June/July 2015

The best in new technology

Compiled by Katelyn Spidle and Michael Yang

◢ Strong, sustainable steel

Steel is found in the construction of almost every vehicle and piece of equipment in the mining industry, and it can be a real competitive factor where structural strength and weight are concerned. With this in mind, SSAB recently launched its Strenx high-strength steel brand designed to help manufacturers produce stronger, lighter, safer and more environmentally sustainable machines. The new brand offers the highest steel yield strength on the market (at 1,300 million pascals) and a variety of dimensions including plate, strip and tubular products ranging from 0.7 to 160 millimetres in thickness for all applications. According to Gregoire Parenty, SSAB’s head of market development, Strenx steel gives companies the opportunity to use thinner sheets to produce lighter products that use less fuel, have higher payloads and generate fewer greenhouse gases, without compromising structural strength.

◢ No bang for your buck

Bringing electronics underground can be dangerous, especially in coal mines where a single spark can ignite an explosion. Therefore, many miners still resort to pen and paper for data collection, routine maintenance checks, and other time-consuming tasks in underground danger zones. To increase efficiency but maintain miner safety, Snively released its new i.roc Mobile Computer. According to Justine Blank, vice-president of Snively, the i.roc’s method of spark-proof encapsulation far exceeds industry standards by reengineering a base digital handheld device that is explosion-proof right at the power source: its lithium-ion battery. It also includes wireless network capabilities, Bluetooth, a Windows operating system, electronic gas detection, and a video/PDF viewer. The mobile computer comes with interchangeable head modules that allow the user to scan data from barcodes and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags directly into its SafeTracker program or other installed software. “The i.roc is very small and lightweight compared to what older methods of encapsulation would’ve been,” said Blank. The device is the first personal digital assistant to pass North American safety regulations for electronic use in methane-rich environments.

◢ Rugged air compression

These days, companies need products that are both eco-friendly and cost effective. Atlas Copco’s newest air compressor, the XAS 185, has an off-road engine that meets Environment Canada’s Interim Tier 4 standards. According to Cormac Kerins, product and business development manager at Atlas Copco, it also has low operating costs and excellent future resale value. A fully automated regulator varies the engine speed according to air demand and the portable compressor’s 20-gallon (roughly 76-litre) fuel tank can last a full eight hours without the need to refill. With a highly durable and weather-resistant polyethylene canopy, the XAS 185 can resist impact and corrosion, minimizing the need for repairs and repainting. “This is something that adds a lot of value for our customers,” Kerins noted. “The unit can take quite a beating without being damaged.”

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