Sturda driven by innovation
Reducing cycle times key
Rob Lamond, who has 40 years of experience in the mining industry, can never accept anything as perfect. It can always be made better.
Lamond has taken his experience and mindset and started his own company, Sturda Inc., with the goal of making mines and workers safer and more efficient.
“During my 40 years in the mining industry, I’ve always looked at ways of improving processes and equipment,” Lamond said. “I started Sturda to solve some of the problems the industry has been plagued with over the past century. I look at things and will always see a better way to do it. Sturda is about looking at new products to reduce cycle times. Cycle times are huge and, when reduced, they equal millions in savings.”
Lamond is pushing two main innovations – the Sturda EZ Fence and the SturdaVoid, both of which were promoted at the Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins May 28 and 29.
“The mining industry can be shy when it comes to new products,” Lamond said. “There has to be a lot of testing completed. Nobody wants to be first to get new products out there. I’m not scared to be first. I always want to see new products and innovations. I’m starting to get a lot of movement on Sturda after three to four years of research and development.
The mining industry is starting to embrace these new technologies. There are a number of companies using Sturda products now with success.”
The Sturda EZ Fence replaces shotcrete, rock fill and wooden construction fences that hold backfill underground.
“It is a quick-and-easy, scaffold-style method of installation,” Lamond said. “We don’t have to use shotcrete. A foam product is used to seal around it, which allows operators to pour immediately after installation. I can go in with a small package and build the fence in one trip. Shotcrete fences require multiple trips and multiple pieces of equipment to get the same result.
It’s a big time saver and cheaper on the front end. It’s also cleaner as it eliminates the dust from the shotcrete process.”
The SturdaVoids are multiple inflatable bladders that fill the void behind the fill fence so when the fence is removed, operators can deflate the bladders, eliminating the need to mine back through the sill.
“Together with the EZ Fence, these two products could deliver as much as 25 per cent reduction in cycle times,” Lamond said.
Lamond is tackling all kinds of mining industry problems head on. Sturda produces a line of decanting pipes of all sizes to keep money from being wasted. Sturda has also joined forces with Rain Bird, a world-leading irrigation company, to take on the Canadian distributorship of the Rain Bird product line for the mining industry. Rain Bird makes sand separators, which take fine particles out of water before being introduced to the sumps.
“All of these products reduce slimes getting into the sumps, therefore reducing wear and tear. It is a huge problem in the industry,” he said. “It’s an exciting project with a lot of potential to improve water management in the mining environment.”
This fall, Sturda will work with the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) to develop better methods for servicing underground mine sumps.
“Working with CEMI will allow us to do research and development much quicker than on our own,” Lamond said. “It is exciting for me to bring new products to the industry and make jobs easier and safer,” Lamond said. “There is quite a bit of pride in it for me. I enjoy the challenge of solving problems.”