Coal Mining: Apex Supporting an industry in decline

The current squeeze on profit margins means operations must be consolidated and savings made

With an annual growth of -4.8% between 2010 and 2015 and a predicted further decline of 3.9% over the next 5 years the coal mining industry is undoubtedly an industry in decline [1]. What is already a highly competitive industry in the UK has been put under extreme pressures from plummeting global coal prices, alternative energy sources and high operating costs [2]. The combination of these factors are consequently leading to a decrease in profit margins and are making it increasingly difficult for industry operators to run a thriving business.

Global coal prices saw a rapid decline during the ‘shale gas boom’ in the US which has seen large amounts of US coal flooding the markets, leaving UK producers unable to compete[3].

On top of changing global markets the greatest requirement for coal in the UK is for use by companies who produce electricity, however this also has been put under threat by renewable, cleaner, carbon neutral energy sources. Bio-energy, onshore and offshore wind farms as well as hydro power will further strain the coal mining industry as electricity companies seek to meet government targets of 15% of the nations energy being produced by renewable sources by 2020.

The current squeeze on profit margins means operations must be consolidated and savings made, it may be impossible to control the markets but it is possible to make significant savings on operating and maintenance costs. Due to the arduous conditions in which coal is mined vital components are subjected to acidic water, abrasive coal dust and high impact from coal itself with some machinery lasting a mere four to eight weeks before succumbing to significant corrosion. This corrosion is not only costly due to repairs but creates downtime and slows production. Here at Apex we seek to provide solutions that will maximise the performance, increase production and importantly drive down unnecessary additional costs. COREX our superior alternative to hard chrome coating is one such solution, by upgrading crucial cylinders with COREX you can make significant savings on downtime, repairs and maintenance costs.

Utilising thermal spraying techniques COREX is able to spray large surface areas with a thicker coating. Not only does this reduce the application time from a full day to within hours but in addition COREX provides a continuous surface preventing the micro-cracks associated with HCP that lead to corrosion. HCP porosity is 5-10% with additional micro-cracks in contrast COREX porosity is less than 1% with NO micro-cracks.

COREX’s extreme hardness 1400Hv and thicker coating ensures increased cylinder life, durability, efficiency and performance. COREX therefore enables machinery to cope with low lubricity fluids or high contamination better than its counterpart HCP. In addition to its other benefits COREX holds an ecological advantage over HCP; HCP produces harmful hexavalent chromium as a by-product. James Oldroyd, Managing Director at Apex Hydraulics said the significant advancement in the industry relied upon the innovation of new technologies such as COREX,

“In response to feedback from our clients we have spent the last 2 years researching and developing a brand new range of cylinder rod coatings that will help increase the lifespan and durability of hydraulic cylinders. As a result we are proud to announce the availability of COREX.’

“Hard chrome plating is the industry standard solution. It offers good all round performance. But where improvements are needed COREX is the superior solution.”

Some of Our sector experience with COREX

To find out more information about our experience of delivering successful projects across a range of operating environments, click on an image below…

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