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Why cheap copies can make you pay twice

Overhauled JUG-A-0 loader
Overhauled JUG-A-0 loader

Purchasing substandard components might save money in the short-term but they can also cost more in the long run. Drivetrain Power’s Mark Griffith and Simon England write.

An old saying that a “dollar saved is a dollar earned” is not always true, especially when it is time for mining companies to maintain or upgrade equipment fleets.

A Central Queensland underground coal operation learnt this lesson the hard way many years ago. Their procurement team purchased cylinder head reproductions from China for their diesel engine fleet. However, Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) later examined the mine, and their inspectors discovered those parts did not comply with flameproof requirements.

Those cheaply copied cylinder heads were inadequately engineered to prevent flames from exiting and coming into contact with methane-rich or coal dust laden atmospheres. These elements could have combined to create an underground explosion with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Fortunately, no workplace incident occurred and zero injuries or fatalities were recorded. However, RSHQ still declared a high potential incident, forcing the mineral producer to replace all Chinese-made cylinder heads at the employer’s expense – a very costly lesson.

This is one reason why Emerald-headquartered Triple Torque Services only sources genuine, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts from Drivetrain Power.

“Generally across the board we always run into problems when using non-genuine bits, whether it be bearings and seals. We always seem to run into premature failure or fitment issues when using copied parts,” Triple Torque workshop and field service manager Shaun Serotzki said.

“If we are doing any repairs on those components Drivetrain supplies all of our parts. We keep using them because they only source genuine, OEM parts and you do not need to worry about compliance.”

Drivetrain also helps source transmission and differential parts that are increasingly difficult to find. The national technical products and services supplier has extensive contacts who can quickly deliver both soft- and hard- parts. If new components are unavailable the business can also source high-quality used parts.

“Drivetrain would get us a part from another state that might be someone else’s but they did not need it as quickly as we did,” Serotzki said.

“Other times another customer decided not to go ahead with a parts purchase so Drivetrain was able to strip smaller, individual parts out for us. It is not very often you find a supplier like that.”

Overhauled torque convertor
Overhauled torque convertor

Triple Torque recently performed a major overhaul of differentials, transmissions and torque converters for the Kestrel Coal Mine, 40km north of Emerald. The underground Bowen Basin operation picked the diesel repair and maintenance specialist to spend three months revamping their fleet during record-high coal spot prices.

“We stripped down and sent components to Drivetrain which quoted each item for us. After I sent an amended quote there was very minimal effort required from my end. It only took a couple of phone calls and purchase orders before the Mackay workshop made things happen,” Serotzki said.

Overhauled Kessler axles
Overhauled Kessler axles

Drivetrain has dealt with Triple Torque for more than a decade, and operated for more than 30 years. It employs experts at creating tailored end-to-end powertrain solutions that let customers operate at maximum efficiency with minimal downtime. From design and application engineering to product support, maintenance and repairs, mining services companies can rely on Drivetrain to deliver outstanding service and flexible, reliable products.

Drivetrain has Australia and New Zealand’s only authorised Dana Spicer off-highway service centre with state-of-the-art rebuild facilities strategically located across the nation. The company also has extensive experience in servicing and supplying Kessler+Co, Allison, Caterpillar, Katsa and other major brands.

Drivetrain is the Australian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea dealer for the Kovatera underground mining utility vehicles. It supplies components and spare parts for locomotive engines, including locomotive bull gears, traction motor pinions, suspension bearings as well as gear case seals.

ISO certification, machine breakdown assistance and scheduled program maintenance services are also available.

Safety is Drivetrain’s number-one priority. It keeps work environments safe through deploying safe work systems, smart technologies and committing to employee education and training.

Triple Torque team
Triple Torque team

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