Pilot Crushtec International has always been open about its policies and operations, not to mention meticulous in the organisation of its events and Thursday 19 October 2017 was no exception. The Open Day 2017 aimed to bring customers and friends together for the opportunity to meet Pilot Crushtec’s key suppliers as well as its own people who they engage with on a regular basis.

Two new products were launched to customers at the open day, including the Pilot Modular MAXIscalp 600 designed and built in house to meet high volume scalping needs, and the Metso Nordplant C80 primary crushing station, which is intended for use in modular configurations.

Sandro Scherf, CEO of Pilot Crushtec took the opportunity to speak informally, giving a frank appraisal of where the industry finds itself in 2017, its problems and future opportunities.

Sandro ScherfPilot Crushtec International CEO Sandro Scherf.

“There no getting away from the fact that the last few years have been tough, and in South Africa this is still the case. It has to be said that local business remains affected by the current political climate, yet the global market for crushing and screening equipment is well on the road to recovery and in some instances, is doing exceptionally well.

“Current Metso experience is that their factories are working at high capacity in the US, Australia and Asia and while European demand is on a gradual upswing, the South African market is lagging behind these trends in terms of sales of new equipment; however, we are enjoying increasing business and enquiries from neighbouring states, including Zambia, the DRC, Namibia, Zimbabwe,” he says.

Staying with exports, Scherf says the Australasian market now accounts for 80% of category sales which includes first sales to operators in New Zealand of Pilot Modular equipment.

Metso Lokotrack LTG1000 Cone crusher The Metso Lokotrack LTG1000 cone crusher.

He took the opportunity to reveal the background behind two major shifts in the company marketing activities: The first – a dramatic increase in the sale of spare parts and components accompanied by a rise in requests for the refurbishment of used machines. Spares sales and marketing now fall within the remit of a dedicated division assisted in no small measure by the gain of the Metso franchise.

“Pilot Crushtec International’s fabrication arm, Pilot MacFab, is being scaled upward to match demand. Despite the market being awash with pirate parts, a great deal of hard work has ensured that ex-works prices remain within 10% of lookalike offerings.” The spares market is all about availability and Scherf estimates the value of Pilot Crushtec’s spare and wear parts current stockholding at around R140-million, managed by an advanced control system.

Pilot Modular GFH560 and MC13600Picture shows the Pilot Modular GFH560; MC13600 conveyor and the 2412 Double Deck screen.

Describing the added value the company has gained since its alignment with Metso, he says: “It’s a very good company, very technically minded, incredibly supportive and our goals are aligned. For example, the distributor manager spends two weeks of every month based at our offices and we have a full-time Metso product support specialist based permanently at our offices; something which I think is phenomenal. Another aspect of their technical assistance is the Bruno software simulation package which enables us to accurately predict the results of a machine or train of machines across a given range of applications.”

Proof of the rapport that exists between customer and supplier was shown in September when Pilot Crushtec International received the award for ‘best new service distributor’ at Metso’s inaugural global distributor conference.

The open day was well supported by senior members of the Metso management team who expressed their complete confidence in their regional distributor.

“The best partner we want to have is Pilot. We have allied philosophies, especially a commitment to service and support,” says Adrian Wood, Metso’s VP Global Distribution.

Josh Meyer, senior VP Africa and Middle East Sales, says he has seen people totally committed to a partnership that will create a better dealer infrastructure absolutely fundamental to the Metso corporate identity.