Sandvik Construction undoubtedly occupies a position of world beating proportion with its unfaltering commitment to innovation, health and safety and sustainability
When last featured in November 2014, Sandvik Construction’s focus was set firmly on continuous innovation and product development. Nearly a year on and the same story is true. “Sandvik possess a proud history of engineering excellence, which, when combined with a long standing emphasis on R&D and a global focus on our customers’ real requirements, has enabled us to bring new products to market rapidly in the last 12 months,” begins Senior Manager within Sandvik Construction, Pekka Nieminen. “Each of our product lines has seen some greatnew additions to our offering including the CH550 and CH540 cone crushers, DX drills, DG drills and rock tools, as well as new generation impactors, mobile screens and breakers. We have also placed great emphasis on being at the forefront of health and safety issues. For instance, a new rig safety standard, EN16228, came into force in December 2014 with its implementation being given top priority.”
Innovation is at the heart of Sandvik and a customer focus is central to driving this forward. “The basic demand has not changed for us,” says Pekka. “That is to produce more with less cost and to improve the overall excavation process. Consequently, this is fuelling our R&D work, making innovation the corner stone of the business.” As if to demonstrate this ongoingcommitment, in May 2015 the company launched a new tunnelling jumbo, the DT922i. This is a fully automated electrohydraulic two-boom tunnelling jumbo with new articulated carrier and offers unique intelligence, true power and ultimate versatility to handle any tunnelling job demanded of it.
“The brand new cabin of this machine is a good example of our continuous R&D work to create more comfortable and safe working environments. The new cabin comes with improved ergonomics and maximised safety as the new design delivers 25 per cent greater visibility, reduced dust levels and provides more operator space,” outlines Pekka. “Most importantly, it keeps the noise levels under 69dB at all times. It also has a new user interface with touch screen, which is easy to work with and displays comprehensive diagnostics with all drilling and carrier parameters split into logical subsystems on one display.”
Another important driver for Sandvik is health and safety. “From our point of view it is essential to be able to bring high quality products to market that comply with, or exceed safety standards in all areas,” explains Pekka. “However, we don’t only want to comply with these standards, instead we want to be proactive in their development. Thus we have set up a special team that is responsible for the safety engineering during product development.” Demonstrating this adherence, when the EN 16228 standards were introduced in December last year, Sandvik took appropriate steps to embrace the new advancements by introducing safety cages around drilling beams and reducing the risk of fire by fitting protective sleeves over hydraulic hoses in coolers and the power pack.
Moreover, true to its vision, the company has taken its commitment one step further with the introduction of a full radio remote control option for its Ranger DX and DQ series surface top hammer drill rigs. “This results in a modern outlook, improved drilling efficiency with lower fuel consumption and enhanced safety even in the toughest of terrain,” notes Pekka. The new and highly innovative radio control feature, which was launched at the start of 2015, has been designed specifically with safety in mind. Also bringing productivity benefits to the range, the control system allows the operator to handle tasks from a safe distance away, thereby improving the productivity as the operator possesses clear visibility of the undercarriage and winch control at all times.
As the number of innovations and product developments under Sandvik’s belt grows, so too does its project list. The company recently announced that 13 of the 19 roadheader units required for the NorthConnex highway tunnel project in Sydney, Australia will be supplied by Sandvik. It has also delivered three new nextgeneration DI550 drill rigs to BAM Ritchies’ UK drill and blast operation to be used on a number of major quarrying contracts throughout the north of England and Scotland.
“The global economic condition is still in many ways challenging, but we believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Pekka, commenting on current market conditions. “European markets have stayed relatively flat, but the recovered US market has created demand for our products. With this in mind, our focus over the next 12 months is to do a better job everyday for our customers and make sure we are not missing out on chances to serve growing pockets across our markets. Vitally, we are keen to improve levels of service to our existing customers who have proven to be very loyal even during the toughest times.”
With a continuous drive for innovation in safety, quality and sustainability defining Sandvik’s success up to the present day, the long-term vision is unsurprisingly modelled on carrying this tradition on to become a truly world leading and modern company. “Our focus is to create the right product and service packages that help our customers to maximise their business performance, be it productivity, cost efficiency or profitability,” concludes Pekka. “If we manage to continue with this and it is met with customers’ acceptance, we feel that growth will come from our in-built customer focus.”
Services: Leading producer of specialist mining and construction equipment