In Full Control
Project Manager:Arron Rampling
For more than 40 years, Winder Controls has bridged the worlds of refined mechanical and electrical engineering with the tough requirements of the mining sector in Africa and around the world to become one of the industry’s contractors of choice and most experienced operators.
Founded in South Africa in 1973 Winder Controls has always specialised in mine hoisting, but as the years have progressed, the Company’s ownership, evolution and diversification has made it one of the go-to players in an industry dependent on operational excellence.
“Winder Controls specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of a full range of mine winders and hoisting related equipment, and is proud to have a strong in-house team of service professionals who provide after-sales servicing and maintenance capabilities to the Company’s clients,” Joint Managing Director, Tim Keegan explains. “Since its inception, Winder Controls has supplied more than 800 mechanical and electrical hoisting installations to the global mining industry, including drum, Blair, Koepe and stage winders; as well as a wide range of rope handling systems, auxiliary components, spare parts and services. The Company has also carried out numerous relocations, upgrades and refurbishments of existing equipment.”
Now under the stewardship of the SIEMAG Tecberg Group since 2011, the combination of autonomous responsibility and governance, combined with SIEMAG’s international esteem, technical excellence and product range, has made the business an even more complete package; adding clout behind its market agility to cement its position as a bespoke service provider.
“In addition to its role as an OEM, Winder Controls functions as a systems integrator on major capex projects and since they are not limited to any one specific brand of product they are able to maintain a high degree of flexibility so as to always offer solutions tailored to their client’s needs,” Keegan affirms. “The systems integration role enables Winder Controls to utilise electrical and hydraulic hardware from a range of suppliers in order to align with the broad range of client’s requirements.”
The products emanating from this turnkey approach cover all manner of necessities, incorporating facets from the Company’s origins, as well as more modern innovations, nuances and technological advancements in line with Winder Controls’ own in-house development programme as well as with general industry developments.
Once again, the emphasis is on creating a flexible solutions-driven offering, capable of catering for any variation of requirements, and providing custom-designed solutions.
“This is to ensure optimal performance against our clients’ specifications, operational requirements and budget,” Keegan details.
“Our key site services within this include installation and commissioning, site management; site safety compliance; installation procedures; cold and hot commissioning procedures; personnel training; after-sales service and maintenance; dynamic testing; shaft guide alignment testing; and regulatory audits, inspections and compliance testing.”
Winder Controls’ scope typically includes full engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of all electrical, mechanical and hydraulic equipment; including switch gear, transformers, motors and drive systems, control and safety PLC’s, winder drums and drum shafts, clutches, bearings and brake systems etc.
In addition to the provision of new equipment, Winder Controls also specialises in the refurbishment, relocation and upgrading of existing machines and accordingly carries a variety of ‘stock winders’ so as to provide clients with fast response times and cost effective hoisting solutions.
Additional specialist services offered by the Company include detailed engineering analysis of components for proposed new duties, logistical planning and spatial scanning for movement of large components underground, and rehabilitation of gear-sets using scanning techniques combined with unique expertise in order to salvage customised gear profiles from worn or damaged gearboxes.
Keegan continues: “Winder Controls also offer a wide range of motors and drive solutions from various major manufacturers, including TMEIC, Siemens, Rockwell and Schneider.”
Drive products include MV VSD’s up to 11kV (ideal for new or retrofit), LV drives up to 690V, DC drives, soft starters and Ward-Leonard drives; while motors include a full range from 380V to 11kV with powers up to tens of MW and speeds from 34rpm to 3,000rpm and above.
Driving this impressive array of products and services are the latest technologies and processes ensuring optimum performance and efficiencies beginning during the design, planning and project control stages. All mechanical design is carried out using a combination of purpose-developed in-house software, 3-D Autocad Inventor and Mathcad - while finite element analysis is carried out using Ansys.
“Electrical design work is done using Eplan and Autocad,” Keegan adds.
“Every design undergoes a thorough risk assessment which the client is encouraged to take part in. As required by ISO 9001, a strict document control and quality control system is followed. This is achieved with a Windows Sequel based workflow management system.
“The company also runs an ERP system for financial management, procurement, project controls, control of deliveries and stock management.”
Using these tools in combination with its innovative approach, Winder Controls is constantly improving on established concepts while simultaneously carrying out development work on new products. This has allowed the Company to produce the largest Blair winders manufactured by any company to date (7.2m drum diameter, 12MW), a process which required significant innovative thinking and a departure from the traditional approach in the industry of relying on additional mass to cater for the extreme structural requirements imposed on the components.
Quality management and production
Keegan continues: “Winder Controls has invested significantly in upgrades to their Wadeville production facility and equipment so as to increase quality and efficiency of production activities. The Company is ISO listed and maintains an extensive QA management system which is regularly verified by the necessary internal and independent external audit processes.
“Assembly and production facilities include a full electrical assembly and testing facility; heavy machining capability; a fully-equipped hydraulic assembly and testing facility; a vertical boring mill; and a horizontal boring mill.”
Complementing the Company’s core functions is an equally stringent and dedicated focus on the wider community, driven largely by its role as a Level 8 BBBEE Company with Empowering Supplier Status which has culminated in numerous corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives being conducted over the years.
Being part-owned by Shalamuka Capital - the BEE investment vehicle formed by the Shalamuka Foundation and RMB Corvest - has gone a long way to facilitate this aspect of the organisation.
“The Company is proud to have maintained several CSR initiatives, both through Shalamuka as well as directly to various community projects and selected suppliers,” Keegan emphasises. “This includes Shalamuka’s involvement with Penreach as well as direct contributions by Winder Controls to Freedom Park Secondary School and Luka Primary School in Rustenburg, and also to Badirile Secondary School in Carltonville; for projects including the construction of an under-roof feeding area for 1,600 children a day, the establishment of a secure Gr1 & 2 playground, and the supply of digital and hardcopy material for learners and educators.”
Winder Controls has also involved itself in micro enterprise development, whereby three privately owned micro enterprises were selected for a business development process and management education.
Alluding strongly to notions of sustainability and longevity through this initiative, this reflects a general ethos apparent within Winder Controls, who looks set to ensure even more concerted market growth for the business in the years to come.
“In the highly technical and demanding field of mine hoisting, Winder Controls believes that the key to its long-term success lies in the high quality of its engineering and the provision of top-class project outcomes to its clients,” Keegan concludes.
“In order to achieve this, Winder Controls has invested in the growth of their technical personnel and systems and the Company is home to some of the country’s top electrical, mechanical and hydraulic skills.”