Having an in-house Projects Department to focus on the specific requirements of project houses, OEMs, and other tender-related project activity is starting to bear fruit for drive and automation specialist SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa, which has clinched a major order for five M-Series industrial gear units for a mining operation in West Africa.
The Projects Department, headed up by Andreas Meid, with Pat Marquez as Project Sales Coordinator and Brett Weinmann in charge of Project Sales Development, oversaw this entire project from receipt of the initial order to successful installation and commissioning at the mine, in addition to any back-up service and technical assistance required.
It is this capability to offer complete solutions packages, as opposed to standalone products, in addition to the necessary aftermarket support, that has resulted in SEW’s Projects Department showing consistent growth year-on-year. “We pride ourselves on our on-time delivery in particular, which is a clear differentiator for us in a highly competitive market,” Meid comments. “We are committed to supplying high-quality products, in addition to the continuous improvement of our customer service offering.”
The Projects Department also has a drawing office, and a mechanical engineer to compile any calculations that are needed. Its core function is to respond to queries from either project houses or OEMs for specific project work. It focuses mainly on Greenfield projects related to conveyors, agitators, and mixers in mineral-processing applications.
“Based on the enquiries received, we work in conjunction with the specific project house or OEM to offer a complete solution for their mining clients. In other words, our products essentially allow them to complete their portion of the work in hand,” Meid explains. Such collaboration between suppliers and related companies is a growing trend in response to a tough business environment, and clients’ need to reduce costs by installing the latest technology.
The Projects Department liaises closely with its clients so that they can best meet their own technical requirements and time constraints. “Our project management in this regard is critical, from the time that the order enters our system, to the point where the product is finally delivered,” Marquez elaborates. Once this stage is reached, other departments such as Field Service also become involved.
“We specialise in integrated solutions. A lot of clients tend to regard SEW solely as a gear unit supplier, but we offer a host of ancillary services that can add significant value, reduce risk and downtime, and improve efficiency.” It is for this reason that the Projects Department remains in a growth phase, with the bulk of SEW’s project work being secured in the rest of Africa at present. In this regard, it also works closely with the Exports Department, headed up by Marcio Sicchiero, to realise additional opportunities on the continent.
In terms of main products, the M-Series industrial gear units (with the ‘M’ indicating ‘modular’) are ideal to meet the highest demands for quality, reliability, and performance. The product range has been optimised for a range of drive characteristics, allowing for simple machine design by easily adding options and mounting parts.
A long service life is guaranteed due to highly efficient lubrication and sealing, which also cuts down on maintenance requirements. Easy mounting and installation are facilitated by advanced features such as EBD (Extended Bearing Distance) and an axial thrust bearing arrangement on the output shaft.
Looking to the future, Meid concludes that SEW is well on its way to being perceived as a sole solutions provider for its clients. “This gives us the added possibility of integrating some of our latest electronics products as well in future. While our mechanical product remains remain our core focus, particularly given the harsh operating environment in Africa, combined with the lack of technical skills, SEW has always been sufficiently forward thinking to make sure our clients have access to the latest technology and developments.”