Hytec Services Africa (HSA) has launched its containerised hose workshops to provide a comprehensive onsite hose and fittings service to its mining customers across Africa. Set up in refurbished and branded shipping containers varying in size from 20 to 40 feet, the workshops not only provide hose and fittings services, but also enable Hytec to supply its entire range of hydraulic services on a mine site – effectively functioning as an onsite mobile branch.
This new mine site services concept is unique to Hytec through the Bosch Rexroth expansion drive into Africa. This gives Hytec a distinct advantage over other companies, which generally only offer hose and fitting services. In order to provide an onsite end-to-end hydraulic offering, the workshop services include Hytec’s hydraulic cylinder service exchange programme as well as supplying new, or providing services for, pumps, filtration systems, drives, valves, piston motors and hydraulic maintenance tools. Additionally, as a value-added benefit, Hytec is able to control and stock other hydraulic components on request.
The Hytec hose workshop effectively functions as an onsite mobile branch. The containers can be set up in any configuration.
Depending on the requirements of the mine and the urgency in providing services, Hytec can provide a start-up workshop with stock in very short turnaround times to ensure that hose replacement services begin the moment the workshop and stock arrives on the mine site. All workshops come standard with double side doors, 220 and 380 volt plugs with the plug design matching the destination country requirements; all electrics; strip lighting; air conditioner; extractor fans; and shelving to accommodate approximately 800 small stock bins and start-up hose stock. Start-up workshops are manufactured and readily available fully fitted in Johannesburg to ensure speedy mobilisation and delivery times.
"The workshop configuration depends on the mine’s requirements," explains Charlie Harrison, Africa Mining Services and Operations Manager, HSA. “Mines that require services beyond hydraulic hose and fittings may need additional containers to accommodate filter, pump or cylinder stock. It may also be appropriate to add an office using a 20 foot container. Each container, and the configuration in setting up two or more containers, are custom-designed to each mine’s requirements.”
He points out that if a Hytec container workshop is based in a country without an established Hytec branch infrastructure, the container itself becomes the Hytec country base. “We ensure that the workshop configuration is sufficiently flexible to accommodate all hydraulic components and services to the mines requirements,” he says. “If, for instance, the mine is in a remote and inaccessible area, the containers and their configuration need to allow for supplementary stockholdings due to extended and difficult supply routes.”
Start-up hose fittings and adaptors as well as start-up hose stock; crimping and cut-off machines; manual engraver; work bench with vice and stool; hose rack; hose cleaning projectile kit and projectile stock; electric hand grinder and a 2.0 x 6.0 m bolt-on side canopy form the bulk of the container’s standard contents.
“The bolt-on canopy is used to accommodate the hose cut-off machine, which is normally situated outside the container in order to adhere to most mines' health and safety regulations,” explains Petrus Viljoen, Africa Development Manager, HSA. Additional standard contents include a tool cabinet and workshop tools, storage bins and shelving, measuring instruments, display board and white board with markers. Office furniture with amenities like a bar fridge are included, as is all signage and a standard fire extinguisher.
Inside a typical containerised workshop including the hose crimper, work bench and storage cabinets.
As the container workshops are pre-manufactured and setup in Johannesburg, Hytec will keep at least one in stock at its Gauteng facility in Johannesburg’s East Rand. “Generally speaking,” says Charlie, “in Africa a typical mobilisation period is approximately three months. By retaining fully equipped mobile workshops at our Johannesburg facility we can easily deliver within that period – more often than not a lot more quickly.”
One workshop will remain at Hytec as a demonstration model for potential customers to view and experience, and another located in the DRC will be used for the same purpose. The latter was the original prototype, which is a fully functional hose and fittings workshop and office that was developed for a Hytec distributor in the DRC. It is ready for mobilisation and until the order is received, it functions as a demonstration unit for potential customers in that country. Later this year another fully functioning workshop will be set up at the new Takoradi Ghana main base for West Africa.
“The benefits of our containerised workshops are almost quid pro quo for clients and Hytec alike,” Petrus says. “Being permanently onsite our personnel is, for all intents and purposes, part of the customer’s operation making us first port of call for hydraulic services and equipment. For the customer, they have our hydraulic service offering on their doorstep for immediate turnaround and delivery, and we separate our product pricing and our service fees so there are no hidden costs for customers.”
Petrus reiterates the fact that the Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group of Companies and its customers will benefit substantially from buy-in from all Group Companies. “The containerised workshop promotes the expansion of the Hytec Group into Africa. With all Group Companies promoting this concept to their mine customers, their use has the potential to grow astronomically. This is helping Hytec build a footprint in African countries where we have yet to establish a major presence in, while simultaneously enabling the Group to provide our hydraulic products to mines in those countries.
Under normal circumstances a contract for this type of service and product offering is between two and three years, and this is where the advantage of having a ‘mobile’ workshop becomes apparent. “If a contract is not renewed, for whatever reason,” Charlie explains, “it is relatively easy to pack up and pick-up the container for relocation to another mine site, which can be done fairly quickly.”
Due to the simplistic nature of relocating the ‘onsite mobile branch’, Charlie and Petrus share the view that, in some instances, a contract may not be necessary. “We will provide the mine with any of their requirements within this specific service offering,” Petrus concludes. “When our services are no longer needed, it would be the same as when a contract had drawn to conclusion. Essentially, it is a win-win for both parties.”
Hytec has already submitted a containerised workshop tender to a mining house in the DRC, with tenders for the same underway with mining houses in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Ghana. “Through the Bosch Rexroth Africa expansion initiative, full Hytec branch operations have been opened in East Africa Kenya, West Africa Ghana and we are working with Bosch Rexroth Morocco, which also covers Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. This new mine site services concept will be developed in conjunction with all the Hytec operations in Africa,” concludes Charlie.