Vega Australia has expanded its product range to cater to all facets of the mining industry, ensuring companies have access to quality level measurement for gases, liquids and solids.
For more than 30 years, Vega Australia has provided high-end solutions for problems within the mining industry, including heavy dust, vibration and foaming to name a few.
The company took a step back four years ago to look at areas it was overlooking in the marketplace and expanded its range accordingly.
Vega Australia managing director John Leadbetter says the company has started to focus on a more simplistic part of the market – clients looking for the same quality, without all the bells and whistles.
“Where we’ve got simple applications, such as water tanks or pressure and hydraulic lines, which are relatively straightforward applications, all of our equipment was way over specified,” Leadbetter tells Australian Mining.
“The development on this expanded range of products is still giving the customers the quality, it’s still giving them the performance and the accuracy, but it’s without all the fruit.”
From extensive customer feedback, Vega Australia realised the cost constraints operators within the mining industry need to consider when operating, meaning that purchasing equipment can add pressure on capital expenditure.
“At the end of the day, as much as people look at the mining industry as big and powerful, it still has cost constraints so operators look at how they can improve their bottom line,” Leadbetter says.
As Leadbetter explains, this isn’t just limited to the cost of the equipment itself, but the mine as a whole.
“By all means, the equipment and parts are a cost, but what is the cost of that mine not running because something breaks down?” Leadbetter asks.
“You could be talking a million dollars an hour.”
The company identified three key areas to simplify based on surveys conducted on its clients around the world.
Vega Australia decided to focus its simplistic range expansion on its radio level transmitters, which are used for non-contact level measurements of liquids and bulk solids; its level switches, used for level measurement of liquids and solids; and pressure transmitters, which measure and process differential pressure, volume, density and mass flow of gases, vapours and liquids.
“We have a full range of radar level transmitters,” he says. “What we’ve looked at there is the simple end of the market and expanded the range of radar transmitters.
“Keeping in mind the market’s shift towards Internet of Things (IoT) 4.0, we’ve given these products Bluetooth communication but simplistic programming.”
For the switches, Vega Australia adapted the product to cover the simple plug-in level switches used in water tanks or sumps, to give the basic indication of if a tank is empty or full.
In developing hydraulic and water pressure transmitters, the company also implemented Bluetooth connectivity, for ease of communication and monitoring.
It’s not just the products themselves that are more simplistic, but also the maintenance and installation process, saving mining companies time and capital when installing new equipment or maintaining existing equipment.
“Generally, with instruments like these, there’s a safety requirement to bring a technician out to wire and power it up,” Leadbetter explains.
“With these new products, they’re a M12 plug arrangement, so the operators can change them.
“This is an area where the operators become the maintainers, so we’re adapting to the market, we’re not asking the market to adapt to us.”
Vega Australia also uses the feedback from its customers to ensure its products are ready for realistic operations.
This testing period allows Vega to ensure its products are safe and efficient for mining operations, while clients have firsthand insight into how the products are changing.
“We have good relationships with a number of customers around the world,” Leadbetter says.
“We offer them what we call zero devices, which in other words is test devices, we’ll give them those to test in real life situations for us.
“Our customers are more than happy to do this because it’s helping them to understand how the products are going to fit in with particular systems or future plans.”
Vega Australia manufactures its expanded range in the same German factory as all of its products, proving it does not cut corners or compromise quality for lower capital expenditure.
The expanded range provides the same formal guarantees, safety ratings and efficiency as its other products, while catering for a new part of the market previously overlooked.
“We haven’t come out with a cheap range of products, we’ve come out with the same quality and the same performance,” Leadbetter says.
“All we’ve done is incorporated less features, so it’s a simplistic version of our traditional advanced systems, made in the same factory, all we’ve done is given them a simpler and more adaptable product to suit that particular part of the market.”
This article also appears in the April edition of Australian Mining.