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SAMSSA members: leaders in innovation.

Do innovative products and services emanate from pure academic research or from the daily activities of mining supply and services companies (MS & S)?

Evidence shows that both constituents deliver innovative products/services. The difference lies, in many cases, in the definition of innovation as it applies to MS & S companies.

The Oslo definition of an innovative firm is one that has introduced a new or significantly improved product into the market or introduced a new or significantly improved process into production. The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) is proving to be a hotbed of innovation.

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A recent Institute of Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD) survey conducted for FedNor at Laurentian University indicates that innovation is extremely high among MS & S companies in northeastern Ontario. The study revealed that 83 out of 90 of the firms surveyed indicated they were upgrading products and services and 72 out of 93 had introduced a new product or service in the preceding three years.

SAMSSA has argued over the past two years that mining supply and service companies in northeastern Ontario are among the world's leaders in developing innovative mining products and services. This report supports that belief.

Steven Matusch, co-founder of Ionic Engineering, (www.ionic-eng.com) and a member of SAMSSA, says "innovation occurs in this industry on a daily basis and is essential within any MS & S operation wanting to maintain its viability in the global marketplace. (When) you see a need for something that can be done better to improve an existing product, this encourages you to become innovative and to look for design options."

Matusch's latest innovation is the development of the new Kidd Process Robotic Stripping System. Two of these units were recently shipped to LG Metals in South Korea. Occupying over 10,000 square feet and weighing in at 200,000 pounds, this machine permits a single operator to strip, prepare and package 135,000 lbs/hour of refined copper. Developed and manufactured in Sudbury, it employs the latest in high capacity industrial robots, and is the most advanced system of its type in the world.

In many cases, the market drives this form of innovative practice. Product innovation is specific to an individual process or system needing to improve its efficiencies although maintaining confidentiality often prevents results being disclosed outside of the business relationship.

Mike Castron, director of technical sales at Gast Resources Inc. (www.castresources.com) and president of SAMSSA, rein-forces this position.

"We have introduced a new piece of testing equipment for our remote control systems," he says. "It is a remote test set which can evaluate the functionality of the radio transmitter and also the remote interface. The technician is able to diagnose in a matter of seconds where remote problems are located.

"We had to develop this product because mine protocol does not allow the mine technician to open the radio remote/transmitter. It definitely reduces down time when the mine is relying on their LHDs in remote or dangerous mucking situations."

The Sudbury MS & S corridor has a long history in the mining sector. This expertise has promoted essential and dynamic innovative products and services.

SAMSSA has other innovative systems and products available for the mining industry and a review of the member companies is available through our multilingual site at www.samssa.com.

Dick DeStefano is the executive director of SAMSSA. He can be reached at 705-522-2606 or destefan@isys.ca
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Title Annotation:Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association
Author:DeStefano, Dick
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:576
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