KSB’s REGEN Service Centers Keep Mining Operations Going
In mining, equipment just wears out — it’s a fact of life. Knowing that, mining companies need to have immediate access to reliable, high-quality replacement parts so that maintenance can be planned and downtime kept to a minimum. KSB’s GIW® Minerals REGEN service centers meet this need by ensuring that our customers have access to the parts they need so that they can keep production levels high.
The REGEN service centers provide rebuild and remanufacture programs that supply the turnkey, highly available parts that mines require for their pump systems. The REGEN facilities have two primary functions: Provide customer-specific rebuild services, and provide refurbished products from trade-ins to customers at a reduced price. To increase capacity and provide more in-depth support to its customers, KSB has been upgrading its REGEN service centers in Thomson, Georgia, USA, and Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
Thomson REGEN service center
The Thomson REGEN service center is available 24/7, which allows for very fast turnaround — in some cases, by the next day. Another factor that allows the Thomson service center to respond quickly to customers’ requests is that the facility often has the remanufactured assemblies in stock. As Dee Bentley, the Thomson REGEN Service Center Manager, explains: “In breakdown situations, we’re able to ship before they even get the assembly torn down. More times than not, [the assembly is] sitting onsite, and that reduces downtime for the plant.”
The expansion of the Thomson REGEN service center includes a number of improvements: KSB is building a clean room for bearing assembly, increasing the number of assembly tables to increase the number of concurrent builds, adding a new overhead crane to increase lifting capacity as customers upgrade to larger pump products, and upgrading the outside appearance of the Thomson REGEN facility.
Fort McMurrray REGEN service center
The Fort McMurray facility supports the growing oil sands industry in Alberta. GIW Minerals’ pump products are used extensively by oil sands companies and are integral to both the front end of the production process — transporting oil sands in slurry to the processing plant — and the back end — transporting the sand and water after the oil has been extracted.
Any downtime is expensive — oil sands producers may be pumping 10,000 tons of slurry per hour (which translates to around 5,000 barrels of oil). “They’re pumping money down that pipeline,” says Brad Johnson, General Manager, Oil Sands, at KSB’s Fort McMurray facility. “That’s why it’s important that when they’re down, they’re not down for very long. They need somebody close by with the right parts and the right technical knowledge to help keep them running.”
The oil sands collection and extraction processes are hard on pump equipment and pipelines, explains Johnson. Equipment wears out due to the constant abrasion of silica sand on the pump parts. The Fort McMurray REGEN facility identifies how pumps wear out and anticipates what parts its customers will need and when.
“As the oil sands industry expands, KSB needs to maintain a larger amount of inventory to support its customers,” says Johnson. To meet this need, KSB has been gradually expanding the Fort McMurray REGEN facility over the last 13 years. The original facility at Fort McMurray was about 9,000 square feet and was mostly warehouse. KSB has added 20,000 square feet of warehouse space; offices and shop areas have been expanded throughout the original 9,000 square foot space.
As oil sands processors are expanding their production, they are using larger systems and more of them. Some of the parts that KSB provides are 84-inch-diameter impellers and 30,000-pound pump casings. Large parts require a lot of space for storage. Customers don’t want to maintain warehouse space, so KSB works with customers to provide storage for their replacement parts.
Whether for routine maintenance or emergency repair, mining customers depend on prompt availability of the highest-quality parts for pump systems. A solid relationship with their parts supplier gives mining companies the power to stay productive. Through expansion of its REGEN service centers, KSB is providing the level of service and fast turnaround that its mining customers require to meet their production goals.