“Tony Makuch, who was at that time president and CEO of FNX Mining, came to us in February 2007 and asked us if we could build a scissor lift truck with side and forward shift, as well as remote drive capabilities,” recalled MacLean vice president Mike Mayhew.
“We went to our engineering department to design it and assembled a team with mechanical, electrical and hydraulics systems expertise. Tony created a team at FNX, consisting of McCreedy West mine manager Brian Hagan, maintenance superintendent Dave Secord and maintenance planner Kevin Moore, so we worked in partnership with FNX to design it.”
The remote drive system and forward shift capability were already standard fare on the MacLean Bolter and its scissor truck already had side shift capabilities, but the addition of forward shift capability and the remote drive system as options on its scissor lift truck was a first for the company.
Used by miners as a platform for drilling with jacklegs and stopers or for the installation of utilities such as fans and piping, the new scissor lift truck can be moved from the deck without having to descend a ladder to the normal operator’s position.
“As long as the deck is down, they can tram anywhere they want,” said Mayhew.
Further maximizing maneuverability, the deck shifts 30 inches forward and 18 inches to each side, allowing miners to reposition themselves without having to move the truck at all.
A study conducted by MacLean demonstrated that the side and forward shift capability and the remote drive system would save between 24 and 31.5 minutes per shift, said Mayhew.
The first of the new scissor lift trucks was delivered to FNX in March. Since then, several additional units have been sold to mine contractor Cementation Canada for use at Vale Inco’s Copper Cliff North Mine and to Xstrata Zinc’s Brunswick Mine in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Lake Shore Gold Corp., a junior miner driving a ramp at its Timmins West gold project, has acquired a unit, and Vale Inco recently purchased a number of units for delivery later this year.
According to Mayhew, the design of the truck improves safety because miners are able to move the deck to avoid exposure to unsupported ground and, with fewer trips up and down the ladder, they are less vulnerable to accidents and injuries.
MacLean Engineering used to have a small office with 10 or 12 employees in Sudbury, but a decision a few years ago to move its sales and service divisions closer to its customers has dramatically increased its presence in the city. The company now employs 90 people in Sudbury and operates out of two adjacent buildings with a total of 70,000 square feet of space.
“Sudbury just made sense because there are so many active mines in the region,” said Mayhew.
MacLean Engineering also has branches in Phalaborwa, South Africa and Thompson, Manitoba.
Earlier this year, the company celebrated the delivery of its 250th bolter. According to Mayhew, 50 bolters are currently in service in the Sudbury Basin alone.
While primarily focused on underground utility vehicles for the mining industry, MacLean Engineering recently introduced a so-called Municipal Vehicle designed for snow blowing, plowing and sanding of city sidewalks. The Municipal Vehicle exposes the company to a new market and was designed and built using expertise it developed serving the mining industry.