Equipment & Technology

Altra Industrial Motion: More than meets the eye

ABHR sat down with Altra Industrial Motion’s national support team to clarify an industry misconception and learn more about the company’s growing service ambitions.

ABHR sat down with Altra Industrial Motion’s national support team to clarify an industry misconception and learn more about the company’s growing service ambitions.

Altra Industrial Motion’s position as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a strong one.

The company is a designer and OEM of 26 globally-recognised power transmission brands, including Svendborg Brakes, Twiflex, Marland Clutch, Wichita Clutch, Industrial Clutch, and Stieber.

However, as Altra Motion Australia expands, the company has experienced industry misconceptions about being a distributor.  The company’s National Marketing Manager Gabriel Brooks is keen to put that to rest.

“We’re educating customers by co-branding our well-recognised portfolio of brands. It’s important that our customers recognise we are the actual OEM, not a distributor. We carry out the research and development, design, and manufacturing,” Brooks said.

“Altra Motion Australia provides our customers in bulk handling with the engineering and application expertise of the world’s leading brands in mechanical power transmission and motion control technologies.

“Our customers can source multiple components from a single company, providing convenience while ensuring compatibility and optimised performance.”

Bernard Trevenar, National Engineering Manager for Altra’s Service Division, said being an OEM means it has the technical and engineering capabilities, eliminating communication breakdowns and timely delays.

Strategic service and support

Altra Motion Australia has set up service facilities in Sydney, Perth and Mackay. It also plans to open a new strategically located facility in Newcastle to support the region by mid-year.

The Newcastle facility will be led by its NSW Service Manager, Craig Kelly, who has been involved in the bulk handling industry for his entire career and knows the region well.

Strategic locations for service facilities are essential. According to Kelly, customers can be hesitant to get involved with companies that aren’t in the local area, as short lead times are crucial.

This is especially relevant for mines in Western Australia, where it can be a two-hour plane trip and a seven-hour drive to get to the final site.

Christopher Gordon, Altra’s WA Service Manager, said it was vital to be organised to avoid freight and shipping delays in WA.

“There’s no room for error, which is why our site guys focus on clear communication with our customers and bring everything they need.”

When a customer needs support, it usually starts with a phone call. From there, the team works out whether the servicing can be done on-site or in the workshop. If it’s the latter, the team will test the equipment in their facilities, strip it down and inspect it to find the fault.

They can then generate a quote and liaise with the customer to see what the next steps should be.

On-site, Altra’s specialists undertake detailed inspections to ensure everything is operating at the proper parameters. The team will coordinate this scheduled servicing during a mine shutdown period.

Developing technology for improved service

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt to the ‘new normal, and Altra Industrial Motion was no different.

The fact mining is classified as an essential service allowed Altra Motion Australia to continue supporting its customers. However, shocks sent through the supply chain affected almost every supplier.

Trevenar said Altra could take advantage of the fact it was an OEM by working with its brands and their factories to ensure enough supplies could be shipped to Australia to reduce delays.

“With fewer flights to get our products and spares into the country and lengthy shipping delays, we made sure to build up stock holdings to support our equipment in the field,” he said.

The pandemic also led to trends in the market becoming more pronounced, specifically remote servicing and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Altra Industrial Motion responded with the UCCase, a smart technology service tool that enables the remote monitoring of product performance in real-time and can help provide insights for maintenance assessment. By utilising the UCcase, Altra Motion customers that need assistance with commissioning, servicing, or troubleshooting of their braking systems can connect with a local or international Altra Motion-Svendborg service technician in real-time. The case can even offer real-time software upgrades and be used underground.

Digital infrastructure will play a significant role in the future of mining, which is why Altra Motion is responding to technology trends. It has an ongoing commitment to offer more advanced solutions to its customers.

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