Within the last 10 years, up to 20 per cent of the business has evolved to focus on an integrated ROPS and FOPS service for the mining and construction industries.”This is our own process,” said Thomas Kuehne, who heads up estimating and design for the company. “We are one of the few companies in Canada that can design, build, test and certify ROPS and FOPS in-house.”Rollover protective structures and falling object protective structures are positioned above the driver and/or passenger(s) to form part of the cabin on mobile equipment. If the vehicle rolls over, the structure minimizes the likelihood of operator or passenger injury. Falling object protective structures are designed to ensure that operators and passengers are provided with reasonable protection from falling objects such as rocks.Kuehne said the company has grown its national client base within the last three to four years as health and safety regulations across Canada become more stringent.
“Many of the companies that use vehicles in the mining, construction and petrochemical industries are mandated to have a protective device around the driver, and above the machine,” Kuehne said.
“For mining equipment (utility vehicles) used on surface and underground, you need a ROPS and FOPS,” said engineer technologist Sahil (Savy) Bhardwaj. “On surface with uneven terrain, it is easy for a person to go up a mountain or hillside and roll over. Underground equipment only requires a FOPS since equipment is moving in mine corridors.”
A professional engineer’s certification indicates that the product has undergone a series of tests and is strong enough to endure a rollover or fall-on accident and prevent serious injury to the personnel inside.
The company will design, build, test and certify ROPS and/or FOPS for small Kubota tractors and passenger-carrying vehicles up to and including large earth-moving machines and rock-drilling equipment. The turn-around time on a custom or OEM design is between one and two weeks, which gives the company a competitive edge.
The process involves checking for design feasibility of the request, followed by a rough cost estimate and time frame for completing the job. The structure is designed using CAD software. Simulation produces a stress analysis that shows the strengths and weaknesses of the structure. Once it is determined on “paper” that the design is sufficient, the product is manufactured using high-grade structural alloys.
A non-destructive test is performed on the welds to ensure the manufacturing is 100 per cent.
Depending on the request, the company uses its mechanical custom-designed jig for testing, or if necessary, manufactures a test device to accommodate the vehicle being fitted.
A series of strength tests are performed with a load applied in three different directions. The professional engineer conducts and oversees the certification of the unit according to CSA (Canadian Safety Association) and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards.
The certification stamp is acknowledged in every Canadian province except Quebec, which has its own set of standards.
As word got out about Stanley Appleton’s niche in-house service, Kuehne received requests from across the country. The company’s next step is to branch out to the U.S. market.