OEM cites portfolio growth for its transition to underground offerings. Will others follow the trend?
Bell Equipment recently announced its plans to create a dedicated OEM business division for underground mining, as it has identified it as an opportunity for further growth as the global industry continues its movement underground.
The company’s plan includes expanding its existing product range as well as providing specialized customer support and establishing new global markets. Anton Wheeler will be leading the division.
Understanding the complexities and requirements of this specific sector, a specialized underground mining division has been established within the group’s own South African dealer network, Bell Equipment Sales South Africa (BESSA), to provide dedicated and focused sales, parts, and aftermarket support for the underground product portfolio in South Africa. Appointments are now in process for that.
Wheeler noted that a key part of its strategy is to grow its overall portfolio of products.
“Currently, we have two underground mining products, our Bell Underground Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) and a Bell Rock Scaler. Both products have been well accepted in our existing African markets for their built-in levels of safety, use of latest technology, and lowest cost per [metric ton] productivity, and we see the opportunity to develop our range further.”
He noted that Bell has identified one opportunity to be a 6-ton low-profile Load Haul Dump (LHD) loader to enhance the group’s offering. This machine is in the design phase and will be commercialized by 2024.
“Our strategy is to grow the product portfolio rapidly over the next few years to be able to meet the needs of customers involved in this industry,” he said.
“Bell Equipment’s underground mining products have recently been sold and branded through a dealer in South Africa, but we feel that it is better to be closer to our customers by managing the entire value chain from design to onsite support. We will be fully geared up to support both new machines as well as any historical units that are in service.”
Bell’s underground mining equipment portfolio is all designed and manufactured at its facility in Richards Bay, South Africa. BESSA, through the newly formed division, will take care of support.
As the product portfolio develops and the additional roots to markets are established, Bell also plans to leverage its global network of independent dealers and Bell-owned subsidiaries to grow its underground mining presence worldwide.
Bell Equipment Group CEO Leon Goosen said the global growth initiative it has planned follows a strategy to invest in and generate more product intellectual property.
“Our new developments will build on the achievements of our existing underground mining products, which are already at the forefront of safety requirements with the stringent PDS Level 9 built into the DNA of our 30t and 35t underground ADTs,” he said.
“We have also leveraged our autonomous learnings from our surface trucks to satisfy future vehicle control requirements as the market is ready for these. We are very excited about the future having embarked on other growth initiatives and new products that we will communicate more about soon.”