Marthinusen & Coutts (M&C) has launched a locally manufactured 55 kW, 6 pole 525 (550 v) scraper winch motor which has been specifically designed to meet the operating conditions in the South African mining industry. Thousands of such winch motors are currently in use at local mines but procurement pressures over the years have resulted in the quality of winch motors decreasing to the point where the motor MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) is very short for new winches and subsequent repair costs are very high.This is exacerbated because many companies have historically used low volume manufacturing techniques to produce these motors resulting in less than satisfactory quality and performance. However, M&C says it identified the opportunity to design and manufacture a quality, competitively priced winch motor based on the increasing cost of electricity, the high installed base, Eskom’s demand on consumers to reduce energy consumption and the limited investment into local high volume manufacturing of these motors.Designated the MAC-200 premium winch motor, the new motor has been under development for 18 months with several prototypes having been built and tested. Henk de Swart, the company’s engineering director, says M&C has had wide exposure to repairing electric winch motors and improving the performance of such motors used in the South African mining industry. “We have a major advantage because we have repaired these motors for many years and thus we have an intimate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Repairs are undertaken at our Rustenburg facility which is the largest dedicated low voltage repair facility in Africa. An example of where we reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) is at Anglo Coal, where in 2007 we reduced repair and purchasing costs by more than 50% over four years, and this included capital costs. Motor uptime also increased three-fold during that period.”De Swart says parameters taken into consideration for local manufacture included the need to design specifically for South African operating conditions, the use of South African materials and labour as far as possible; all of which puts money back into the local economy. “The MAC-200 winch motor has been engineered with TCO in mind. We have covered all bases. The motor complies with the required specifications for all mines and there has been no compromise in terms of quality, performance or efficiency. Verified full load test results are available. In fact, in collaboration with mining houses we are currently undertaking plant tests to quantify the improved performance and TCO of these motors. The design has been optimised to allow mass production to ensure that the product is brought to market at a competitive, acceptable price without compromising quality.” M&C has also made a significant investment in mass production in order to meet the anticipated demand and to sustain production levels.