Keeping mining moving

Through its Heavy Industrial Solutions division in Australia, SEW EURODRIVE is working directly with customers to keep their production lines moving with quality, efficient and timely gearbox solutions.

Located in Tullamarine, Victoria, SEW has the engineering expertise in-house to work directly with its mining customers to establish gearbox solutions quickly and efficiently.

Holding one of the largest range of spare parts in Australia, currently valued at more than $24 million, SEW is able to supply replacement gearboxes quicker than any other automation technology business in Australia.

“We get the clear details from the customer, and we have the expertise needed in-house. From electronic engineers, to mechanical engineers and even designers. We can offer the whole solution for the customer,” says Guido Wagner, engineering and contracts manager, SEW Industrial Gears.

With such a vast variety of stock available onsite, SEW is able to supply replacement gearboxes in a period of crisis faster than any other business in Australia.

SEW was capable of the successful delivery of two 500kW gearboxes in under a week, enabling a major coal handling preparation plant (CHPP) in Queensland to continue to operate without any downtime.

This particular customer experienced a catastrophic failure with one of the gearboxes operating the train loading conveyor belt. The gearbox failure meant no coal could be loaded for rail transport to the waiting ships offshore, this would have a detrimental effect on the plant’s productivity. With the assistance of SEW and the fast turnaround of two replacement gearboxes, the mine was able to avoid any downtime and continue production.

This example of SEW’s efficiency still impresses Wagner to this day, as he relays the details of the project and comments: “That was amazing actually, how we were able to turn that around.”

“We are fast because of the stock we have,” explains Ian Tribe, national product manager, SEW Industrial Gears. For SEW it’s not just about the volume of stock, it’s also about the type and design of the stock.

“We use a modular system for our parts, certain components are interchangeable in sizes, so by using the German-designed modular system, you have so many more possibilities for different dimensions for parts. We are more likely to have what the customer wants and we can adapt our stock to fit their needs,” explains Wagner.

The industry leading capabilities at the SEW Melbourne premises ensure that customers are supplied with the highest quality product in the most efficient time. With assembly bar cranes boasting a total lifting capacity of 50 tonnes and four assembly machines, SEW get the job done.

A further advantage is the in-house testing facilities. The intricate industrial gears division ensures that the parts are thoroughly washed at every stage, emphasising the importance of a clean production.

Every gearbox SEW build goes through thorough testing before it reaches the customer. “We run every gearbox at normal speed for two hours and we can automatically record temperature in up to 12 locations” says Tribe.

The testing facilities involve a completely digitised process, minimising room for error as well as reducing paper work. An additional benefit to digitising the testing is that SEW can take a digital recording of the behaviour of the gearbox, by having this data the team at SEW are able to recognise if there is a problem with the product. These results can also be compared with other similar gearbox specifications, in Australia as well as at the SEW HQ in Germany.

SEW ensure that each gearbox is tested in the same conditions it will be used in, there is the capability to run the gearbox at different angles, speeds and temperatures.

After the testing is complete, the gearbox is ready for painting. Another unique and innovative feature at SEW is the painting process. In Australia’s varied and often extreme climate, it’s important to be able to control the climate. At SEW the painting booths are entirely climate-controlled — temperature and humidity is controlled for optimum drying conditions.

The quality and speed of the paint job is another aspect in SEW’s ability to offer such a quick turnaround. The painting space at SEW is much more efficient than spraying in ambient conditions. In addition, SEW have an automatic mixing and dispensing system that keeps paint and hardener separated under a nitrogen blanket and mixes them on application to ensure optimum conditions for each paint job, allowing for a higher quality product that does not age as quickly as other.

Running such an efficient and carefully considered operation allows SEW to give customers great value and fast service. Customers are amazed to find out that a drop-in like-for-like custom made replacement gearbox is often cheaper than a repair solution. And almost always results in a cost-saving in the first year of installation.

To find out more about SEW’s industrial gears division, visit:

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