Electra Mining Africa

The latest products and technologies revealed at Electra Mining Africa

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Over 850 exhibitors showcased their latest new innovations, products and services at one of the world’s biggest mining and industrial trade exhibitions

Held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec, Johannesburg, from 10-14 September, leading players in the mining, manufacturing, automation, electrical and power industries joined together across five halls and outside exhibit areas to network and to do business during the five intensive days of the show. Almost 30 000 visitors attended the exhibition and everyone was eager to see the many new products being launched and the hundreds of live demonstrations and interactive displays.

Visitors came from across South Africa, neighbouring SADC countries and there was an international delegation from South America, Turkey and Iran, which was organised by the South African Capital Equipment Export Council.

For 46 years, Electra Mining Africa has been delivering an effective platform to showcase the latest innovations, technologies and trends, and it has become much more than a show—it’s a tradition. This year was no exception.

“Despite what is happening in the South African economy and the negativity that we often hear in the mainstream news, we’ve had record numbers of exhibitors at Electra Mining Africa this year, which is very encouraging,” says Gary Corin, the Managing Director of Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, the organisers of Electra Mining Africa. “We are experiencing tough trading conditions but there’s been a level of optimism during the show that has been palpable. It’s been felt by our exhibitors, our visitors and by our media and association partners. We’ve had excellent feedback and, by the end of the show, 45% of our exhibitors had already booked their space for the 2020 show,” he adds.

Adding new visitor features and intellectual content at this year’s show, the Portfolio Director, Charlene Hefer, says she’d like to think they reinvented the show this year.

“We introduced new areas such as skills development; we really focused on the content and topics of our daily free-to-attend seminars, hosted by the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering; we had a ‘Women in Mining’ workshop and two industry conferences. We also introduced our themed days, which were a really exciting new addition,” she enthuses.

Five days, five themes

Day one at Electra Mining Africa focused on the future of skills development and one of the highlights was the new skills development area, developed in partnership with the Artisan Training Institute (ATI) and the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC).

“Taking place in Hall 8 across the five days of the show, this was a fully functional workshop where learners were able to demonstrate the skills they learn at ATI such as fitting and turning, fabrication, welding and boilermaking, electrical, instrumentation, pneumatics, hydraulics and electro-pneumatics. Career guidance was also available to those wanting to advance in this area,” Hefer explains.

The skills development area attracted all levels of visitors, from learners wanting to find out about this as a career, to artisans already in the field, who were interested in the courses on offer and the trends in training, to senior engineers and management, as well as delegates from neighbouring African countries wanting to uplift skills in their own countries.

Many exhibitors joined in with the skills development theme day, highlighting their own initiatives and programmes that are in place to support local skills development.

The content of the free-to-attend seminars also reflected the five show day themes and provided excellent knowledge and learning for the many visitors who attended.

Showcasing new products

Innovative new products were the focus of day two and visitors were able to see a vast number of new technologies and products on display. To add further excitement, exhibitors had been invited by the organisers to enter their new innovations to be assessed by the independent adjudicator SACEEC’s CEO, Eric Bruggeman.This year’s Innovation Awards covered three categories: South African Innovator, International Innovator: Mechanical, and International Innovator: Electronic. More than 60 products were reviewed across the three categories.

The South African mining supplier, Afri-Tech, was the winner of the Overall Innovation Award and the South African Innovation Award.Afri-tech, a specialised filtration, screen and filter cloths business, officially launched their new Power Nozzle at the show. Unveiled by Mrs Africa finalist, Reinette Herbst, the Power Nozzle gives businesses several benefits, from environmental to labour and costs.

The idea, like so many successful ideas, is a simple but effective one. Bruggeman was so impressed with Afri-Tech’s innovation, he also awarded an exhibition stand to the local manufacturer, affording them the opportunity to showcase the Power Nozzle at next year’s Local South African Manufacturing Expo, taking place in May 2019 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre.

Afri-Tech’s Operations Manager, Gus Basson, was overwhelmed at receiving the two accolades. “I’m lost for words,” he exclaimed. “I thought we had a good chance of winning but with so many great products and ideas being showcased at the show, I was wondering if we’d done enough. We are really pleased with the outcome,” he added.

The independent Canadian tyre dealer, Kal Tire, received top honours in the category of International Innovation: Mechanical with its Gravity Assist System, mainly for its simplicity and effectiveness. The average mining tyre has a lot of lug nuts. Until now, support for the hefty 36-kg torque gun came through the sheer brawn of the tyre technician. The Gravity Assist System essentially renders the activity and the torque gun ‘weightless,’ making the process much safer, more efficient and precise. The system reduces common risks associated with torque gun tasks, including pinched fingers, muscle strain and fatigue.

“When I reviewed the Gravity Assist System, I was taken aback at not only the simplicity of the machine, but how robust and effective it will be for tyre technicians on mine sites,” explains Bruggeman.

Industrial automation equipment supplier, Beckhoff Automation, won the International Innovation: Electronics Award for its EtherCAT system. Beckhoff implements open automation systems based on personal computer (PC) control technology with a product range that covers industrial PCs, I/O and Fieldbus components, drive technology and automation software.

“Local is Lekker”, safety and diversity

Other themes at this year’s Electra Mining Africa focused on a “Local is Lekker” South African day—a day to celebrate its heritage as a proudly South African exhibition and also to promote all things local. Exhibitors really embraced this theme with lots of South African flags, decorative cakes, biltong, boerewors and, above all else, by showcasing the best of local manufacturing capabilities.

Safety took the spotlight on the fourth day. With safety ever-growing in importance and every employee having the right to work in a safe environment, exhibitors such as Dromex and BBF Safety Group showcased the latest in PPE products and services relating to workplace safety. A stop by the Southern African Protective Equipment Marketing Association (SAPEMA) stand also provided visitors with insight into the latest safety trends.

Diversity took centre stage on the final day of the show, celebrating the diverse reach of Electra Mining Africa, which has been showcasing the future of mining, manufacturing, electrical and power products and solutions since 1972.

Welcome, 2020

Trade exhibitions are an important part of the South African economy, according to Corin. He says that shows like Electra Mining Africa continue to have a very important role to play.

“New technologies are influencing the way we do business and it’s imperative that those in the industry keep up to date with these trends,” he explains. “It’s the way to ensure their businesses keep future-fit and that they don’t get left behind. We need to know where Industry 4.0 is taking us and we need to know how the new products and machinery on the market can optimise our production and increase profits. We provide that knowledge and learning environment at Electra Mining Africa, and it’s enhanced even further by the addition of the co-located industry conferences and the free-to-attend daily seminars.

“We look forward to our next show in 2020 with the addition of even more visitor features and attractions,” he adds.

“Hello 2020 - We are Waiting For You” is the theme for Electra Mining Africa 2020. Visitors will be able to find out about the latest trends in Automation 4.0 and the Internet of Things, as well as see a lot of new exhibitors and new products. “We like to think of it as so much more but also more of the same, as this is what brings our visitors back year after year,” concludes Hefer.

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