A diversified business offering a wide range of fabricating, manufacturing, repair and field services to the mining industry, B & D Manufacturing remains committed to the passion for innovation fostered by its founders.
Its B & D Solutions division, mandated to proactively identify opportunities for improving mining and manufacturing processes, has been a huge success, says general manager André Ruest.
Its newest product, the B & D Super Jack, was engineered and built to lift haulage trucks used in open pit mining operations. The computer-controlled, hydraulically driven jack enables mechanics to service the trucks safely and efficiently.
Three Super Jacks have already been sold to Barrick Gold operations in Nevada.
The opportunity was brought to B & D’s attention when a haulage truck manufacturer encountered problems with its own jack and had to withdraw it from the market.
“That’s when we were approached to see if we were interested in developing something,” said Ruest.
The trucks can be lifted and held in place by the jack or secured using B & D support stands if the jack is required for other lifting operations.
Sensors detect if there’s more weight on one side than the other as a wheel is removed, causing the cylinder to adjust automatically.
The Super Jack currently has a lifting capacity of 130 tons, but another model with a capacity of 260 tons is on the drawing board.
The jack was designed and engineered by B & D’s Solutions Group in collaboration with Northern Enable Inc. in Powassan, 135 kilometres east of Sudbury, near North Bay. A team of highly skilled technicians and engineers from the two companies work together to design and build prototypes far from the pressures and demands of B & D’s production environment.
“When you’re trying to design something (like the Super Jack) in your everyday production environment, it’s very difficult,” said Ruest. “It would disrupt operations. Once the product is fully developed and all the bugs have been taken out, it’s turned over to our production people.”
The company has focused to date on selling the jacks directly to mining companies and has also talked with haulage truck manufacturers about a potential sales and marketing relationship. Ruest sees potential for export sales beyond the U.S. and domestic sales opportunities in Alberta’s booming oil sands sector.
B & D Solutions has also designed a heavy-duty hydraulic rod handler for North Bay drilling contractor Boart Longyear.
“They’re using six-inch rods at Cameco uranium mines in Saskatchewan’s Athabaska Basin to drill holes that are used to freeze the ground,” said Ruest. “They’re very heavy to maneuver so they asked us to develop a fully-automated rod handler.
“A prototype is being shipped out as we speak and commissioning will take place in August and September. Early indications are that they’re very pleased with the way it works and we can potentially get orders for six or seven more of them.
“They have to keep staging and going up higher and higher, so we developed a scissor lift platform. The rod handler sits on a platform that will rise and another platform for the equipment and operator will rise also.”
Designed to speed up the drilling process, the rod handler is another example of the company’s focus on innovation and problem solving.