A heavyweight technology partnership between Murray Engineering, part of the major Byrnecut mining services group, and leading Canadian-based heavy-machine control and automation specialist Hard-Line, has been formally launched, with Murray now providing comprehensive support for Hard-Line products in Australasia, Africa and the Middle East.
Established by former underground mine heavy equipment mechanic, Walter Siggelkow in 1996, Hard-Line has worked with some of the world’s top mining companies to deliver safe, reliable equipment control solutions. Today the company has more than 130 employees working mainly across the Americas to support Siggelkow’s “boots on the ground” approach to developing and supplying advanced control technology. “That is partly why we have partnered with Murray Engineering,” says the founder. “We prefer to have that direct, local presence and Murray certainly provides that for us now in territories where we have not had it before.”
Murray Engineering has a nationwide presence in Australia and recently established an offshore base in Mongolia. Through its connection with Byrnecut, it has provided services in Africa and Europe. As a leading underground mining contractor in the large Australian hard-rock market, and also in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world, Byrnecut has been at the forefront of applying modern remote control and teleremote control systems as it continues to set new standards in mine safety and productivity.
Murray Engineering managing director Craig Lindsay-Rae says the development and application of technology is a laudable milestone achieved by many companies. But few sustain their leadership through good support. “With automation being applied to our systems across many continents and the successful operations of the mines being dependent on this technology, the support from the technology developer is paramount,” Lindsay-Rae says. “Our technology partner clearly differentiates in this area, providing at-the-face engineering. It is refreshing to work with a partner who recognizes that the application of technology is not homogeneous and has adapted programs according to different geographical locations.”
Hard-Line has sustained a strong focus on hardware and software R&D to build its technology advantage. It has completed automation, tele-operation and radio remote control projects involving drills, trucks, rock breakers, LHDs, dozers, trains and a range of utility and specialized machines. “Hard-Line’s flexibility has always been a differentiator,” says Siggelkow. “We are the manufacturer of the technology; we do all the design, software development and R&D. It gives us the ability to customize the technology to suit our customer’s specific needs, and production goals. We train their people to optimist the use of the technology, to increase throughput, safely and efficiently, and increase asset utilization”.
Murray Engineering’s Lindsay-Rae says the company’s partner selection process involved thorough due diligence. Hard-Line’s investment in cutting-edge 3D technology as the basis of system control, plus its investment in in-house manufacturing of printed circuit boards, were key elements that made it a standout.
Siggelkow says Hard-Line has worked with partners, such as Murray Engineering, to ensure its products meet all local regulations and standards. “We are excited about this partnership,” he says. “The company and its internal R&D team have been collaborating with a range of parties on the next generation of advanced control systems for mining. We will continue to work with the industry and our partners to ensure a safe and productive work environment.”