Improving cost efficiency has become one of the most challenging aspects for any business in an intense and cut-throat competitive market. The impact of this effect cascades to original equipment manufacturers, subsystem, components and spare parts suppliers and the entire value chain. Holistically speaking, physicist-turned author Fritj of Capra says ¨all these are inter-dependent, inter-related, and inter-connected¨. Cost efficiency is achieved not only just through cleaner engines or optimising the man-machine interface trough a variety of machine control technologies, ´correcting´ the usage patterns or packaged solutions. Use of high quality components, hardware in original equipment and after market replacement spares, oils, fluids and lubricants also play a significant role to reduce total ownership or life cycle costs thereby serving the clients´ needs of achieving overall operational economy.
Implementing the best practices in equipment maintenance is an equally important and an effective measure to fight costs. High maintenance standards ensure maximum equipment uptime; optimise downtime, assists in eliminating consequential repair costs due to breakdowns and extending the economical life of the equipment. In fact ´repair before failure´ is now an industry benchmark.
Taking a step ahead, private mining companies like Tata Steels and Hindustan Zinc who deploy very large equipment fleets at a single site, have entrusted the entire maintenance responsibility to the respective OEMs (or their authorised dealerships) through long term and comprehensive MARC contracts. These are customer centric customised contracts comprising of pre defined performance parameters and clearly demarcated areas of responsibilities of either party. An authored article by Subir Kumar Datta of TIPL- authorised Caterpillar dealer highlighting the essence of MARC contract undertaken by the company from Tata Steel, West Bokaro in Bihar for their South End Block coal mines, is featured in the newly introduced ´Maintenance´ section.
Component manufacturers are keeping pace commensurate to the new concepts and developments in equipment systems. One witnesses a sea change in terms of metallurgy, use of alternate materials, integrated component designs, consistent quality and economic mass production methods. Replacement of old or damaged components or sub assemblies with new upgraded one is being made possible with or without replacement kits.
A special feature tracks the evolution of advanced lubricants by the oil majors like Exxon and Shell. Use of these latest synthetic lubricants being offered are loaded with special properties which also reduces fuel consumption of the equipment in addition to catering to all conventional and established lubrication requirements. A huge stride helping the end users to control costs and reduce pollution.