Mining machine giants for South Africa

Joy Global (Africa) has over 125 years of experience as a worldwide leader in high productivity mining solutions. The company manufacturers and markets original mining equipment for coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands, gold and other bedded materials for both the underground and surface mining industries.
Joy Global (Africa) opened its first sales office in Johannesburg in the late 1920s importing scraper winches and other mining machinery. In the 1950s, Joy Global began to locally manufacture coal cutters, loaders and shuttle cars and also purchased the Steeledale premises, which is the location of its head office in Johannesburg. In the early 1970s, Joy Global offered surface mining application equipment to the South African mining industry, particular the P&H; electric rope shovel.

In the early 1980s, Joy Global opened the Wadeville manufacturing plant and more recently, in 2009, the group launched the new Joy Global Smart Services Centre in eMalahleni, the first of its kind in the group and in the world.

Supporting South Africa through its products

Marketing Director Underground Products, Ian Cilli, explains Joy Global’s commitment to South Africa through its various projects and mentality about supporting the country. We are not only a company that produces high quality mining equipment but we also add to South Africa as a country and support initiatives within South Africa, says Cillie. We have invested extensively in the country by employing 1,400 people and operate two very large manufacturing sites where we manufacture capital goods and components in South Africa for the tough South African mining conditions.

The company is serious about investing in Southern Africa and adding to the mining industry within it. Cilli says, We are not just supplying equipment into the mining industry, but we are investing in our facilities and building up our service network to really support the entire industry and country.

Joy Global has been a part of the mining sector in South Africa since the early 1940s and is constantly striving to supply high quality equipment into the industry. The company prides itself on its engineering strength and designs and manufactures equipment for Southern Africa. We have taken into cognizance all the parameters within the South Africa mining environment and have come up with products and solutions that are more suitable to the geology as well as the skill levels within our country.

The company has developed an extensive high-tech product offering controlled and automated via a remote controlled on-board management system called FACEBOSS that allows for a safer and more productive environment for the customer. The control systems are linked through an innovative radio network to the Joy Global Smart Services facility where machines are monitored remotely on a 24 hour basis. The Smart Services facility ties together the elements of remote health monitoring, productivity consulting, training and reliability centered maintenance together with the equipment. Smart Services goes beyond a conventional product offering. At Joy Global it gathers this live information using the data to deliver Smart Services solutions that maximize the efficiency of the customer’s assets.

The latest combination of equipment and Smart Service utilization is the state of the art FCT or Flexible Conveyor Train which Anglo American Thermal Coal has just ordered, and will be the first of its kind in the South African mining industry. Joy Global also manufactures longwall shearers, roof supports, face conveyers, stageloaders, continuous miners, batch haulage vehicles, continuous haulage systems, conveyor and bolting products.

The company’s Smart Service centre is a combination of new and existing services under the same roof situated in the heart of the coal mining industry. Smart Services hosted at the new centre will include Machine Monitoring and Reporting in a dedicated Machine Monitoring and Support Centre, Field Engineering, Customer Training, Condition Monitoring including an oil laboratory, Productivity Consulting, as well as Life Cycle Management Contracts supported by service exchange spares holding in a new Warehouse, as noted on Joy Global’s website.

The new support centre links directly via satellite or radio frequency with the customer. Cilli says, Because of the high volume of information off the equipment that has been piped through to the call centre, we have installed software that employs artificial intelligence to scan every piece of data looking for trends or alarms that warn the highly trained operators to proactively work with our customers preventing downtime and dispatching field service or spare parts required for in-field maintenance. These solutions allow Joy to maintain unrivaled levels of machine availability and reliability.

In-house facilities

Joy Global has two world class manufacturing facilities in South Africa where they literally manufacture and assemble everything in house. Cilli says, These facilities are the mark of true OEM (original equipment manufacturer). We do everything in house in order to control our exacting quality of our equipment required to meet the rigors of the mining industry.

The company designs, manufactures locally and assembles in house. This allows them to lower costs for its customers because it is able to directly purchase the raw materials required plus manage supply chain strategies that make sure every input is as low as possible, while maintaining a high standard of excellence. We are very proud of our quality as it is very important that if you are designing a piece of equipment that you have all the quality in place that once you start assembling the equipment, everything works together, says Cilli. You have to remember that the product has to work in the most robust conditions in the world. Coal mining operates 365 days a year and this equipment is operating every minute of the day. There is no down time tolerated for our equipment.

Because the equipment needs to be of the highest standard Cilli notes how important it is to have state-of-the-art machinery for the industry. At its two facilities, Joy Global’s incorporates engineering, supply chain and manufacturing for both the opencast and underground product lines.

Employees and customers

Joy Global recognizes the importance of strong employee relationships and is committed to its employees growth and training. Our employees go through a lot of training. We retain the best of the best in the market place. People want to work for Joy Global and the people who join the company stay for a very long time, says Cilli. We are a demanding, fast-paced technology-type company, working in a professional organization with professional ethics. We believe in attracting talent and developing that talent. Joy Global is a large organization and we expose our people to different types of local and global experiences that allow them to grow and get promoted within the organization which further develops their skills and managerial abilities.

The company also invests heavily into product research and design and listens to the customer’s wants and needs. We look at the factors that really drive our customers profitability; we listen to what our customers are telling us. Safety is our primary focus and how it changes the playing field for our customers is important, says Cilli.

From its new innovative projects and state-of-the art mining facilities coupled with its new venture as Joy Global (Africa), the company is on its way to making huge waves in the industry. It has already made its mark as one of the leading equipment and services organizations and will continue to do so with its innovation and commitment to South Africa.

Driving socio-economic development to achieve excellence

The company focuses on Skills Development, Procurement, Employment Equity, Enterprise Development and Social and Economic Development in the line with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Codes of Good Practice. We have a Level 6 BBBEE scorecard and will be at least Level 5 when re-assessed in November More importantly, we are a recognised value adding BBBEE company and through this, we are meeting the country’s needs for resources, skilled manpower and transformation, states Cillie. This value is amplified by the more than 70 per cent of content procured locally from South African suppliers; this is where the real value and contribution to the RSA economy takes place. We hope the Mining Charter will in future be revised to enable recognition of Multi-National Capital Equipment manufacturers that create such significant value and invest in Southern Africa.

The retention and growth of our South African manufacturing and technology footprint is far more valuable than the model and trend adopted by many multinational capital equipment manufacturers . Maintaining this will be a challenge, especially in the face of general inflation, labour inflation and other perceived socio-political risks associated with the region.

An integral part of Joy’s social commitments are Social Economic Development projects. Joy Global supports the Mbalenhle Pre-Primary and Day Care School in Katlehong on the East Rand in Gauteng, which looks after approximately 500 children during the day.

Joy Global recently entered into a partnership with Xstrata South Africa to support the Hope & Homes for Children project, providing orphaned children in the eMalahleni region with a better life by enabling them to grow up and fulfil their potential within the love of a family and the security of a home, says Cillie.
According to Cillie, Joy Global exceeds the expectations of the B-BBEE codes in its social economic development by adding enormous value. We are working in an emerging market with specific conditions, and companies often focus on the negative side of this instead of realising that there are so many positive things that can be done. By driving service excellence in not only our operations but also our people, we achieve world class capabilities that are comparable to the best.