Day two of Electra Mining Africa focused on the launch of new technology and innovations at the show. More than 60 products were reviewed across three categories. Kal Tire's Gravity Assist System (GAS) received top honours in the category of International Mechanical and Technology Innovation, mainly for its simplicity and effectiveness.
The average mining tyre has a lot of lug nuts. Until now, support for the hefty 36-kilogram torque gun came through the sheer brawn of the tyre technician. Today, the GAS essentially renders the activity and the torque gun ‘weightless,' making the process much more safer, efficient and precise. The system reduces common risks associated with torque gun tasks, including pinched fingers, muscle strain and fatigue.
"When I reviewed the Gravity Assist System, I was taken aback at not only the simplicity of the machine, but how robust and effective it will be for tyre technicians on mine sites," says Eric Bruggeman, CEO SA Capital Equipment Export Council and judge of all the products. "For decades these technicians have been suffering injuries and strains related to managing very heavy tools, the GAS is one of those things that makes you say, ‘Why hasn't this been invented before?'"
This is the first year Electra Mining Africa is launching these awards to recognize new technology and innovations coming from both within South Africa and internationally.
"We are very excited that our latest innovation, the Gravity Assist System, has once again received this level of recognition," says Peter Nilsson, innovation and R&D manager, Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group. "We have a strong team who continually assess and develop ideas that are sent to us from our team members on mine sites looking for better solutions."
Early 2016, the Gravity Assist System also received an award from a leading international mining magazine.
"Investing in innovation at Kal Tire means we are developing practical solutions that not only improve the safety of how our teams work but also provide opportunities for vehicles to spend less time in tyre bays," says Dan Allan, senior vice president, Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group. "Our intent is to continually invest in innovation that brings new products and solutions to our customers that help to increase efficiency, productivity and safety."
Kal Tire's Innovation Centre in Canada has now created several exclusive and patented products that have been launched and field-tested in Canada, South America, Australia and Africa.
"There were many factors that contributed to Kal Tire winning this award," says Bruggeman. "I looked at the safety aspect, the cost, the innovation, but it was also Peter Nilsson's knowledge and passion for what they developed that I found very impressive."