Edwards headed up the Kopex design team that developed a new feeder-breaker and shuttle car for the Australian underground coal mining sector.
“Internationally Kopex is predominately a longwall company,” he said.
“But here in Australia our product range currently is focusing on coal haulage [with the 2011SS shuttle car] and processing [the KFB2012 feeder-breaker] equipment.
“This equipment has an excellent name for quality and performance and is giving us the base from which to develop and expand our product offering to the underground mining and tunnelling sectors.”
Edwards said the company’s new feeder-breaker was the first in-house design and build project for the Australian company and heralded a new era for the group.
“Previously we installed the electrical and hydraulic components on an externally-manufactured chassis,” he said. “The current model is 100 per cent Australian design and build. It’s a process we are repeating with other equipment for the local market.”
With responsibility for engineering and operations in Australia and the set-up of the manufacturing centre in South Africa, Edwards is looking to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and better integrate their roles.
“Generally Australia will specialise in design and South Africa will be the manufacturing centre but it will be a fluid arrangement,” he said. “The South African facility has been set up to Australian engineering and manufacturing standards which opens up the international equipment market to us.”
Edwards is a strong advocate for workplace education and believes he can reach new productivity and efficiency standards across the company with targeted training strategies.
“We must give our people the chance to demonstrate their competence and creativity,” he said.
“Our people give us an excellent resource. We must tap into, support and develop that resource to help grow the company.”