As mining companies look to get the most out of their equipment, Inenco Industrial Solutions is leading the way in innovation through its engineering arm. Australian Mining writes.
Mining sites are a colossal place, with machinery and equipment that are capable of churning through thousands of tonnes of material effortlessly.
What is often blind to the naked eye, however, is the individual parts of machinery that keep them running smoothly – bearings, chains, pulleys, sealings and the like.
In line with a mining company strategy to maximise productivity, Inenco Group has ramped up its focus on the ingenuity of key parts that play a crucial role in getting the most out of their equipment.
Over 60 year ago, the seeds of Inenco were planted through a father-son partnership involving JJ Martin-Weber and RJ Martin, who formed Consolidated Bearing Company (CBC) and has grown exponentially since.
A span of strategic acquisitions, which ramped up in the early 2000s, has led to Inenco now employing around 1300 people across more than 20 countries.
While mining companies continue to adjust to the increasing reliance on data analytics and complex technology, Inenco Group Engineering has developed into a discrete business unit that comprises of an elite group of engineers.
Inenco Group Engineering is, perhaps, the engine room of the organisation, working across the trading brands that encompass Inenco. Demand for the engineers is booming, according to engineering manager Ryan Kendrigan.
“The engineering team was established in the early 2000s and has really grown out since then, it’s been almost 15 years of accelerated growth,” he says.
The team is comprised of mechanical engineers who have reliability and condition monitoring strings on their bow, not to mention being specialised in the data analytics space – an area of increasing relevance in mining.
“Being able to analyse and crunch data and the nuances involved is specialised,” Kendrigan says.
“It is something that requires ongoing training and development to hone skills and constantly develop.”
While the team has “grown organically inside the company”, an increased demand from external companies to outsource engineering expertise to Inenco Group Engineering has led to significant growth.
“Customers are looking for improved reliability and to update equipment, it’s a big thing now,” Kendrigan says.
“A lot of sites have budgetary constraints and often want to outsource that area of technical expertise around components, so we’ve got an opportunity to add value to them.”
Many service companies offer condition-based assessment, but Kendrigan emphasises that his team’s point of difference is a unique focus on process improvement.
Broadly speaking, process improvement involves increasing the uptime of machinery, or the time that a machine is in operation, and the benefits are vast.
For mining companies, the ability for assets to operate at maximum capacity for a prolonged period equates to increased output, fewer maintenance costs and ultimately more profit.
Given these benefits, the opportunity for growth at Inenco Group Engineering almost seems boundless.
The diversification of having over 350,000 components parts allows Inenco Group to operate across the globe in numerous environments, according to Kendrigan.
“Having a diverse range of equipment gives us the capacity to draw on anything that’s best fit,” Kendrigan says.
“If you have access to everything, you can choose what is the best fit for each specific piece of equipment.”
While operations remain strong in Australia, the group is in the midst of a huge push into the South East Asian market.
“We are definitely expanding, there’s a heavy focus in expanding capacity and people,” he says.
As Inenco Group looks towards a new phase of its historic life, its engineering team continues to drive the company into the sphere of innovation.
This article also appears in the August edition of Australian Mining.