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New US territory for Mr Blade programme

Mr Blade

Martin Engineering’s managed services for conveyor maintenance introduced to Mid-Atlantic region

THE use of factory-trained, OSHA- and MSHA-certified experts for maintenance of bulk handling systems has taken another step forward in the US with the establishment of Martin Engineering’s newest Mr Blade territory, serving the Mid-Atlantic region.

Introduced in 2015, the network is a unique factory-direct service programme, delivering replacement belt cleaner blades, air cannon valves and other Martin products, specified and custom fitted on site and installed free of charge. Martin service technicians will replace the main frame and tensioner of any belt cleaner as needed – also at no charge – as part of the Mr Blade service relationship.

Martin provide the assurance of accurately sized and professionally installed replacement blades that are matched to the specific application, providing optimum cleaning performance and service life. The company ensures customer satisfaction with its exclusive Forever Guarantee, which specifies that users will experience better cleaning, longer service life and lowest cost of ownership.

Initial targets for the new territory will be facilities producing or handling sand, aggregate or cement. ‘Plants in just about every industry are being asked to do more with limited resources,’ explained senior customer support specialist Marty Smith.

‘Maintenance personnel often don’t have the time or training to safely and efficiently perform belt cleaner inspections or air cannon service when needed. Customers really appreciate having a dedicated technician who makes regular visits, so employees can focus on core business activities. Their conveyors become one less thing they have to worry about.’

Alan Highton, national sales manager for wear components, agreed: ‘Shifting the responsibility to a trusted partner through this kind of service relationship is one way that bulk handlers can continue to streamline their operations, improving the performance and safety of their bulk handling systems at the same time.  Unlike most suppliers, we have chosen not to use third-party service providers, who typically don’t have the specific expertise to optimize these systems.

‘The idea behind the Mr Blade programme is to deliver an unequalled level of service using highly efficient, regionalized systems,’ Mr Highton explained. ‘Our technicians really get to know the conveyors they’re visiting, and with the monitoring systems we now have in place, we’re able to deliver proactive service in advance of a breakdown, replacing worn or failing components before they lead to an event that stops production.’

The company is also taking steps to help customers whose facilities have limited access during the virus pandemic by partnering with their maintenance staffs to remotely train employees to effectively maintain their conveyor systems, offering guidelines on preventive maintenance, inspections and replacement blade ordering.  Factory-direct technicians remain in close contact with periodic check-ins and provide key parameters to assure optimum performance.

As part of the Mr Blade service, Martin will install their Position Indicators on every primary cleaner free of charge to deliver remote monitoring for qualifying customers, allowing technicians and operations personnel to access detailed information on conditions and remaining service life via Wi-Fi or cell phone.

The monitoring system alerts service personnel when re-tensioning or replacement is required, or when abnormal conditions occur. Also included are regularly scheduled inspections, adjustment and blade replacement, as required, on all Martin belt cleaning systems, as well as the company’s multi-point Walk-the-Belt audits based on worldwide best practices. All services are covered by the price of components, with no contract required.

The new Mid-Atlantic territory will cover five states: Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. The company has begun serving customers with two technicians in specially equipped vans, each outfitted with a fresh supply of 8ft blade lengths and equipped with a band saw, milling machine and all tools required to achieve a custom fit, accurate installation and precise tensioning.

The vans are designed as mobile business units, with technicians able to electronically enter and update data on each customer’s system at their site. With a lifetime record of all belt cleaning equipment, customers will have access to details on the mounting assembly, tensioner and blade wear life, along with total annual cost information for budgeting purposes.

‘Consistent attention to the cleaners helps deliver maximum performance and wear life, minimizing component failures and unscheduled shutdowns,’ added Marty Smith. ‘And if there is a breakdown, service is available from MSHA-certified technicians capable of repairing any brand or style of cleaner. We can even supply retrofit blades to fit belt cleaners from any manufacturer.’

‘With all of the everyday operations going on, being in the Mr Blade programme means our systems are constantly monitored, and we get regular visits to inspect and service our bulk handling systems,’ said a maintenance supervisor at one US customer. ‘It’s one less thing that I have to keep up with, while battling all of the other everyday issues that may arise. It’s also nice knowing that I have a local technician who is just a phone call away and already knows my facility.’

The new territory is part of a larger initiative to deliver factory-direct service to customers around the world. The Mr Blade programme is currently up and running in the US, UK and Italy, with additional launches planned for next year. The company estimates that it is currently responsible for about 10,000 conveyor belts worldwide as part of its managed services programme.

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