Keech Australia has urged quarry operators and
contractors to understand the importance of quality and regular inspections in
managing the whole of life cost of Ground Engaging Tools (GET).
Mark Adams, territory and export manager at Keech
Australia observed that while there was pressure to reduce costs during tough
times, accepting the cheapest price for a critical operational consumable created
a false economy.
He explains that the total cost per machine hour is a
more relevant benchmark and comprises of a number of factors, with initial cost
being just one of them. For instance, long life is ensured with strong wear
parts and GET, while good design and high manufacturing standards minimise the
chances of failure and costly unscheduled maintenance on a key production
Keech employs field engineers headed by Chandra Mpral
to work with end users, either directly or through dealers to match GET to the
site conditions and owner priorities. The field team ensures that correct
procedures are in place to measure wear, change teeth and generally manage GET
and wear parts.
According to Chandra, problems in the field can often be
traced to incorrect procedures or tools, which can increase the changeover time
for GET, increasing downtime and resulting in lost production.
Each box of GET contains instructions on fitting the tools,
complete with a supporting manual and data sheets including field instructions
for using the gauges to measure wear, and determining when to replace GET. The
objective is to maximise the life of the GET without impacting performance and
fuel consumption, or causing wear to other parts that can be expensive and
time-consuming to repair or replace, and without risking failure.
To ensure customers have access to GET procedures in
the event these are misplaced or lost, Keech will soon launch a password-protected
Chandra comments that GET tools, in some applications
are designed to have up to 65% of their mass lost in wear before replacement.
Keech also relies on feedback from the field for the
ongoing development of GET, with a team of engineers performing hand
calculations and Finite Element Analysis of new designs that can withstand
substantially higher forces than the specification of the machine to which they
Products are designed to a 50% higher rating than
general design conventions to handle unexpected impact loads, and are tested
against major global competitors to be at least on par; Keech often records
15-20% greater strength in destructive testing.
In its 80th year, Keech continues to reinvent itself
through innovation and attention to quality. Its subsidiary Keech 3D is at the
forefront of 3D printing technology, allowing Keech to develop and refine new
designs quickly and economically where previously patternmaking was a
bottleneck in product development.
Keech QA Manager Bala Hebbar is proud of the QA
systems and procedures that have been developed at Keech, and which have earned
ISO9001 Quality Accreditation. He explains that everything from the selection
of raw materials to the finishing of the completed product is carefully
controlled. Keech has three core sets of procedures in place covering standard
manufacturing processes, how each individual part is made and how
non-compliance is handled to ensure continuous improvement.
Staff training has been prioritised at Keech and computer
screens have been installed throughout the factory for staff access. Checklists
are provided for each batch to ensure that all procedures are followed during
To Mark Adams, this all adds up to Keech providing the
lowest overall GET cost through a combination of design, field support, quality