A recent industry report advised mining companies that they should be focusing on improving productivity rather than just digging up bigger volumes of
minerals. Is there really a belief that our industry behaves as though we are in a “volume frenzy”? ABS data* indicates that the output of minerals per
hour worked in the sector fell by 56 per cent between 2001-2 and 20011-12 while use of capital assets became 44 per cent less productive.
Neil Kinder, CEO of Kinder & Co
, a leading supplier to the bulk materials handling and conveyor industry, says,
“We have seen many customers in our specialist industry pursuing increased productivity goals for sometime. It’s not a new management directive that has
come about overnight. I don’t think there is any industry in Australia who hasn’t shared in the challenge of balancing rising costs and weaker prices as a
result of our strong Australian dollar.
But the biggest impact on the achievement of increasing productivity goals is the acceptance of polyurethane and composites as a replacement material to
the more obvious choice of traditional steel or rubber in the bulk materials handling processes. Today’s engineers have been educated on the superior
composite properties of polyurethane, and how crosslinking these polymer thermosets stabilises the matrix of the material.”
Neil continues, “The end result is this new breed of engineered polyurethane. It is a material which has a much lower density than steel and makes it ideal
for use in lightweight structures, and areas that experience high levels of wear and abrasion.
With fewer interruptions due to maintenance, overall productivity targets are not affected as much as they would have been if staff had to manoeuvre the
heavier steel materials for routine change-out maintenance – that makes a big difference to improving operational efficiencies.
This observed trend can be backed by our own statistics. Our internal purchasing reports tell us a very positive message: for the last 3 financial years
2009 through to 2012, there has been an average growth in spending on Kinder & Co polyurethane products by 215%.”