Flexco’s universal lightweight pole, CoreTech rollers and Flex-Lifter all share the sentiment of being safe and viable options for conveying applications.
There is a strong focus for ensuring the safety of both worker and machine in a mining operation.
Injured personnel and machine downtime can reap significant impacts on productivity, causing losses to profit and output.
For example, a worker injury can stop an operation entirely due to internal and external safety implications, so mine sites must be vigilant in preventing any potential hazards before they happen.
Flexco Australia recognises this, as the company pushes for safer mining operations with its range of equipment.
On-site conveying applications are particularly hazardous, which is why Flexco’s universal lightweight pole, CoreTech Rollers and Flex-Lifter all ensure safer operations around hazardous plant and equipment – even during maintenance processes.
“The entire Flexco business is based around safety as our most important deliverable for our customers and internally in our business as well,” Flexco Australia product and marketing manager Ellaina Mackay tells Australian Mining.
Flexco has an internal company vision of safety and quality being the most important factors that drive all facets of its business.
“As a product manager, my primary focus is striving to make products that are easier and safer to use for our customers,” Mackay says.
To further its grasp on its customer base, Flexco has conducted research into work-related injuries in Australia.
“The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) tells us that 27 per cent of workplace injuries are from lifting, pushing or pulling an object,” Mackay says.
“That’s just one of the many statistics that we’ve found proving that lifting is one of the most common injuries in any industry, especially in mining. It’s something that we’re really working to mitigate.”
One simple strategy that Flexco has adopted to reduce lifting-related injuries is to shave the weight off its products.
The Flexco universal lightweight pole is up to 60 per cent lighter than regular steel cleaner poles.
This allows the pole to be safer to use for workers while maintaining adequate pole strength for conveyor belt cleaning applications.
According to Mackay, the idea sprouted from Flexco’s focus on the customer.
“We started developing this with a key client due to weight being a significant safety issue,” Mackay says.
By offering a nimbler and more manoeuvrable product, the universal lightweight pole has prevented customers from risking any physical injuries when carrying heavy equipment.
“With our lightweight pole, our customers were really impressed that we could take so much of the weight from a standard cleaner pole,” Mackay says.
“People installing them were really happy as well. They went from having to carry a 60-kilogram pole to a 20-kilogram pole.”
“It’s obviously a big benefit to anyone that has to work with these products.”
Flexco’s focus on weight reduction continues with its CoreTech rollers, which are made from a lightweight, corrosion abrasion material that provides more durability than traditional rollers.
They are offered in both HDPE (high density polyethylene) and nylon options, both delivering a more reliable and lighter solution than their steel alternatives. By offering a more durable roller, less changeouts are required, thus reducing the frequency of needing to put a worker at risk when manually changing the product.
When the roller does require a changeout, its lighter weight ensures that the replacement is easier, safer and more efficient.
“We brought this product to market a number of years ago and we saw huge potential for nylon and HDPE rollers to combat the functionality and safety aspects of steel rollers,” Mackay says.
The CoreTech rollers also operate much quieter than their steel counterparts, ensuring noise levels are at a safer level.
Flexco’s Flex-Lifter enhances maintenance safety by preventing manual handling of conveyor belts.
Instead of using pry bars and manual lifting, the Flex-Lifter features adjustable wings to lift troughed or flat topside belts in a simple manner.
Flexco prides itself on performing thorough tests on all new products ensuring they’re certified for Australian safety standards.
The company’s research and development (R&D) process also focuses on testing its products to guarantee they are suitable for Australian mining environments.
“Our research and development process is quite rigorous. We don’t bring anything to market until we’ve tested it internally and also tested it on our customer’s conveyors as well,” Mackay says.
“Before it’s available to the mass market, these products have been so heavily tested that we know they will perform in the harshest Australian mining conditions.
“We like to pride ourselves in the focus we place on research, development and testing of our products.”
This story also appears in the June 2021 issue of Australian Mining.