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Supplier Showcase

Equipment World: Canada’s mine dry specialist

June 1, 2014
by Graham Strong
In: Supplier Showcase

Company serves mining industry from locations in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins

Ernie Ukrainec, construction and technical sales manager at Equipment World, one of the few designer/installers of mine drys.

The name “Equipment World” tells you part of the story. Headquartered in Thunder Bay with locations in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Timmins, Equipment World provides a variety of products and services including light equipment sales, rental, and leasing as well as shelving, lockers, janitorial supplies, modular offices and furniture, maintenance packages, and equipment training.

But what you may not know is that Equipment World is perhaps the only company in Canada that specializes in designing, supplying, and installing mine drys.

“We do target the whole mining industry… it doesn’t matter where in Canada (the mine) might be,” said Ernie Ukrainec, construction and technical sales manager at Equipment World. “There are some people out there that will supply the product, but there is nobody else that really specializes in the installation of it.”

That makes all the difference. Although the actual nuts and bolts of the mine drys, including the pulley system, venting, and baskets, come from a supplier in the United States, design is an important step. Ukrainec said that, ideally, companies will bring Equipment World in during the design stage so that the architects and engineers are aware of the physical as well as the HVAC, electrical, and other considerations needed for this specialized space.

That doesn’t always happen though, Ukrainec said. About 70 per cent of the projects they work on are full installs.

The remaining 30 per cent are for the supply of materials only – though follow-up consultations are common.

“Sometimes, when we quote complete installs, people try to do it themselves and they run into problems,” he said.

Ukrainec mentioned one large project in particular where he was called in to help fix those problems. “They wished they would have just hired us right from the start to do the whole install.”

Part of the reason there aren’t more mine dry designers is that it is a relatively small market. Ukrainec said that they average about one new mine dry per year, though recent construction in the Sudbury area over the last five years has kept them busy.

Equipment World also does retrofits, including one for Goldcorp’s Hoyle Pond mine in South Porcupine.

Equipment World supplies and installs related items like lockers, washroom fixtures, modular offices, dock equipment, air curtains, and more.

“Most of the time, when we’re doing a project, we’re also doing the warehouse,” Ukrainec said. That includes shelving, racking, and equipment like forklifts. “We design the warehouse around specialty equipment.”

Another big selling point is Equipment World’s maintenance program at three of the four locations. In Thunder Bay, Equipment World is available 24/7 for emergency maintenance work.
These “value added” products and services make it easier for mines and contractors because they only have to deal with one sub-contractor to cover all those needs. Ukrainec said that Equipment World has made a name for itself as a sub-contractor that finishes jobs on time – something especially important since their job tends to be at the end of construction when the company is anxious to get operational quickly.

“Usually, we’re under the crunch,” Ukrainec said. “That’s where we have a good reputation with a lot of people. We come in and say, ‘When do you want it completed by?’ We’re usually complete ahead of time. It keeps them happy.”

Ukrainec said that one of their most unique projects was a modular mine site in the Sudbury area. Construction was essentially pre-fabricated units made in Grimsby and then shipped to the site and assembled. This was to reduce the impact of full construction on the surrounding area. However, the modular design, including equipment restrictions and designing the dry to fit the given area, made it challenging.

In the end though, Equipment World was able to work around the dimensions and complete the project. Equipment World operates primarily in Ontario, but it has done installations from British Columbia to Canada’s Maritime provinces, and supplied projects from the Far North to South Carolina. Right now, Equipment World is gearing up for a full install project at Sifto Canada’s Goderich salt mine.

Peter Knudsen opened Equipment World in Thunder Bay in 1973. The company expanded to Sudbury, then Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins before Knudsen passed along the reins to his son Lyle. Ernie Ukrainec has been with the company 35 of those 41 years.

Ukrainec said that the mining industry directly makes up about 20 per cent of their business, and indirectly about 60 per cent through other suppliers.

Equipment World supplies many different industries, including pulp and paper, lumber, health care, hotel/hospitality, construction, education, manufacturing, and retail, working on varied projects.

For example, the company supplied shelving and specialty furniture for the new location of the Mary J.L. Black Library in Thunder Bay, and is currently installing an electronic partition in a conference room at a hotel in North Bay.

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