With a healthy order book for its SafeLight, underground mining specialist QualiRock is expanding its manufacturing operation to accommodate increased production at its factory in Gauteng.
As manual processes result in the unnecessary loss of time, QualiRock uses the latest manufacturing technologies to automate, streamline and speed-up the manufacturing process, aiding the ramp-up of production to quickly fulfil large orders.
“As demand continues to rise, we will further improve our production line and capacity to increase our stock holding,” says QualiRock COO Christiaan Gerber.
Initially designed as an in-stope lighting device for underground mining conditions, where spot lighting fails to make the grade, the SafeLight provides continuous lighting for up to eight hours before requiring recharging.
Several components are combined to produce the trademarked, wireless device capable of delivering 360° lighting.
Made from an intrinsically safe epoxy resin casting, the light includes a swing hook for attachment to non-magnetic surfaces, as well as a magnet to hang the light from steel structures. A light-emitting diode (LED) string is wrapped around the battery enclosure.
The SafeLight also comprises a conductive mesh for discharging static charges, a belt clip that conveniently serves as a charging point and a twist handle that acts as a power switch. LED battery charge and level indicators are included to easily monitor the power charging mode and consumption.
All the components and materials used to manufacture the light are standard off-the-shelf products sourced from suppliers in Gauteng.
As the SafeLight is new to the market, QualiRock has diligently been promoting its benefits and uses through demo presentations with trials to many industries, and thereby gaining a lot of attention, with demand growing daily, says Gerber.
The light was developed to address the many underground accidents and near misses caused by poor lighting in dark and hazardous working areas, with several units already installed at mines in South Africa.
As a practicing rock engineer, CEO Pierre Cronjé conducts assessments and fall-of-ground inspections for which proper lighting is essential to ensure adequate visibility during inspections and moving around in hazardous areas and conditions.
“I have always relied on a cap lamp and have often identified non-conformance issues caused by underground workers, only to realise that inadequate lighting is a huge contributing factor.”
This prompted QualiRock to assemble a task team to brainstorm ideas to resolve the issue, resulting in the development of this anti-static, robust Safelight.
The company emphasises that the device is not meant to substitute the cap lamp but to be used as a secondary light source to highlight hazardous areas usually overlooked by a normal cap lamp.
The SafeLight Mark I, has been used on a trial basis since 2018, with QualiRock continuously making improvements based on needs and recently completing the development of the SafeLight Mark III.
Instead of the ‘slide’ switch handle used in the previous versions, the SafeLight Mark III now has a ‘twist’ handle to quickly switch the light on or off to conserve battery power when needed. The SafeLight is charged in an IP 65-certified charging cabinet, which can be configured to either host six or 12 lights at once.
“The SafeLight is a revolutionary invention by South Africans for an industry that has for many years been the front-runner of our economy. The SafeLight takes intrinsically safe, ambient lighting to areas where it is practically impossible and where life-threatening explosions are a continuous risk,” adds Gerber.
The SafeLight is not only suitable for the mining industry but also various other industries, such as the petrochemicals industry, where low-light conditions threaten safety.