With three successful decades of supplying mining and industrial customers in South Africa, Multotec Group company MATO Products is set to spread its wings in terms of both its product range and its southern African footprint.
According to MATO Products general manager Benjamin Sibanda, the company will be expanding beyond its traditional belt fastening products – where it has been a force in the market since it started in 1987 – into its range of conveyor cleaners. These cleaners minimise conveyor maintenance, with the result that costs are saved and uptime is improved.
“We have already secured orders for fasteners and belt cleaners from Morupule Colliery in Botswana, and are working hard to create supply relationships with collieries in other parts of southern Africa,” says Sibanda. MATO Products already has a substantial share of the South African coal mining market in these products.
He says the market for cleaners and scrapers in many parts of Africa has not been well serviced, and this presents an important opportunity for the company. He also notes that there is scope to grow its lubrication segment. While at the moment only a small part of its business, MATO Products will be proactively promoting these offerings as another attractive growth area.
Sibanda emphasises, however, that the expansions will not be at the expense of the company’s core product – its mechanical belt fastening system. With its legacy dating back over a century to when MATO Germany was formed in 1906, this high-performance system has served South African mines with quality and reliability.
MATO Products’ clip manufacturing machine is one of only three such units designed by MATO Germany – and is the only one of its kind outside Germany.
“Our clip machine is a marvel of engineering that produced quality fasteners for over a quarter of a century before its first refurbishment last year,” he says. “So complex and unique is this machine that the refurbishment work had to be conducted in Germany, and took nine months to complete.”
The good news is that the unit now has a larger press – boasting 360 tonnes compared to its previous rating of 180 tonnes – which has improved its production capacity. It can now produce fasteners for conveyor belts measuring from 5 mm to 20 mm unskived, compared to its previous range of 8 mm to 14 mm belts. The number of fasteners it is capable of producing has also increased – from 4 500 to 5 400 boxes a month.
The MATO fastener, produced in South Africa with 98% local content, produces a cost-effective and durable alternative to hot and cold splicing.
“In some instances for specific applications our mechanical splice has lasted the life of the belt,” Sibanda says.
The belt fastening system delivers a seamless joint in less than 30 minutes, which is considerably less than the traditional hot splice method which can take up to six hours. As such this solution reduces operational downtime, thereby increasing productivity at reduced cost.
The components of the MATO fastening system include a lacing head and bed, wire rope winch with 30 metres of rope, belt clamp, belt cutter, belt skiver, wave master kit, belt grip, belt marker, lacing pins and fasteners.
“This proven technology, combined with our decades of experience, allows us to deliver German quality from a strong and highly skilled South African production base,” he concludes.