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Tough SA mine cars in line for prestigious Swedish Steel Prize

Tough SA mine cars in line for prestigious Swedish Steel Prize

Fermel, the specialist South African manufacturer of protected vehicles for the mining and security industries, is in line for one of Sweden’s top industrial awards, the Swedish Steel Prize.

Fermel has the developed the Maverich range of dedicated light duty vehicles for mining that offer maintenance, repair and lifecycle benefits never before seen in vehicles developed in South Africa.

The Swedish Steel Prize is an international prize that honours the art of engineering and innovation in the steel industry. Fermel from South Africa, is one of four finalists for this year’s prize, which will be awarded during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on 11 May. The annual Swedish Steel Prize has been running for almost twenty years.

“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 know the commercial units would soon be under pressure,” explained Corné Wehr, Product Design Manager at Fermel.

The resulting Maverick range of light duty vehicles 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 other similar vehicles that are available in the South African market.

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 causing metal fatigue.

“In essence, the desired outcomes for this product would not be easily achieved if we did not have advanced high-strength types of steel as an option, as conventional material would compromise the vehicle characteristics to the point that our product offering would have been very limited and possibly very difficult to sell,” said Maxine Penn, Fermel’s Director of Sales and Marketing.

Defending their choice of Fermel as a finalist, the panel of adjudicators stated “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.”

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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.