B&E International’s investment in research and development (R&D) is starting to pay off with the development of its own primary crushing plant and the potential for future dry separation technology for coal plants.The company thinks its build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) plants can offer a solution to a number of South Africa coal miners looking to reduce capital spend on infrastructure as the size and lives of their deposits shrink.Ken Basson, Director of Plant and Engineering at B&E International, said: “Our expertise and equipment in crushing and screening takes the capital expenditure pressure off the customer and relieves them of considerable production risk. We can even assume other responsibilities in the value chain, from drilling and blasting to coal conveying and processing.”This allows B&E to flexibly fit in to customer value chains, maximising production performance and machine uptime while taking on the risk of meeting the agreed output targets, according to the company.Basson said: “Our R&D focus has allowed us to develop our own primary coal crushing plant; a high capacity, track mounted unit that is currently under construction and will soon be launched.“The design is aimed at further reducing unit costs that we can achieve when conducting a contract for a customer. Its high-volume capacity means better efficiencies while being able to serve multiple small deposits on the same mine site.”Water conservation in the coal beneficiation process is another element of the company’s R&D. It is exploring practical options for dry separation technology for coal plants, in collaboration with a local university. Traditional water-based coal washing technology is a major consumer of water in mine plants.Process optimisation is also a service B&E provides for customers, based on its years of experience in designing, constructing and operating plants, Basson said.“Whether a project is greenfield or brownfield, we can assist in providing solutions and addressing challenges,” he said. “For existing plants, our engineering team can identify and address constraints in the process – whether the equipment is ours or a competitor’s. We conduct detailed studies on how customers can remove bottlenecks from their plants.”Equipment is designed, built and maintained by B&E International’s experts at its facilities in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa. As a member of JSE-listed Raubex Group, B&E International is B-BBEE-compliant and works closely with mines, project houses and contractors, it said.