Based on article published in the November/December issue of ERJ.
London - While the mining industry goes through a multi-year low across the globe, a number of expansion projects by heavy conveyor belt producers brought a glimmer of hope for recovery.
Hanover, Germany-based ContiTech AG announced in October that it was expanding its conveyor belt operation in Morocco to handle a growing phosphate market.
In cooperation with state-owned phosphate producer OCP SA, the company has begun constructing a new production plant in Jorf Lasfar that is expected to span 66,000 square feet on a 247,570 sq.-ft. plot of land, creating more 120 jobs.
ContiTech expects to complete construction of the factory and add new and used machinery by mid-2016.
Meanwhile, the Vienna-based Semperit group also opened a new E40-million production unit at its conveyor belting facility in Belchatow, Poland, in late September.
The producer of Sempertans products said the new capacity, which has already been utilised, was created “due to strong sales activities and high demand for products”.
Bełchatów is the largest production facility for conveyor belts in Europe and specialises in manufacturing heavy-duty steel cord and textile conveyor belts, according to Semperit.
According to CEO Thomas Fahnemann, Semperit managed to “continuously” gain market share in an “overall difficult economic environment”.
Also, Bridgestone started production of conveyor belts at its manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand, in July.
According to the Japanese company, the belts are to be used in industries such as mining, steel, and electric power, and will be shipped primarily to Australia, the Americas and Asia.
In the face of market decline, Bridgestone said it was working on the development and promotion of “business solutions initiatives,” which could support the economic and safety aspects of materials-handling operations.
A recent report by Future Market Insights predicted that within the next decade, Asia Pacific, including China and India, would dominate global demand for belts.
According to the report, the market is fragmented and dominated by regional players and is characterised by a high degree of competition.
Players, said the report, compete on their pricing strategy as well as product differentiation to manufacture customised conveyor belts for varied purposes at low cost.
The developments come at a time when leading London-based manufacturer Fenner PLC has announced major restructuring and 300 job-cuts across its UK, China and US businesses, partly as a result of the mining slowdown.