Business feature: Materials Management & Supplies

By: Ed, Photography by: Ed

Deals on Wheels took a trip out to the heart of industrial West Auckland to see a drilling rig that had just been completed for an offshore mining company

With most of their production destined for overseas markets, particularly the Pacific Islands, a lot of regular readers may not have of heard of Materials Management & Supplies Ltd. The long-established business is a well-respected provider of heavy crushing and ancillary equipment to quarries and mines, with a focus on simplicity of design, durability, and ease-of-use.

Finding solutions

Victor Kapoor and Arthur Iles

It’s this mantra that has seen lengthy relationships with overseas mining companies and one that company director Victor Kapoor says has allowed the business to form trusted design and build partnerships with clients.

"We’ve done business with some of these clients for more than 20 years. Often, they’ll call and tell me they have a problem that needs sorting, so from there it’s up to us to find a solution by developing the right application," says Victor.

"Going along with this is a lot of our production that goes to the Pacific Islands, so we need to provide equipment that’s reliable and easy to use in remote locations.

"The environment on some of the less-resourced islands means we have to ensure that when a machine gets delivered, it’s there to stay and must be able to be looked after by the people there on the ground."

Morooka MST800VDL

The drill rig ready to head to New Caledonia

Case in point is the mobile drilling rig that has just been wheeled out of the factory on the day of our visit. Constructed on a Morooka MST800VDL chassis, the design and build team—led by Arthur Iles—has just completed final preparations on the machine, which in a few days will be on its way to New Caledonia.

The decision to go with Morooka as a base unit for the drill was primarily down to the versatility of the Japanese-made machine, which is a tried-and-tested base for drill rigs, tool carriers, and field utility units.

Powered by a Cat C4.4 engine rated at 96kW (129hp), the 6350kg Morooka chassis is designed to carry a maximum load of 5440kg at speeds of up to 12km/h and is made for aerial equipment with a vertical reach of up to 15 metres.

Another consideration was the low ground pressure exerted by the rubber-tracked Morooka and speed at which it can traverse the ground between job sites.

"We could have built the drill rig on an excavator base, but speed is a factor for the users. We need to minimise downtime between drill sites, so the Morooka with its higher travel speed and build quality was the obvious choice," says Victor.

Drilling deep

Plastic covers protect the machine when not in use

The Morooka-based drill rig will carry out exploratory work on the 18,500 square kilometre New Caledonia island (New Zeland is around 14 times larger), looking primarily for nickel ore at depths of up to 80 metres.

"The drill can go deeper—up to 200 metres—but the company that has purchased the machine expects that they won’t need to drill deeper than 80 metres. Of course, if they find minerals at a shallower depth, there’s no need to drill further," says Victor.

Design and serviceability

Morooka-MST800VDL-4.jpg width=
Many Pacific Island customers prefer an open cab set-up

Simplicity of design and serviceability are other factors when shipping machines to locations that can often be a long way from assistance when the inevitable stoppage occurs.

"We ensure that our equipment can be easily serviced when out in the field and parts are quickly available when required. We try and use generic parts to keep any delays to a minimum," says Victor.

"Also, with everything we build, it’s important to get information from users of such equipment. With this rig, we had an experienced driller come out and look over the machine, which allowed us to tweak things so when it goes out into the field, it’s as user-friendly as possible.

"The same goes for the plastic covers. Users in the locations we send a lot of our machines to don’t want to be enclosed inside a cab, so we provide covers to protect the equipment when it’s not in use," says Victor.

"It’s small things like this that ensure we’re providing the right solutions for our customers and gives them trust in us and the equipment we supply."

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