Carriere Industrial Supply – Solid Wear Resistance

Carriere Industrial Supply is a global manufacturer of equipment and wear parts that are engineered to outlast and outperform – much valued attributes in the mining industry.

Carriere Industrial Supply Limited (CIS) has decades of experience in manufacturing and delivering cost-effective wear products and services to the mining industry, as well as to other sectors. Founded in 1964 by Armand Carriere in Cobalt, Ontario, the company first specialised in wear solutions for the surface mining operations of the Adams and Sherman iron ore mines. In 1983, the company opened a branch in Sudbury and consolidated its operations there, focusing on wear solutions for the underground operations of the Sudbury area mines.

While the initial focus was on distribution, in the early 1990s CIS expanded into the manufacturing of value-added products and services providing innovative solutions for both wear liner material and bucket design. Today its customer service, along with its manufacturing capabilities, enable the company to meet the increasing demands of Canadian markets outside of north-eastern Ontario, as well as those overseas.

General Manager Mickey Obradovich explains that the family-owned business has gone through multiple milestones that have helped the company to grow. In the 1980s and 1990s, CIS revolutionised the hard-rock mining industry with the introduction of the first mechanical load haul dump (LHD) buckets. Since then, the company has delivered many innovative solutions, backed by best-in-class equipment management software and service.

CIS’s product portfolio is divided into four main groupings, the largest being customised mechanical LHD buckets that are modularly assembled on-site; mining truck bodies and wear liners to protect the material handling infrastructure. Decades of innovation have resulted in creating the lightest, most robust, and best-performing underground load haul dump buckets in today’s mining industry.

CIS also has a long-standing reputation as the leading expert in equipment linings and wear protection. All its designs incorporate industry-leading wear-resistant materials that enhance performance and extend service life.

Proven resistance

“We focus on wear and the bulk of our manufacturing is based on that focus. Wear liners vary in size and configuration, specific to each piece of equipment that needs cladding. New equipment is custom-designed with considerations made regarding the material being mined, material impact, abrasion, weight, and access for routine inspections,” explains Mr Obradovich.

He points out that as opposed to the past, when short term cost was a key issue, customers’ prime concern now is equipment reliability and long-term savings. “Concerning fabrication, we focus on abrasion and durability and try to find the right solution for the component in question. Being able to actively handle materials is one of the main focuses that most of the miners have right now, so we develop different products for different types of mining and try to make the designs complementary to the functionality of the solutions that the miners are looking for.”

CIS puts a great focus on both engineering and data capture, which is also one of the company’s differentiators. The company has some 25-30 years’ worth of measurement data that has been generated from its extensive work and captured in software programs developed in-house.

For example, the company’s Wearmaps is wear-liner mapping software that provides circuit flow mapping, equipment wear liner arrangements, detail shop drawings, and usage analytics derived from the sales history. Bucketwear, another software system developed in-house, similarly maps the mobile equipment circuit per mine site, and provides details on the life cycle and maintenance predictability on a mining bucket.

“We are helping tech companies connect with the mining industry. Because of our history and experience in the mining sector as well as the proprietary software we have embodied in our products, we can provide valuable information which the tech companies do not possess. We have a pretty broad group of programmers in-house, which allows us not only to speak their language but also to add value to their software-based products,” says Mickey Obradovich.

Investing in development

It is not just the innovative focus and extensive experience that set the company apart, he points out. “Our key competitive advantage is our people. We have a culture of creating what is best for our customers and of working with them as if their operation is part of ours. This culture has been supported not just by investment in new products and manufacturing techniques but also in the development of our people, to grow with the business.”

Mr Obradovich acknowledges that from the operational perspective, the company has not been particularly affected by Covid-19 and following the introduction of safety protocols has successfully maintained its manufacturing capability, while the sales team have had to adapt to digital communication. “Not seeing clients face-to-face is not ideal, but we continue to grow and I’m proud of our team who did extremely well in these difficult circumstances and have relatively quickly overcome the challenges.”

He affirms that the company is set to face the new opportunities emerging from the market changes. To this end, CIS has recently invested heavily in automation. Further investment is expected to go into four robotic cells designed to increase automation and support the company in its efforts to produce and commercialise new products, as well as to improve product quality and reduce environmental impact. The plant is also in the initial stages of expansion, to be completed over the next two years.

“A lot is going on, we need to meet the need and the only way we can do it is through automation and fabrication expansion,” says Mr Obradovich. “We see a lot of traditional mining projects in the general vicinity (which, in Canadian terms, means a 3,000 km radius) and a lot of development and exploration projects now getting green lights for production. We will be part of that development.”

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