equipment.
Drivetrain is no stranger to Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields in Western Australia, having built lasting relationships with hard-rock mining companies in the region.
“A lot of underground mining in Australia, particularly in gold is centred around Kalgoorlie,” Drivetrain general manager, sales and business development Mark Griffith tells Australian Mining.
“Kalgoorlie is a real mining centre and has been for many hundreds of years and a lot of our biggest customers are very centric to that area.
“Moving into the (Kalgoorlie) geographical area to provide the people and expertise to support customer demand in the region is driven by our need to provide solutions to our customers.”
Drivetrain has already proven its worth to major miners and contractors in Kalgoorlie, providing specialised underground services and equipment.
The company introduced products such as Kovatera’s customisable underground mining vehicles, Dana Spicer’s industrial axles, transmissions and drivelines and Axletech (Meritor’s) SPRC tandem axle sets for mine site heavy haulage trucks.
In 2021, Drivetrain will ensure Kalgoorlie and the broader Australian market has access to the latest developments to its brands, such as Kovatera’s new range of electric vehicles.
By expanding into the Goldfields, Drivetrain will be offering the local mining sector with direct access to these internationally recognised OEMs, with the flexibility of working with a partner based in Kalgoorlie.
“Drivetrain is very flexible as a business, whereas competitors and OEMs can be quite rigid,” Griffith explains.
“We provide high-quality service, but also have a point of difference in that what the customer needs is what Drivetrain provides.
“For example, we introduced a line of utility vehicles into Australia a few years ago and over the course of two years, adapted those vehicles by working with the OEM to redesign them to suit the Australian conditions of ramp mining and Australian mining methods.
“This has had huge success over the last six to eight months, in that those vehicles have started to deliver better costs and improved performance to those operations.”
Drivetrain general manager, operations Peter Gale says “Australianising” products so they are strong enough to withstand some of the toughest mining conditions in the world is one of the company’s key roles in the process.
The company is prepared to take the next step when it sets up in Kalgoorlie, bringing international products to a level where they can handle Australia’s hard rock mining environments.
“Often equipment from the brands we represent will be fine for years in other conditions, but if we bring it to Australia it just isn’t designed for the rough environment,” Gale says.
“Drivetrain is that pivotal link between the market and OEMs to work out what doesn’t fit with the Australian environment and how to improve it. Our customer approach is ‘what do you want us to do for you?’”
In addition to ensuring equipment is prepared for the Goldfields, Drivetrain will support the community with investment in employment opportunities and contract partners.
Drivetrain executive general manager Shane Stafford says the company plans to engage Kalgoorlie locals, even if they are people who have not been exposed to the mining industry before.
“We will continue to invest in the community, working with local schools to provide opportunities for people who want to undertake an apprenticeship or other career opportunities in the mining industry,” Stafford says.
“Drivetrain provides the option for people who a mine site roster might not be suitable for to work in the industry in a workshop capability in town.
“This provides a flexible option to a wide range of people looking to enter into the heavy industrial industry.”
Kalgoorlie will also have access to Drivetrain’s team of experts, who have customised the range of vehicles, axles and other spare parts it supplies to manage the mining conditions in the Goldfields region.
“We’re going through the process of gearing up the company for some of the changes around electrification,” Griffith reveals.
“We’ve done this with every technological change over the last 30 years and our knowledge and internal relationships allow us to ensure our team has the best training and the most cutting-edge techniques available.
“Continuously building our electrical engineering and the Kovatera electric vehicles debuting in Australia over the next six months is an example of how we take on new technology to put ourselves at the cutting edge of adapting technology to the Australian market and its conditions.”