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Kevin Hole, sales director of Trelleborg Engineered Products in Australia, outlines the company’s background and mission to support mining operators to optimize productivity

Can you describe Trelleborg Mining and Mineral Solutions?

Trelleborg Mining is part of the Trelleborg Group, a large and diversified global leader that has been pioneering engineered polymer solutions and materials technology for more than a century. It operates in many industries such as Mining, Aerospace, Agriculture, Oil &Gas, Transportation, Automotive etc. The Group has around 120 manufacturing facilities, operates in over 50 countries and employees around 24,000 employees.

Trelleborg Mining utilises the groups depth of knowledge to provide innovative wear protection solutions for our mining customers assets.

Where are your main areas of focus?

Our unique competencies, application know-how and extensive polymer knowledge have made us the preferred partner with many mining customers across a wide variety of applications.

Our key focus areas are: Mill Lining Systems that deliver maximum efficiency & minimum energy consumption.  Mining Hoses & Spools for high abrasion applications such as slurry, Composite Ceramic Wear Liners, Rubber Wear Liners that withstand high levels of impact and abrasion, Sheet Rubber & Flexible Lining Systems protecting equipment from aggressive environments, Screening Systems for use in trommels and vibrating screens.

How do you provide this?

Mining companies ideally operate 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, only shutting their plants down for planned maintenance.  They typically operate on tight margins and are not making money if they are not producing. Consequently, they are constantly looking at ways to remove unplanned downtime due to breakdowns and to extend planned maintenance intervals.

Our products can be customised to suit specific applications and are designed to deliver longevity and reliability. This enables our mining customers to minimise their downtime and maximize productivity.  We take the time to understand our customers process and identify areas that can be improved. Then by utilising our knowledge of polymers and material science, we work closely with our customers to engineer the best value-versus-performance solution.

A simplistic example of this is, it does not make sense for a customer to be paying high prices for a product that has a life of 50 x weeks, if their maintenance/changeout interval for that product occurs every 30 x weeks. In this scenario, Trelleborg Mining would work closely with them to engineer a more efficient product that has a life of 35 x weeks, resulting in minimal wastage at the 30 x week maintenance/changeout interval. The alternative is, we may engineer a higher-end product with a life of 70 x weeks, enabling the customer to skip or extend their maintenance/changeout interval from 30 to 60 weeks. This enables the customer to make the best value-versus-performance decision, for their specific operations.

How important is R&D in what you do?

R&D is central to the entire Trelleborg Group and Trelleborg Mining is no different. We are constantly researching and testing different materials and designs to quantify how they perform in different applications (ie: abrasion resistance, impact resistance, chemical resistance). Our focus is always on identifying solutions that increase efficiency while reducing overall total ownership cost for our customers assets, so that we can deliver the best cost-versus-performance outcome.

Where do you see the industry going in the next five to 10 years?

For a long-time now the mining industry has been at the forefront of embracing new technology.  Companies will continue to integrate technological innovations into their practices such as digitization, automation, electrification and the use of advanced materials. The goal will continue to be finding innovative ways of efficiently extracting minerals while reducing environmental impacts and improving worker safety. Trelleborg Mining are proud to be playing our part in helping mining companies achieve this, by providing leading wear protection solutions and products that are focused on improving productivity an extending the service life of their critical assets.