Think service and inspection for plant efficiency

FLSmidth plant inspections offer an objective look at a plant’s condition and can result in elegant solutions to challenges that the customer was perhaps not even aware of.

FLSmidth plant inspections offer an objective look at a plant’s condition and can result in elegant solutions to challenges that the customer was perhaps not even aware of.

For customers who want to improve plant efficiency, inspections can be an important part of plant maintenance programme. The FLSmidth Customer Services organisation aims to help optimise a plant’s performance, through open dialogue and partnership with customers.

Phola is a big plant and we suffer if we have failures. FLSmidth are always available to solve issues.
— Pieter Van Heerden General Manager, Phola Coal Processing Plant FLSmidth

The FLSmidth Customer Services organisation includes the service and engineering departments and offers expert support, maintenance and service, ensuring the smooth operation of plants around the world.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, the service office takes care of more than 60 plants. They provide troubleshooting, new technology, enhanced services, upgrades and parts, as well as inspections, which are a significant benefit for customers.

One example of the Customer Services organisation at work is their partnership with Phola Coal Processing plant, built in 2008 to handle 16 million tpy of coal. FLSmidth installed four stackers and three bucket wheel reclaimers here and is actively involved in maintenance, overseeing technicians and demonstrating how to perform repairs. Customer Services engineers carry out extensive services and inspections – with the first inspection leading to others.

User-friendly, relevant data
To maintain optimal plant performance and minimise downtime, it is helpful for customers to know the current condition of their plant so that appropriate repairs, maintenance or upgrades can be carried out in a timely manner. An effective inspection and proper evaluation of the inspection data can contribute to the smooth running of a plant.

FLSmidth plant inspections offer an objective look at a plant’s condition and can result in elegant solutions to challenges that the customer was perhaps not even aware of. Often repairs can be carried out during the inspection, as service engineers carry the tools for the job with them.

Buks Roodt, director of Customer Services, South Africa, explains: “High quality inspections are a key value that we bring to our customers. Service engineers create an inspection report that is checked by engineering and management. The inspection is actually years and years of experience put together in a document that is user-friendly and relevant to the client.” 

One Source relationship
It is a fact that problems do sometimes occur and there can be unexpected equipment failures, so it is important to have expert help at hand – preferably before any issues cause more equipment damage or affect production.

Customers know that FLSmidth is actively available to help them. The goal of the Customer Services organisation is to ensure plant success. As Buks Roodt describes, “We encourage an on-going dialogue with our customers and, most importantly, we take the appropriate action to help them. We actively suggest design improvements and listen carefully to customers’ problems so that we can resolve them, and we stay until the job is done.”

Nico Robinson, technical sales manager responsible for Phola Coal continues: “You have to know the customer really well – I am their “One Source” relationship. Around 80% of our customers do not have the time to spend on the detail of how the machines operate due to production pressures, but we understand their needs and can solve problems that arise.”

Plant inspections include:

  • Mechanical
  • Structural
  • Electrical
  • Instrumentation
  • Hydraulic
  • NDT
  • Possible upgrades

Hands-on service from FLSmidth
Dedicated FLSmidth service engineers manage maintenance professionally and expertly because they know the machines and their customers really well. They also have a wealth of knowledge that they do not just keep to themselves; they are always willing to share their expertise.

Kobus Dippenaar, technical coordinator for FLSmidth at the Phola plant explains how he brings value to the customer: “Customers can call me directly anytime to get answers and support. I visit the plant regularly and am considered part of the team.”

Pieter Van Heerden, general manager at Phola Coal Processing Plant explains how FLSmidth has been available when they have experienced problems: “Just a week ago, Phola had a bearing failure on the stacker. The first thing we did was to call Kobus (Dippenaar) directly and immediately he brought a team together to solve the problem.”

FLSmidth Customer Services always offer complete turnkey  solutions, quickly finding the root of the problem and fixing it – supplying all the necessary cranes, parts, equipment and tools until the issue is solved.

Maintaining old equipment
Particular value for customers also comes from servicing and maintaining old equipment (sometimes more than 40 years old). The equipment drawings and the tools to maintain older equipment are often long gone but FLSmidth technicians are able to measure everything and the engineering department can make new drawings and find the right tools for the job.

Future plans
In today’s competitive environment, plant operators need to reduce maintenance costs by minimising downtime. Effective inspections can significantly contribute towards this. The FLSmidth Customer Service team is ready to help customers make plant inspections an integral part of their plant service. Coupled with training, it completes the One Source concept.

In South Africa, the FLSmidth service office continues to grow alongside FLSmidth’s increased presence in Africa. There are many opportunities and additional satellite offices are planned, the next one is planned in Zambia. The offices will be customer driven and tailor-made according to the technical skills required – helping to ensure customers continue to get optimal performance from their equipment and plants.

CONTACT: Buks Roodt