Gravico aims to reduce long-term ownership and operational costs


From left: Louw Kriel, Digby Glover and Dawie Marais

Three years of successful collaboration on Gravico mining aftermarket products has led the partners – the Vereeniging-based DCD Group and Netherlands-based Southwest Group – to consolidate the venture into a stand-alone business incorporating assets from both stakeholders.

With a substantial design portfolio of mining attachments and machine structures from Southwest, Gravico is now also home to some of DCD’s most experienced project engineers and skilled staff – as well as a range of specialised machining and fabrication facilities.

“With the steady decline in surface mining equipment sales since 2012, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have taken much of their production in-house,” said DCD group chief executive officer Digby Glover. “This has reduced the demand for product from third-party manufacturers, who now have to re-define their value offering.”

Glover said mining companies were at the same time looking for sustainable margin improvements through innovation and cost reduction.

“Our commitment to Gravico expresses DCD’s intent to work closely with mining customers to help improve their productivity with our high-quality, cost-effective solutions,” he said.

Southwest Group managing director Louw Kriel said Gravico attachments – including dragline buckets, excavator buckets and truck bodies – had been well-received by customers in southern Africa in recent years. This had led to a number a substantial manufacturing contracts being undertaken by DCD Venco in Newcastle, now incorporated into DCD operations in Vereeniging.

“The Gravico promise is to reduce long-term ownership and operational costs for our customers,” said Kriel. “We deliver this through designs that perform better in the field and have longer maintenance and repair intervals; this saves our customers money and makes their operations more sustainable, especially in the current tough economic environment.”

He said the Southwest provided Gravico with standard and engineer-to-order designs to fit all OEM machines – guided by cutting-edge manufacturing system design, engineering investigations and 6‑Sigma project management methodology.

Glover highlighted the powerful synergy between DCD’s specialised production capacity and Southwest’s design excellence, making Gravico an attractive brand that offered exciting potential for both stakeholders.

“The Gravico portfolio of products and services gives DCD a valuable opportunity to demonstrate our depth of skill and technical capacity – and also to showcase South Africa’s foundry and machining sector to global markets,” he said. “Partnerships like this are part of our strategic plan to secure ourselves a firm place in the global mining economy as a vibrant, forward-looking business with both engineering design and manufacturing world class expertise.”

The cooperation began in 2013 when DCD Venco became the manufacturing partner for Southwest’s Gravico range in Africa. Based in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, Southwest specialises in the engineering and development of a wide range of these products around the world. They include backload and front-shovel buckets in capacities from 7 m3 to 52 m3, dragline buckets (30-105 m3), dump truck bowls (80-360 tons) and dragline rigging.

Gravico’s aftermarket products also include machine structures such as excavator booms, sticks and axle boxes, as well as components such as bushes, pins and ground engaging tools.

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