Longwall Hydraulics' traditional market was underground coal mines and while this is still a key market, the Company made the decision three years ago to broaden their reach, looking at new product opportunities and industries.
Longwall Hydraulics has specialised in high pressure applications for 25 years, carrying out hydraulic and mechanical repair and maintenance work, whilst also being the OEM supplier of pump stations for underground mines and forming a close partnership with Kamat GMBH Pumps for the past 20 years. The Company has enjoyed much success, however, with the coal industry under pressure, the business knew it had to further develop its core business skills and diversify to ensure their success was sustainable.
Over the last two years, the Company has expanded its product range and services, reached agreements with new companies Dynajet, Dynaset and Feature Tec to now have a more diversified range of high quality products that are used in mining, construction, earth moving, and general industrial sectors. The Company has also purchased a new premises in Mackay last July, and are in the process of expanding their operations to support the growing market in Queensland.
Utilising the team's high pressure hydraulics skills and engineering capability, the Company targeted new products that would complement its core competencies and is now supplying new products and servicing new customers in many industries and locations.
Managing Director, Richard McNeill, believes the Company is well positioned for further growth, "The team has tremendous skills, those skills were being under-utilised with the tightening of the coal industry, so change had to happen. Diversifying is tough, it requires lots of hard work. Finding the right fit with new products requires lots of research, change means new processes and training, it requires dedicated employees and lots of resilience. The team has embraced these challenges. We have so much more to achieve, we are only just beginning but I know we are going to be successful, because of our commitment".
In March 2018, Longwall Hydraulics signed an OEM supply contract with CAT to supply Peabody North Goonyella Mine a new pump station package. The company has been designing and manufacturing high pressure pump systems for 20 years, and their innovative approach enables this new station to be a first for the industry with dedicated high pressure dust suppression included in the design.
As dust suppression systems become more critical for safety and the environment, Longwall Hydraulics turned their design attention to developing options using high pressure pumps and misting technology. They have already designed and built units for surface and underground mining applications.
The CAT/Peabody North Goonyella OEM contract will be the first installation to implement a complete high pressure mist dust suppression system. By opting for a dedicated high pressure dust suppression pump and separating the fluid requirement away from the shearer water system, the Longwall Hydraulics system provides significant operational and safety benefits for the customer:
- Redundancy is designed into the system to ensure high availability and performance is guaranteed in operation.
- New safety initiatives to reduce fluid injection potential.
- The misting technology increases safety for longwall operators.
- The system simplifies water reticulation and reduces the volume requirement on shearer water.
- The system removes the requirement for pressure reducing systems.
- The high pressure misting technology reduces water demands for the operation, and results in significantly less run-off and other environmental benefits.
- As well as the dedicated dust suppression, Longwall Hydraulics will also implement new designs on the pump cart to improve performance and efficiency in operation.
- The pump station is designed to allow all pumps to be utilised as both main Emulsion system and Hi set systems.
- The new design focuses on commonality of components to reduce life cycle management costs.
The product innovation on the dust systems can be retrofitted to existing operations, and the high pressure misting designs can also be used in other industry applications including surface mining, constructions and earth works industries, utilizing both Kamat and Dynaset HP pumps.
The Company is now moving into high pressure jetting applications with the Kamat and Dynajet products and will be manufacturing UHP unit (ultrahigh pressure) moving into FY19. They will also be launching a broader filtration product range with Feature Tec over the coming months.
With a new business system being planned for 2019, and expanding customer base, the Company is focused on growing the business over the next 25 years.