On any day, the demands of Australian mining are among the toughest in the world. Thankfully, AllightSykes creates its mine spec lighting towers, generators and pumps to endure more so mine operators endure less.
Mining operations can ill afford unscheduled downtime because the lights have gone out or the water cannot be pumped.
Thankfully, the executive team at AllightSykes combines for over 100 years of experience in mining, construction, oil, gas and power, which reflects in the quality they provide globally.
AllightSykes chief executive officer Gus Elliot has worked across these industries for more than 22 years. He says understanding the importance of reliable products for AllightSykes customers is critical to its operations.
“Manufacturing pumps and lighting towers in Australia and distributing on a global scale is something that we’re incredibly proud of as a business,” Elliot tells Australian Mining.
“As an Australian company, selling into that global resource sector is something that we know recognises the reliability and quality of Australian-made product. The international market recognises the Australian mining sector as tough, arid and hard-wearing, and our products are designed and built for that.
“We have a well-defined strategic growth plan over the next five years that will see growth in our current areas of operation, which include Africa, the Middle East, Asia, North and South America, New Zealand and Australia.”
AllightSykes is also the official distributor for Perkins engines, which can be found in all of its pumps, gensets and lighting towers. This is something customers value in AllightSykes products, according to Elliot.
“Perkins is a Caterpillar-owned company, so it’s backed and supported with a highly reliable and efficient engine, and we support them across all of our national branches,” he says.
“That gives a surety of supply and a reliability of quality, and if there’s ever an issue, you’ll be dealing with AllightSykes.”
Bespoke auxiliary equipment
AllightSykes’ general manager for pumps Glen Priestley says, “the Sykes brand – the pumps part of the business – is a well-known, well-established brand that’s been around for decades, and we’ve stayed true to that.”
“As mines have gotten deeper, we’ve provided products that can handle the tougher pumping conditions associated.”
Being an onshore factory, AllightSykes can respond fast and reliably with a range of auxiliary equipment. Priestley says AllightSykes’ ability to produce a well-customisable solution is a major drawcard.
“Certainly, the miners will come to us with requirements for their specific site needs, and we’re always willing to accommodate. That could be anything from the materials of construction on the pumps, to where they want the flashing lights,” he says.
“It’ll still be our base product, but it will can be heavily optioned up depending on the specific customer requirements and desires.”
Aussie OEM obstacles
As with all growing businesses, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for AllightSykes. Maintaining a manufacturing presence in Australia, where little manufacturing takes place, has been a tall order.
Latif Ahmad found his first job in Australia at Allight 16 years ago, before it combined with Sykes. Now, as the general manager for light and power at AllightSykes, Ahmad can reflect on how the challenges were overcome.
He says the company has come a long way in how it focuses on manufacturing, benefiting the quality of its products on the market.
“We’ve brought on good disciplines and initiatives from the automotive industry, as people have come along to bring new ideas to how we operate,” Ahmad says.
“With two well established manufacturing facilities we maintain a strong footprint here in Australia.
“The challenge has been trying to find, through our supply chains, smart ways to keep that Australian manufacturing going so that we can put our hand on our hearts and say, ‘this is an Australian-made product’ which services global mining requirements.”
Elliot says the challenges of technological, safety and engineering innovations have allowed the company to remain “at the leading edge of light towers.”
The gateway to Perkins
Of course, no manufacturer would be complete without a reliable aftermarket support network. General manager of AllightSykes aftersales Lee Shillam says the services, parts and distribution departments allow the company to maintain a global presence, 24/7, across all of its brands, with a focus on Australia for Perkins engines and FG Wilson generators.
Such breadth of distribution covers both the rental and hire market, and the larger mining market.
“Most of our work is in and around domestic construction and hire markets, from a service point of view. In the mining side, parts are supplied for all the major mining companies,” Shillam says.
The advantage of an official Perkins distributor is you know you’ll receive unrivalled, reliable parts, according to Shillam.
“Our design is probably the main advantage of our parts supply. For our pumps, they’re designed and manufactured by us, so our aftersales advantage is in that genuine parts component,” Shillam says.
“We are the gateway to the Perkins engines product. If you buy any Perkins engines product in Australia it will have come through us. The advantage is the unrivalled level of parts and aftersales support.”
Priestley and Elliot agree that the company’s products have been known to last well past their target lifetimes, even in harsh environments, particularly when looked after with genuine parts and aftersales support.
“We work with our customers with their safety requirements in mind. We’re not cutting corners and our products last years, not months,” Priestley says.
Lighting the way forward
While the future remains uncertain at the best of times, all four AllightSykes representatives agree that environmental targets will play a major role in the development of the company and those it serves.
“Some miners have some impressive targets over the next seven to 10 years, so we’re looking at those solutions now – zero-diesel, as an example,” Ahmad says.
AllightSykes keeps sustainable targets in mind, not only in how it benefits its customers, but in the manufacturing process too.
“We’re looking at our products themselves – trying to reduce the fuel consumption, trying to tailor our products to a particular environment,” Ahmad says.
“In terms of our products on the mine site, we’re trying to reduce the fuel burn for our customers. The amount of time they have to spend maintaining it and refuelling it brings a lot of opportunities, which we are currently offering to some of the big miners right now.
“Also, we do look at how we can operate more effectively in our facility to reduce power consumption.”
While Shillam says the near term should bring about an enhanced online store for AllightSykes and its aftersales department, further developments in condition monitoring are what really excite him about the future.
“In the longer term, the real one I would like to focus on is around data analytics. The industry has been moving in this direction with a focus on getting information in real time and in advance. It would mean we can continue to be a reliable and dependable partner with our customers, proactively assessing their needs,” Shillam says.
For now, though, AllightSykes will continue to do what it does best – lighting the nights of Australia’s mining industry and powering through the dusty days ahead.
This article appeared in the July edition of Australian Mining