Benefiting from the U.S. shale boom, Weir Minerals North America reinvests in a unique supply chain and IIoT tech
There’s no denying that U.S. production of natural gas and oil has been on the rise since 2005, with the country becoming the world’s leading producer of natural gas and gradually weaning itself off its dependence on oil imports over the last decade plus. As mining production has increased and the drilling of shale has increased, companies like Weir Minerals North America have reaped the benefits.
North America represents the largest arm of Scottish-based Weir Minerals, employing 4,000 in its mineral division and supplying heavy-duty equipment to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Covering such a large territory during a time of great growth requires a certain amount of creative thinking.
A Decentralized Supply Chain
One of the truly unique traits of Weir North America is its supply chain. A statement by the company explains: “It is the Weir Group’s policy to work only with suppliers that provide us with the goods and services that we need whilst not exposing their employees, or their local environment, to unacceptable risks.”
To this end, the company has created a decentralized supply chain which allows each local site to choose their own vendors. This flexibility helps meet the individual needs of each locale and allows them to choose nearby suppliers, similarly fulfilling the company’s commitment to “high standards of environmental management and controls the impact of its activities on its employees, the community, and its environment.”
Additionally, Weir North America is unafraid of using other parts of its own business as suppliers. For example, some products come out of Massachusetts while others come from Wisconsin but building a strong relationship between the two sites has allowed for them to pool resources when necessary. At Weir, choosing suppliers isn’t always as much about finding the best way to save money as it is about the ability to adequately plan and forecast needs.
SAP for Logistical Challenges
There are undoubtedly challenges that can arise from such a supply chain, but Weir has found a way to circumvent such occasions by implementing SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. A decentralized database that isn’t synced across all locations decreases efficiency, leading to increased labor costs, lack of timely communication with clients, and the unnecessary purchase and storage of raw materials.
Fortunately, in SAP Weir has found a centralized form of data management that keeps necessary information organized and opens clear channels of communication. It is precisely this accurate exchange of data and interchange between sites that allows Weir, and other businesses with decentralized supply chains, to succeed.
Synertrex® and the IIoT
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology is making waves in a variety of industries across the globe, and Weir Minerals is looking to use IIoT tech to transform the world of mining with its new platform Synertrex®. Unveiled in August, Weir expects the platform to benefit efficiency and productivity while at the same time anticipating risks.
Using Synertrex® involves placing smart sensors on Weir equipment, enabling them to supply massive amounts of operational data which is then analyzed via cloud computing. After analysis, the data is compiled into useful information and predictions which is easily read by customers on the dashboard of their digital interface.
Currently, Synertrex® can be paired with Weir Minerals’ Enduron line of products, as well as GEHO PD pumps, Cavex hydroclones, and Warman pumps but plans are in the works to expand the platform to more products. Customers who already have compatible Weir products will be able to retrofit Synertrex® sensors to their equipment.
Clearly, Weir has big expectations for the new platform, as evidenced in a statement by Minerals Division President Ricardo Garib: “We believe our Synertrex® platform will have a significant impact on the mining industry, transforming customer operations through improved productivity and safety. Working with technology market leaders Microsoft and Dell has enabled us to develop sophisticated predictive software and hardware which is robust enough to operate in extreme conditions across the globe.”
Weir Minerals has undoubtedly learned from its success and realized that it is precisely the company’s outside-of-the-box thinking and keeping an eye to the future that has helped them find success on a global scale. This is perhaps unsurprising for a company that has been in the mining industry for 147 years, but their willingness and ability to embrace technology successfully certainly bodes well for the next century and a half.
Weir Minerals is a global market leader in delivering and supporting slurry equipment solutions including pumps, hydrocyclones, HPGRs, valves, crushers, screen machines and screen media, rubber and wear resistant linings for global mining and mineral processing industry.
With a broad range of trusted brands, they help their customers address their key issues – longevity, capacity and efficiency of operations. Superiority of hydraulic design and corrosion-resistant materials underpin the strength of Weir Minerals slurry transportation, comminution and minerals processing equipment.
Weir Minerals. Expertise where it counts.
3459 S 700 W
South Salt Lake, UT 84119
Phone: 608 221 584