‘Mining is not purely a job for a miner,’ Hard-Line’s Walter Siggelkow says
The head of a Sudbury-based company says the mining industry is in dire need of people trained in the field of mechatronics.
It’s an emerging field that combines the technologies of mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics, electronics, information processing, basic electricity as well as motor and motion control.
Walter Siggelkow, the president of Hard-Line has been involved for more than 20 years in the remote control business of the mining sector.
“So what we do is we convert machines to remote control and basically it removes the operator from the dangerous area where they would work,” he said.
“Mining is not purely a job for a miner.”
He says the industry needs to hear from people of all skill sets to move it forward and innovate.
“They need accountants, we need programers, lawyers — we need all the different trades and skill sets.”
To tap into those skills, Siggelkow says it’s important to get young people involved in the industry and hear out all ideas being put forward.
He’s invested in Laurentian University’s school of engineering to help offer a mechatronics option, and also is involved with GoldCorp’s Disrupt Mining challenge. The annual contest encourages people to offer new ideas and technologies in the mining industry.
Siggelkow’s company put an entry in to the challenge a few years ago and lost. However, the event inspired him to sign up to be a sponsor.
“It’s not purely one mining company,” he explained.
“It’s trying to open up a forum where … people with some weird ideas maybe can showcase it to a whole bunch of people.”
He says an added bonus is getting to see all the entries.
“If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll find something that fits with our interest and make an investment of our own,” he said.
“It’s changing the way that we think about mining.”
With files from Wendy Bird