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Most heavy machinery and equipment used for quarrying require the use of hydraulic hoses. If a hose blows at a crucial moment in the working day, it can set the operation back by hours, or sometimes days. Still, many quarries choose a reactive approach when it comes to repair and maintenance of hydraulic hoses, which can lead to significant downtime.
BOA Hydraulics, a progressive hydraulic hose solution company, is determined to change that. The company’s BOApod is a mobile, all-weather hose repair unit that can be used to assemble hydraulic hoses onsite, following the same principles used in original manufacturing facilities.
The BOApod is integrated tightly with the BOAhub app inventory management and reordering application, giving customers an autonomous solution to repair and maintain their hydraulic hoses onsite.
THE BIRTH OF BOAPOD
The chief executive officer and co-founder of BOA Hydraulics, Simon Boakes said the idea for BOApod came as a result of years of experience, observing “the norm” in hydraulic hose repair and a mission to “find a better way.”
“As a company, we are passionate about increasing productivity in the primary industry. We think hydraulic hose blow outs are a much bigger issue than most people realise. With so much demand for primary products, untimely hose failures can limit the production capacity significantly,” he said.
Research by the University of Wollongong suggests that in a surface mining operation, the unscheduled downtime due to a hose can reach up to 37 per cent of the entire unscheduled downtime for a prime mover hydraulic shovel.
BOA Hydraulic estimates that the numbers are roughly the same for quarrying operations. Since early 2000, Simon and co-director and brother Greg, have had an ear out in the hydraulics industry.
With over 55 years’ collective experience and a background in the auto electrical market, they heard one common message from their customers, which was that hydraulic machinery users felt they were being penalised with downtime.
“We thought there must be a better, more cost-effective way to address hose failures pro-actively, rather than reactively. It was this idea of increasing hydraulic uptime that gave birth to the BOApod,” said Greg.
The innovation from BOA is an all-terrain mobile hydraulic hose repair and maintenance facility, which houses European precision crimping and cutting machinery along with quality matched hose and fittings, delivered with all the tools and training needed to repair and maintain hydraulic hoses onsite.
The BOApod has evolved over the years, going through several iterations to add additional features depending on the customers’ needs. Additional elements such as solar panel charging, remote controlled hose reel system, underbody drawer and toolbox, contamination free hose measuring and cutting surface along with accessories to run a proactive preventative maintenance program ensure error-free hose repair.
“What we want is that anybody, with minimal experience, can assemble a hose as though it was done in a factory,” said Simon. “Of course, we are not downplaying the safety aspect. What we are providing is a facility that enables people to use the specifications provided by hose and crimp manufacturers to create fool- proof hoses onsite.”
BOA has also successfully launched an app called the BOAhub, which helps with all of the processes around self-sufficient onsite hose manufacturing, inventory management, and easy re-ordering features, allowing technology to play a part in this journey.
THE BOA MODEL
One of the strategies at BOA is to make hydraulic hose repair available to everyone. As such, the company uses a subscription model where users can obtain a BOApod unit with minimal upfront investment and enjoy ongoing support and training from experienced BOA technicians.
“Our training is a key part of our solution,” said Greg. “We have a certified training program endorsed by German company Uniflex-Hydralik to deliver a world-class hydraulic training program to our customers and make sure what they are doing it up to a very high standard. It’s part of the turnkey solution that we offer. We can even provide re-training to our customers as more staff come on board.”
Following its initial success in New Zealand since 2014, BOA started introducing the BOApod units in Australia some years ago, successfully placing 115 units in remotely located mining, quarrying, forestry and civil operations. The solution, Simon said, has been well received in Australia.
“The feedback we have received is that our unit is delivering even more value to our Australian customers. Because of the vastness of the land, everything is more remote. Some of the people we speak to say that previously, they have had to wait days for their hoses to be repaired,” said Simon.
THE COST OF DOWNTIME
The BOA team also sees environmental benefits in the pro-active repair methodology offered by their solution.
“From an environmental perspective, every time a critical hose fails, it could lead to a 44 gallons drum of oil pouring on the ground. So, it’s not just the cost of the oil that’s lost, but the environmental implications of that are also grave,” said Simon.
To help its customers calculate the real cost of downtime, and the effects on the environment through oil loss, BOA has developed a downtime calculator tool, which anyone can access to see the savings they could make with the BOA solution.
“From our conversations with clients, we found that the downtime consideration wasn’t top of mind, particularly in industries like forestry, civil and quarrying. The reason for developing the downtime calculator was to get people to see there is a real tangible cost to losing time,” Simon said.
“In the example of a quarry in Queensland, they estimate it would cost them up to $50,000 an hour in lost production if they had a machine down. Using one of our BOApod trailers, the customer is saving money by not only not having to wait when replacing one of those hoses, but by replacing hoses before they blow.
“In another example, our customer calculated that he would save up to $950,000 per month by avoiding hose failures based on a saving of $10,000 per hour. His business uses 24 pieces of equipment, and you see how costs can build up in a business of such scale.”
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
According to Simon, BOA Hydraulics will continue to innovate for smart onsite hose solutions. The team is preparing to introduce new capabilities to BOAhub in the near future, which would further streamline its automated ordering and invoicing capabilities, as well as add further quality controls for the repaired hoses.
“What BOA is offering is light years ahead of what you get in the market currently,” said Simon
According to Simon, BOA’s vision is to help companies find a better way of repairing and maintaining hydraulic hoses that helps them improve productivity and self-sufficiency.
“Smart hydraulic hose management is critical if you want to remain competitive and meet supply demands into the future. Don’t be the company that looks back and wishes they had done it two or years ago, because that would be a massive lost opportunity.”
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