New Prize-winning Underground Boot Improves Miners Comfort and Safety
Mine operators can’t afford to take anything for granted when it comes to the safety of day-to-day operations. This is why mining footwear, too, deserves special attention. Blundstone is just around the corner from making available their new range of fit-for-purpose underground boots.
The Blundstone organisation consists of a highly integrated group of companies owned and operated by a family whose history can be traced back to the 1840’s. Despite growing to become one of the world’s most recognisable boot brands, the company remains Tasmanian. While brilliant, this did make partnering up with the highly regarded Australian mining business Centennial Coal, a domestic and export market supplier, an essentially obvious choice.
The brilliant and not so obvious element here was the idea to partner up with an industry leader, people actually in the mines, in order to execute the most helpful and relevant data and statistics mining. In order to develop this seemingly unique boot, Blundstone teamed up with the management at the Centennial coal mine to perform extensive wear trials. Blundstone has already secured top honours at the NSW Mineral’s Council Health and Safety Innovation Awards.
Blundstone Group Range Development Manager Michelle Vince carried out a pivotal role on the team behind the boot currently referred to as simply “style number 980”. Upon successfully conducting the research that enabled Blundstone to develop style number 980, Vince commended Centennial for their openness to participating in the development process: “The really great part about this project was Centennial being so approachable,” she said. “We had found it almost impossible to get past the front gates other mines prior to this.”
“When we met with Centennial they said ‘look, we use your gumboots, they do need improvement, but what we really need is this leather boot’. They took us underground to let us have a look at the environment, which was really important because it gave us the opportunity to speak to the guys actually using the footwear, and they could show us their issues on the spot. As [Centennial’s procurement] said to me, how do you think you can design a boot for us if you haven’t been underground?”
Blundstone’s new boots provide for a vastly improved experience for underground workers, featuring laceless and zipless design, incorporating the new BOA system for quick closure and simple release, which Blundstone says gives a custom fit at the turn of a dial. The soles are a brand new design of Poron XRD, which is designed for maximum impact absorption, and are also puncture resistant for added protection. And there’s a new Metguard, providing a metatarsal guard that protects the wearer from dropped objects on the foot.
Axora launches global challenge for digital technology
Axora is launching the world’s first international competition to discover new cost-saving digital technology for industrial companies, which can produce rapid benefits within a year.
The Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas sectors have recently experienced budget cuts of 20% on average, driven by a variety of factors including the global pandemic, slump in demand and price wars. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge aims to transform these industries by discovering innovative, digital solutions that reduce cost fast and pay for themselves, whilst achieving the same or improved productivity, health and safety and sustainability standards.
“While digital solutions can help to get work done quicker and more cost-effectively, they typically require a three-year ROI, and if there’s no flexibility in the budget, a full budget planning cycle is needed to get things moving”, said Dr. Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Yet, extra financial cost is often incurred in delaying digital projects, so customers have asked us to highlight solutions that can have an ‘in year payback’ whereby the cost spent on the solution and deployment will be more than recovered within the budget year - this accelerates the timeline and drives positive business impact, quickly.”
The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge
Axora is keen to learn of any digital cost-saving innovation which: meets the 12-month payback timeframe; can be deployed in any part of the value chain including upstream, downstream or midstream oil and gas, metals processing or mining; and is ready for market. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge is open to entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics and sector leaders across the world. The competition will be judged by a panel of leading industry experts.
“We’re passionate about supporting our industries and customers through all forms of digital transformation and the cost-saving solutions we are searching for could also provide a lifeline to many mining and metals and oil and gas companies in the current economic climate,” added Dr. Mayhew.
Improving productivity, safety and sustainability
Up to ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their solutions at a digital pitch day later this year, after which Axora will validate the ROI models and vet the solutions. The winner will receive the ‘Axora Market Accelerator’ sales and marketing package worth £10,000. This includes a two-hour workshop, promotion through Axora’s thought leadership content and inclusion into its digital demand engines, providing the opportunity for the winning solution to benefit thousands of industrial companies. Entries are open until May 31. Full details of the competition including terms and conditions can be found here.
To learn more about the Axora B2B digital solutions marketplace read our feature in the latest issue of Mining Global magazine.