South African Fermel is one of four finalists for Swedish Steel Prize 2017, an international award that honors the art of engineering and innovation in the steel industry. “We identified this opportunity on the basis that new mining legislation and tighter safety requirements were due in the not too distant future, and we knew the commercial units would soon be under pressure,” explains Corné Wehr, Product Design Manager at Fermel.
The resulting Maverick range of LDVs is designed specifically for the harsh underground mining environment. It is an uninhibited mining vehicle that can be used for a wide range of applications and outperforms current offerings.
In total, roughly 90% high-strength steel is used in the design of the Maverick range of vehicles. The combination of high-strength steel and wear-resistant steel provides improved safety and wear resistance, as well as higher payloads of up to 2.5 tons without compromising the vehicle’s fatigue life. “In essence, the desired outcomes for this product would not be easily achieved if we did not have advanced high-strength steel materials as an option, as conventional methods would compromise the vehicle characteristics to the point that our product offering would have been very limited and possibly very difficult to sell,” explains Maxine Penn, Director of Sales and Marketing at Fermel.
The jury’s motivation for selecting Fermel as a finalist for the Swedish Steel Prize 2017 is: “Fermel has developed a unique range of multi-purpose vehicles for safe transportation in mines. The vehicles meet new, more stringent safety legislation and are intended to replace the re-built standard vehicles currently used. Design optimization of the entire vehicle, including the car body, has given superior performance regarding personal safety, higher payload, agility, damage resistance, reliability and service life. All these benefits are achieved by extensive use of advanced high-strength structural and wear-resistant steels.”
For nearly 20 years, the Swedish Steel Prize has recognized and rewarded small and large companies as well as institutions and individuals who have developed a method or product that utilizes the full potential of high-strength steel. The winner will receive a statuette by the sculptor Jörg Jeschke and a cash prize of SEK 100,000 that SSAB encourages to be donated to a charity of the winner’s choice.