March 2015

This Induna knows best

Loyalty to equipment brands is a luxury that cannot be afforded in the ultra-competitive port logistics business, where operators rather want round-the-clock-performance and reliability from machines and back-up to keep fleets productive at all times.

Having supplied Richards Bay bulk terminal operators, Induna Logistics and Terminals, with its first machines more than 15 years ago, ELB Equipment has earned its status as preferred supplier to the company. By supplying the company with the right machines and maintaining them to perform flawlessly on an around-the-clock basis they have cemented a relationship that continues to grow today.

The reward for ELB Equipment has been an uninterrupted history of supplying all the company’s main loading machines since the beginning. Meanwhile, although company owner, Godfrey Mfeka, has bought some other brands of equipment to fulfil supporting roles, the main loading duties remain entrusted with ELB Equipments’ durable machines.

Mechanics’ choice

Having started his career as a mechanic working on plant equipment, there is little that Godfrey does not know about his machines. He particularly likes the carefully engineered and solid Japanese construction of the Kawasaki and Sumitomo machines and points out that the underpinnings of both machines is based on advanced manufacturing principles that incorporate simple, easy-to-operate and maintain features into each machine.

This enables them to work as efficiently as more complex computer controlled machines, but without the need for excessively complicated electronics.  With less to go wrong on board the machines, they are among the most reliable in the world and are somewhat over-engineered to be able to work in the harshest of environments without failure.

Loading ultra-heavy metal powders, coal, dusty and abrasive materials on an around-the-clock basis, only a handful of machines are able to last in this environment. In this situation the solid construction and quality steel and other materials used in the construction of the Kawasaki machines makes them almost impervious to environmental stresses. The Sumitomo excavators used for unloading railway carts are similarly tough with the additional benefit of having class leading productivity and fuel consumption to boot.

Toughest in the business

“When I buy a wheel loader for our main loading duties on site, albeit for coal, metal or any other commodity, I entrust it to a machine that I know can do the job. Kawasaki loaders are the toughest machines out there and are made to be simple to operate and maintain. As a mechanic I also appreciate the uncomplicated nature of the machines, but as an owner it is also clear to see that my Kawasaki fleet is every bit as productive as the most complicated electronic machines out there.

“As for reliability we have a number of machines that have been running 24 hours per day, seven days per week, for six years without incident. One machine in particular has run for more than 10 000 hours so far without even a puncture, that is the kind of reliability that has helped me to grow my business substantially,” says Godfrey.

He adds that the Sumitomo machines are equally as impressive and are able to work considerably faster than competitor machines in the fleet. Reliability is superb and the four-cylinder engines are more economical than the six-cylinder types used in other brands. Both structurally and mechanically the Kawasaki and Sumitomo machines cannot be beaten.