Liebherr takes training focus to another level

National technical training manager James Ward led development of the R 9150 simulator.

The original equipment manufacturer has launched a training program in Australia that is improving the expertise of its technicians and the efficiency of its aftersales service.

As mining equipment evolves and becomes more advanced, so do the training programs designed to support the maintenance of the machines.

Liebherr-Australia is keeping its aftersales service staff and mining customers on top of the advances in the manufacturer’s machinery through a new training program based in Adelaide.

Launched in April, the program has initially focussed on providing up-to-date training for Liebherr-Australia’s service technicians who are based at its regional branches around the country.

The company is on the verge of expanding the program by offering it to the mining companies that own Liebherr equipment, bolstering their aftersales commitment to these Australian clients.

Liebherr-Australia national technical training manager James Ward says the development of the program has been guided by direct feedback on the skills its technicians and customers need for current machines.

“We spoke to our people about what they would like to get out of the training,” Ward tells Australian Mining. “The big buzz right now is around machine electrics because that’s where the industry is going.

“We have therefore built simulators predominantly around the electrical side of the machines and then developed the training around our equipment.”

The program has also been designed to deliver training to Liebherr-Australia’s service technicians in a more efficient way.

Importantly, it has helped Liebherr-Australia overcome the geographical reach of the company’s service branches and the remoteness of where its equipment operates in Australia.

In the past, the company’s accredited service trainers were required to travel to each branch around the country to personally deliver training to service staff.

The OEM has now been able to unite its service technicians from the Perth (Western Australia), Mt Thorley (New South Wales) and Mackay (Queensland) branches at the Adelaide training base with the new program.

Liebherr-Australia executive general manager customer service, mining, Tony Johnstone says the training facility is recognised as one of three factory-accredited training centres delivering technical expertise to company’s staff and its affiliates in the Oceania region.

“The facility is another layer in our training and support offering in Australia that recognises our commitment to the mining industry,” Johnstone says.

The South Australian facility hosts Liebherr-Australia’s training simulators, including a new system based on the R 9150 excavator that has been developed in house by the company.

With up to four people from each branch at a session, Liebherr-Australia develops the skills of its technicians up to a level four standard through web and simulator-based training.

The training program’s content is based on material created for each machine by Liebherr’s manufacturing facilities in Europe and the United States which is then tailored to the Australian market and conditions.

Ward, who has led development of the R 9150 simulator, says the training program has given Liebherr-Australia’s staff focussed training on the skills they will require when they return to the field.

“I asked what they wanted to see from the simulator as they are the people that will learn from it – we needed the information from the key audience,” Ward says.

“We then basically developed the complete electrification system from an R 9150 excavator on to a board – that technology is also relevant to the R 9100, R 9200, PR 776 dozer and to a degree the R 9800 excavator.”

Liebherr-Australia has a separate system for the technology used on the company’s remaining excavators, as well as the Litronic version for its haul trucks.

Ward has noticed positive growth from Liebherr-Australia’s service technicians who have taken part in the training since the launch of the program.

He says it has brought them closer together as a team and improved communication between the company’s branches.

“The training is already building stronger camaraderie,” Ward says. “The team has a better understanding of what we are doing across the country and we can really share our skills between branches.

“We have seen this on the diagnostics side too, from what the guys share at the training sessions. They bring their own unique information and that opens up the dialogue with each other.”

Following the success of the training program internally, Liebherr-Australia plans to deliver the same benefits to its mining clients as they become part of the program.

Ward says inviting the companies Liebherr-Australia works with to Adelaide will not only build their service department’s understanding of the equipment, but will also help limit disruption at their operations for training.

“If a mining company has several R 996B excavators for example, they can bring people from multiple sites around Australia here at the same location, instead of having just one site receive the training,” Ward says.

“The program shows we are serious about providing quality training to customers and reducing their downtime. The key way for us to sell the next machine is by supporting the first one we sold.”

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

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