When the productive uptime of capital equipment is compromised by HVAC failure, a primary casualty is the machine’s total cost of ownership (TCO) – making regular servicing a vital investment. With strict health and safety regulations, even faulty air conditioners can bring work to a standstill, points out Booyco Engineering managing director Brenton Spies. The answer, says Spies, is regular and quality maintenance planned in advance and conducted by skills technicians.
“On mining or earthmoving sites – where temperatures can be extreme and dust is an ever-present factor – it is regulated that an operator’s cab must be comfortable,” he explains. “This means that when an HVAC system goes down, there is a real possibility that conditions become unconducive to safe work. The operator can stop work, and this can seriously affect productivity.”
To avoid such circumstances, Booyco Engineering not only supplies custom-engineered HVAC solutions for these trucks, but can also maintain and service them regularly. The company offers a maintenance agreement – also known as a ‘man on site’ – which dedicates the necessary skills and experience to the customer’s equipment.
“With our ‘man on site’ service, we can also offer customers an extended warranty on our equipment, as we feel confident that it is receiving the necessary attention,” he says. “We know from our own experience that Booyco Engineering’s HVAC units can last 20 years or more when they are well looked after.”
He notes that a five year warranty on any equipment used in the mining sector is generally unheard of; however, the company has been known to offer such warranties for HVAC equipment in mining vehicles if there is a Booyco Engineering maintenance programme in place. When the company designs its products, it develops the optimal schedules for replacement of certain components, according to Grant Miller, executive director at Booyco Engineering. These schedules also set out the intervals for service interventions.
“This is specifically designed for the customer to achieve the lowest TCO from these units, but the designated work does need to be conducted timeously – and by a specialised technician,” says Miller. “We can therefore put the required skills and equipment on site, depending on the customer’s fleet size.”
Building on its depth of technical expertise, Booyco Engineering has introduced a learnership scheme for field technicians to support its pipeline of skills. Taking young technicians after their college courses, they are given 12 months of intensive theoretical and on-site training in the company’s HVAC range.
“This kind of initiative gives us the skills foundation from which to grow our technicians; we can therefore offer customers maintenance contracts on a range of HVAC installations,” he says. “Most mines have HVAC systems on trucks and vehicles, but some also need support on HVAC for rail locomotives.”
An important aspect of the company’s service is its compliance with the necessary health and safety requirements on mines – making it quicker and easier to get staff onto site and operational. With onerous compliance to achieve a ‘pit licence’, it often takes time to new entrants to be allowed to attend to a vehicle in the mining area. The interventions within a maintenance agreement are planned to fit in with the customer’s work programme so that there is as little disruption as possible. Booyco Engineering has recently rationalised its product offering so that HVAC units can be deployed over multiple vehicle types. This has allowed a streamlining of the stockholding strategy, so that lead times can be reduced.
“All in all, our maintenance contracts ensure that customers can achieve the lowest TCO on their high value mining trucks by planning and budgeting in advance for servicing HVAC units,” he says. “In this way, the TCO can be driven down by ensuring a longer operating life, while also avoiding costly downtime undermines the trucks’ ability to generate value.”