In the first part of the interview, head of technical services Francisco Pérez told us all about the department’s day-to-day activities. On this occasion, Francisco tells us about the services currently being offered for dredgers.
What are the main duties of the Technical Services Department?
Our main duty is to provide all manner of technical services, both internally within MTG and externally to clients and users of MTG products.
In addition, we are responsible for carrying out field tests, producing and participating in new product developments and imparting internal and external product training.
What does technical support entail?
We provide technical assistance in regard to information about our products and product comparisons, in addition to responding to any technical queries that may reach us, be this by phone or by email, or even by preparing a more comprehensive technical study.
Furthermore, we prepare the instructions for the installation and maintenance of each of our products, which we distribute among the entire network.
What other services do you offer?
Another feature I would like to highlight is our on-site assistance service, which entails providing support in the event of incidents, as well as finding solutions to our clients’ needs. Often clients have pieces of equipment that do not work adequately, and they contact us to put this right. This kind of request is highly gratifying, because once a solution is found, we are able to secure their loyalty, and a closer relationship is formed.
Carrying out field trials is among your responsibilities. What do these involve?
Field trials are always carried out with prototypes for testing new systems, and they are absolutely necessary prior to launching a range of any new system. These tests need to be performed in different applications and terrains, as products behave very differently on dry, humid, abrasive, impact conditions, etc. Most of all, we must make sure the products function correctly in the condition they are destined for. After a tweaking and monitoring period, and once the results arrived at are deemed to be satisfactory, we proceed to granting technical approval of the system by means of the reliability report, which gives the green light to the development of the entire product range and its sizes.
You also provide support for approved products. Can you tell us a little about what this?
At Technical Services, we provide technical support for any product sold by MTG throughout its wear life. We are linked to it from the very moment it is born as a prototype, and until it is discontinued. As soon as the product is expedited, we become responsible for managing any quality or usage incidence that might take place, providing technical assistance and reporting about the knowledge acquired and that may be applicable to later new product developments.
Presumably all of this must entail a great deal of product knowledge.
Absolutely, a knowledge of all our products and their behaviour is essential for the work we do; it gives us credibility where our clients are concerned. Without it, we would be unable to perform any technical support duties.
Product knowledge also helps us impart MTG product training, both internally within the organisation and externally for clients and final users.
What is your relationship with the Product department like?
It is excellent. As it happens, we fall under one same unit. We participate in new project developments, both in terms of new systems and new technologies. We constantly provide field feedback. By constantly being out on the field dealing with the final users, we are able to identify the improvements that should be applied to our products. Collaboration between us is absolute, and it could not be any other way.
How is Technical Services organised and what regions do you currently cover?
There are eight engineers in our team, two of whom are local, one is in Australia and another in Chile. The rest are located in MTG’s head office in Barcelona, and we travel whenever we are needed or when we decide on doing so internally. We cover the whole world, and our aim is to change the technical interlocutor serving the client or distributor as seldom as possible. To this end, each engineer is in charge of a different geographical area: Chile and Peru, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia and Kazakhstan, Western Europe and NAFTA, and finally, Brazil. We also have dedicated technicians for each of our OEMs and for the dredging sector. In this way, we provide worldwide coverage for all the company’s sectors.
What are the main challenges faced by Technical Services?
Our main challenge involves providing solutions to the final users, especially in unfavourable working conditions or when they do not have the right means available. It is in those cases that we need to innovate and provide the best assessment possible while remaining flexible as a department and as a company.
Product reliability is the most valued feature, especially in Mining, Dredging and OEMs. Reliability is everything. After that, efficacy and efficiency in technical service, added to the customised attention we provide, all of which are of vital importance.
What specific services do you offer for dredgers?
We offer the same services as with the other sectors, although the degree of specialisation is slightly higher, as they are normally custom-made projects. As a matter of fact, we are also developing a project that is similar to the bucket layout for the configuration of cutterheads, specifically designed for smaller-sized dredgers and that will supplement our current product offering.
Having a factory featuring a space dedicated to the creation of our own cutterheads affords us increased control over quality. This in turn allows us to offer added value, as our DMet range hammerless cutterhead teeth and adapters are used in a 100% MTG cutterhead, which guarantees increased productivity of our products.
Have you had any recent Dredging projects that have represented a challenge?
One of our dredgers was having issues with a grab dredge, as it would break the blade and the castlip would crack. This grab dredge is the largest in the world; it weighs 400 tons and has a 400 ton pull-off strength, which is much more than that of a hydraulic excavator. Once a preliminary study had been carried out, and thanks to our prior knowledge acquired in similar situations, we suggested converting to our TwinMet system and reinforcing the bucket. Fortunately, thanks to the modification made to the closing settings and our system, they were able to drain without any breakages in an area where they were previously unable to. As far as we are concerned, the most important thing is that the client is satisfied with the results of the new settings and the positive performance shown during the last few months.