Service what you sell is almost mandatory for most of today’s equipment manufacturers and that’s especially true for the companies that actually make the machines and attachments designed for the mining industry.
From the smallest of drills and hand-held tools to the monster trucks, shovels and other movers and crushers of heavy ore, the products used in today’s mines and quarries place a heavy demand for performance on equipment manufacturers.
In fact, never before has productivity and equipment reliability had such an impact on the bottom line.
One company that knows the importance of machines performing when expected is Atlas Copco, manufacturers of rock drills and bits, plus a full range of compressors, generators and pumps designed for everything from hand tools to massive units capable of powering mining camps or even small towns.
Since it was founded more than 142 years ago, the company has grown from a small garage in Stockholm, Sweden, to now an internationally known operation with more than 40,000 employees in 186 countries.
Being close to their global customers is what sets Atlas Copco apart from the rest and as Kelly Johnson, Service Supervisor and Coordinator, Mississauga, Ontario says: “Servicing what we sell, and with a smile, makes our customers feel comfortable in knowing that most of their problems will be solved with a simple phone call.”
With service centres scattered across Canada, the company is continually expanding its visibility in communities where mining and aggregate production are key to the local economy.
And one of the company’s more recent expansions went beyond its conventional mining and aggregate customers to include supporting the rental market where Atlas Copco also supplies a full line of air compressors and generators and its own technicians to provide critical, responsive support through a mobile fleet of fully equipped service vehicles.
From relatively easy coupling changes and refurbishments, to larger clutch replacements and entire engine replacements, the company’s service vehicles are outfitted with cranes and hoists designed to provide on-site repairs without the need of taking the piece of equipment from the work site.
Johnson says that Atlas Copco’s Barrie, Ontario location is a perfect example of both the shop and mobile services the company provides to the rental market.
From its 100,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Highway 400, technicians can easily be dispatched to the major rental and mining customers in Southern Ontario to either service the rental equipment or bring it back to Barrie for more extensive repairs.
Johnson says as Atlas Copco has expanded its service offerings, it has kept the end goal in sight: be as close to as many customers as possible to provide service to all within a day’s drive.
As mentioned earlier, the fleet of service trucks and technicians can handle most site repairs but equally equipped is the shop where technicians work in a spotless environment equipped with individual workstations specifically designed with parts and special tools for the rental equipment.
Again, Kelly Johnson says, it’s the skill of the technicians at Atlas Copco that separates its service centres from other, run-of-the-mill outlets that offer little more than routine service and maintenance.
Every technician at the Barrie location goes through approximately 80 hours of training per year and are supported by factory-trained Atlas Copco engineers to help should they run into particularly challenging or unfamiliar projects.
“Major repairs often required specialized knowledge to complete and our Barrie location is staffed with technicians capable of repairing or refurbishing machines and return them to the customer with the least amount of delay as possible,” says Johnson.
He adds: “When repair isn’t enough, our service centre can often refurbish equipment, such as compressors, generators, hydraulic attachments and road equipment, to extend their life and reduce total cost of ownership. In fact, when it’s possible, refurbishment costs much less than buying a new piece of equipment and the end result is a machine that looks nearly new, operates optimally, and is extremely reliable.
“For example, when a piece of equipment is in the refurbishment “sweet spot” (between four and six years old) it will have depreciated down to 20 per cent of its original value. A refurbishment can bring that equipment’s value back to 80 per cent of its original price. That means the owner gets more value and utilization out of their old equipment.”
And what every equipment owner wants to hear: “We back-up the refurbished equipment with three- to five-year warranties that are comparable to what the company offers on new equipments,” says Johnson.