FLSmidth has introduced a locally manufactured and supported apron feeder under its Buffalo product line that effectively extends the focus of this equipment brand beyond the coal sector and into the hard rock arena.
“There’s a major demand for apron feeders in the African mining industry and establishing a manufacturing and aftersales support hub for this equipment in sub-Saharan Africa will greatly reduce lead times,” Johan Fourie, FLSmidth’s Buffalo operations director, says. “This line of equipment will be fully supported by field service teams, technical know-how and spares from our facility at Ferrobank, eMalahleni, with additional backup from the greater FLSmidth Group globally.”
The FLSmidth apron feeder offering includes horizontal and inclined units for extracting bulk materials from under a dump hopper or regulated feed to a crusher. Raw material is dumped directly into a reinforced feed hopper and extracted by the apron feeder ensuring a steady flow of material to the next stage of the process, typically a crushing plant. The rugged and reliable construction of these feeders makes them easy to operate and maintain, with minimum operator attention required. They are designed for uninterrupted service and only need to be stopped for the occasional replacement of wear parts. Worn aprons and chains are accessed from the take-up end of the feeder for easy replacement and sprocket wheels feature bolted-on tooth segments which can be interchanged or replaced. Impact rollers are lubricated by a central lubrication unit, while the chain rollers are lubricated manually with a grease gun.
The Buffalo product line is managed from Ferrobank, a facility that employs 180 dedicated personnel and includes an 8,000m2 manufacturing area with 100 tons of cranage capability and a large area for storage of spare parts. The Buffalo brand started out as McCarthy Mine Machinery, which had an original focus on the manufacture and supply of feeder breakers to South African coal mines in the 1970s. Buffalo was acquired by the FLSmidth Group in 1999, a world class supplier of feeding and crushing equipment for mining and general industry.
Constant product development and innovation has seen the equipment offered under this brand expanding steadily over the years. Today the line-up comprises underground flameproof feeders and feeder breakers, ROM stockpile reclaim feeders up to 2,500tph, ROM plant feeders, primary underground feeder sizers and roller screens.
“From this facility we’re able to offer our customers the full business cycle from sales to manufacturing, supervision of installation, engineering services, 24.7 standby technical services and readily available spares,” Fourie says. “This integrated service has been a key driver for a gratifying growth the FLSmidth Buffalo brand has experienced year-on-year for the past eight years. However, one of our main market differentiators is flexibility. We adapt our designs to suit specific customer applications and these customers are able to come and view the equipment they’ve ordered throughout the manufacturing process. We can often accommodate design changes while the machine is still on the factory floor.
“Having extremely long serving personnel in our sales team is also a big advantage, since we’ve been able to build excellent relationships with our local customers over the years. Where issues arise with their materials handling processes, we work alongside our customers’ own engineers to develop application-focused equipment from our basic designs. In addition, we’re committed to improving our products on a regular basis to ensure that we stay at the forefront of the technology and can offer customers equipment with increased efficiencies and longer life.
“Being part of a major global organisation has allowed the Buffalo brand to exploit technological synergies within the FLSmidth Group that have significantly boosted growth and enabled innovation. We see immense growth potential for the future and as an OEM we will continue to add new and necessary products to our line-up,” he concludes.
FLSmidth is a premium “one source” supplier that offers customers the benefits of total lifecycle support, adding value to their operations through focused OEM services.
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