Mining

Two mining operations are ready for the long haul with MTU ValueCare

Posted on 28 November 2016

In a business where a single truck can cost millions of dollars, every detail counts. From high-priced engine repowers to more routine expenses like engine oil, coolant and filter changes, mine operators continuously scrutinize every operating cost.

We know from experience that on the larger, high horsepower engines like the Series 4000, using only factory consumables makes a real difference in engine performance.

Richard McClelland - Western Branch
Ted Maslowski is the manager of the machine shop and maintenance department at Steuben Coal-Anthony Mining’s surface mine, where a fleet of 22 Terex 3309 trucks haul about 100,000 tons of coal and at least that much weight in rock overburden every year. Located in Wintersville, Ohio, Steuben’s been a customer of MTU distributor Western Branch Diesel, Inc. for 35 years. Maslowski says the primary reason that the partnership works is easy to understand: “When we need them, they come right now,” he says emphatically.
“Our fleet is older but we maintain it well and Western Branch is a big part of that effort. Our own mechanics take care of most engine maintenance and repair work, but we count on Western Branch for warranty work and more complicated projects, including the recent repowering of five trucks with remanufactured Series 60 engines,” Maslowski continues. “My philosophy about parts and service is that it doesn’t take any longer for our techs to install a genuine MTU part than it does an aftermarket part, but with the genuine part, there are no questions about quality or fit. We know our engines’ performance will be best when we stick with genuine ValueSpares parts and filters and ValueExchange remanufactured parts and engines.”
ValueSpares and ValueExchange parts are available worldwide through MTU’s global logistics network and authorized MTU distributors stock comprehensive inventories reflective of their local market and customer base. Richard McClelland of Western Branch says they support Steuben with a large inventory of MTU parts, including three to five remanufactured Series 60 mining engines on the shelf at all times. “We can’t stock everything, but we do our best to ensure our customers’ equipment is never down for long,” he explains. “We have a lot of mining customers using everything from classic Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle engines to the latest version of the MTU Series 4000 and we stock genuine new parts, remanufactured parts and consumable products for all of them.”
For maximum uptime, McClelland strongly recommends that his mining customers use only genuine MTU consumable products like filters, oils and coolants. “We know from experience that on the larger, high horsepower engines like the Series 4000, using only factory consumables makes a real difference in engine performance,” he says.

We want our customers to know that as far as MTU is concerned, the engine sale is only the beginning of our business relationship.

Adam Wood - director of service business, MTU America

The value of exceptional service


Maslowski says he’s come to expect service above and beyond the call of duty from Western Branch, but McClellan and his team really outdid themselves recently when they literally brought three haul trucks “back from the dead,” as he puts it.
“We had a bunch of obsoleted gear basically rusting in a field near our shop, including some old Terex haul trucks,” Maslowski recalls. “Rich and I took a look at them and decided, based on how well the trucks we repowered with Series 60 engines were performing, that it might be worth dragging those old trucks out of the weeds and repowering them, too.”
Maslowski reports that the trucks are now part of Steuben’s fleet again, and attributes that fact to Western Branch’s service department and the quality of the remanufactured engines. “Every truck we’ve repowered saved us enough in fuel cost—about 35 percent over the engines they replaced—to pay for the cost of repowering within the first 14 to 15 months after the repowers.”
Steuben Coal’s continuing transition from haul trucks powered by older Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle engines to the more modern and powerful MTU Series 60 represents a big step up for the mine, McClellan says, and to assure the customer’s comfort level with the newer technology, Western Branch sells every remanufactured engine with a five-year extended warranty backed by a team of service technicians who have received extensive training at MTU’s fully-equipped Training Center in Canton, Michigan, where skilled trainers eagerly share their expertise about the best practices in maintenance and repair on every engine sold and supported by MTU. “Our service team has had more training than you can shake a stick at,” McClellan says with a laugh, “and are experts in the full range of MTU engines.”

Genuine MTU—the first choice


Across the country in Sahuarita, Arizona, Steve Thompson works as maintenance manager at ASARCO’s (Grupo Mexico, Mexico City) Mission Mine, one of the largest copper mines in North America. The Mission Mine unearths about 140 million tons of raw copper every year. More than 600 workers extract the increasingly precious metal from the walls of the 20,000-acre complex. The mine is larger than Steuben’s coal operation and accordingly, so are the MTU-powered haul trucks. However, Thompson’s priorities remain the same—figuring out how to squeeze every hour of uptime from the colossal mine’s high-priced motorized equipment.
Jerry Martinez, customer support manager at the Tucson, Arizona branch of distributor W.W. Williams, says MTU ValueCare makes a real difference to customers like ASARCO, and the commitment that MTU has made to the industry is working in the field. “In the mining business the most important factor is equipment availability and reliability,” Martinez says. “The mining customer forecasts moving certain amounts of tonnage per day and cannot make his forecast if his equipment is not reliable and available.”
According to Martinez, that’s where MTU ValueCare parts and service products come in. “The MTU distributors that represent MTU in the customer arena all work under this banner; we are all trained by MTU in the technical skills we need to work on MTU engines. Also we are required to have all necessary tooling and parts inventories to repair and overhaul all MTU series engines.”
Martinez says that this has made a big impression on his customers: so much so that when they ask for products and services to support their MTUpowered equipment, they always request genuine MTU. “Without the support package that MTU ValueCare brings to the table, nothing would be sold. Without it, our mining customers couldn’t move an ounce of their core product.” Mining operations rely on MTU ValueCare products and services to stay productive during long operating cycles and in extreme conditions. Power. Passion. Partnership. Adam Wood,

Hitting the target


That’s exactly what Martin Wendel, MTU’s vice president of service, wants to hear. He and his team have brought together a full portfolio of parts and service products targeted at specific markets that can benefit from an end-to-end approach to engine support. “That’s what MTU ValueCare is all about,” he says. “It is a comprehensive and focused approach to customer service.” In addition to spare parts, consumables, maintenance, repair and overhaul services, MTU ValueCare also includes maintenance and repair contracts, extended coverage, remote services and technical documentation.
There are three main reasons that MTU ValueCare is essential to mining operations. First, modern diesel engines are more powerful and sophisticated than ever. But mining’s long operating cycles, extreme climates, nonstop dust and extraordinarily heavy payloads can decrease the performance and shorten the life of even the best engine if it’s not properly maintained. Second, mine maintenance supervisors view using systems and suppliers that provide predictable operating costs as a “best practice” in their business, and consider it an essential part of their management strategy—a strategy that can optimize equipment performance over its lifecycle.
And third, according to Adam Wood, director of service business at MTU America, the fact that mines don’t move means that mine operators need to count on reliable performance day-in, day-out, without the need to relocate their machinery for preventive maintenance and repairs. “As world-class mining operations continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with MTU powered machinery, the team behind this comprehensive service and parts program is right there with them—and often a step or two ahead,” says Wood. “We want our customers to know that as far as MTU is concerned, the engine sale is only the beginning of our business relationship.”