FERNANDO DE LA LASTRA
GENERAL MANAGER AND CO-FOUNDER,
JOERG VON LOEBENSTEIN,
ENGINEERING MANAGER AND CO-FOUNDER,
"Along with black ceramics, we have borrowed many materials from the aerospace and defence industries to combine them with smart assembly techniques to provide superior products."
What is the role of Tecnipak in Chile’s mining industry?
JL: Tecnipak serves the agricultural and mining industry, specifically mineral processing plants in mining. Mining represents approximately 50% of our sales.
We identified a niche in the transfer chutes of conveyor systems in mineral transport and specialized in it. Initially, we started supplying parts, however, we are now leaders in the design, engineering and manufacture of complete equipment for transfer points and chutes. We also provide several components to better streamline and increase the efficiency of mineral transport, including a full line of belt cleaners and speciality wear plates. Tecnipak currently works with all major mining companies in Chile.
Why did you incorporate the use of black ceramic and stainless steel into the belt scrapers?
JL: We use different grades of stainless steel because the environment is corrosive due to the chemicals of the mining process that wear the coatings rapidly. High-grade stainless steel guarantees a long lifespan of our components, over at least five years. Black ceramic is used for the cleaning edge due to its wear resistance and strength against heat and chemicals. Our products are typically more expensive than those of our competitors, who target more generic processes, while Tecnipak tailors to the needs of the Chilean mining industry’s huge processing volumes. Along with black ceramics, we have borrowed many materials from the aerospace and defence industries to combine them with smart assembly techniques to provide superior products. We also incorporate sensors and automation to monitor and adjust the belt cleaners remotely, giving the operator enhanced safety and control.
How does Tecnipak position and differentiate itself in the market?
FL: Tecnipak started as a small company in a large market. We managed to differentiate ourselves by finding new and innovative solutions to global problems. Our company is always at the site with our clients, understanding their needs to combine their field experience with our technical expertise and implement advanced solutions.
JL: Tecnipak targets a niche market as opposed to competitors. It is hard to compare us to other providers because their products are more generic, for less demanding bulk handling environments in a much broader array of markets.
Can you elaborate on Tecnipak’s curved wear plates efficiency and capabilities?
JL: The conveyed material is directed from one belt conveyor to another or to a crusher, mill or stockpile, and this requires transfer chutes. These chutes have curved surfaces called “deflectors” inside, which are lined with wear plates. Deflectors have a curved shape because the transfer of the material does not go in a straight line, but the wear plates used to protect the surface of the deflector are usually flat due to convenience in manufacturing. Tecnipak has been a pioneer by succeeding in making curved wear plates that gradually redirect the ore so that it flows towards the next equipment in a convenient manner. With this shape, we have made the transition more fluid, which allows the transport of a larger amount of ore in less time, increasing productivity, reducing wear and generating less dust.
How is Tecnipak looking to grow in the upcoming years?
JL: Our strength is in catering to the large hard rock mining operations, where we have a domestic market share of 45-55%. We see room for growth in foreign markets with similar large-scale operations, such as Australia, Peru, Brazil and Canada.
FL: Despite seeing the potential for growth in other markets, we consider Chile a world leader in technology for copper production, and therefore, when our technology is successful in our country, this serves as a good reference when entering overseas markets.
Do you have a final message to our readership?
JL: Mining is a risky activity that can be negatively perceived due to its environmental impact. Tecnipak’s mission is to provide mining companies with reliable equipment that can help them reduce pollution and increase productivity and safety. We have a lot to offer in this sense, especially in large scale mineral processing operations, where 30% to 50% of unplanned downtime can be traced to malfunctioning transfer chutes.
FL: Tecnipak also aims to incorporate technology to minimize direct human intervention in transfer chutes and their supporting equipment. Through our technology, we hope to provide the ability to manage conveyor transfer chutes, regardless of their location, remotely.