If you’ve ever worked on a mine site, you’ll know pumping water is a tedious and labour intensive job. Not anymore, thanks to underground coal miners Andy Higgins and Tyler Creagh.
Andy and Tyler both have extensive experience in underground mining, though for the last decade or so they’ve been working together on the maintenance of underground roadways. They’ve spent plenty of time pumping water, and plenty of that time dealing with the frustration of blocked strainers.
“It was clear to both of us that the standard pumping systems we were using could do with some major improvements. We thought surely there must be something better out there, but when we asked the question, the answer came back no. So, we decided to put out heads together and improve it ourselves,” said Tyler.
It was about three years ago when Andy and Tyler first began floating ideas around on what could be changed that would not only result in improvements but would also be so simple and cost effective that mines sites would be keen to introduce it at their operations. They decided what was needed was a new type of pump strainer.
Andy and Tyler began a long process of modifying, tweaking and testing designs until they came up with the Mountain Road Self-Clearing Strainers. Designed to utilise the air exhaust on any compressed air driven double diaphragm pump, the Self-Clearing Strainers clear away debris from the face of the strainer and prevent excessive debris build up, effectively stopping any blockage of the strainer.
The clever design means that the Self Clearing Strainers continue the pumping process even when there isn’t anyone physically manning the pump and strainer. The operator can turn on the pump, ensure the pump is running, and then walk away having confidence that the strainer will remain clear, and the pump will keep on pumping.
“We gave a lot of thought to making the strainers easy to operate and easy to install. We knew we had to keep it simple because if it was too complicated operators wouldn’t want to use it. If it required a bunch of components, then it would not be worth the inconvenience of setting it up. We are really proud that we’ve achieved both of those goals,” said Andy.
Andy and Tyler have invested a lot of time, effort and money to bring their idea to fruition. Chatting with them, it’s clear it hasn’t been an easy road.
“We’ve had to learn a whole lot along the way as there are so many facets to bringing a product to market. Patents, production, even just setting up and running a business. We are very grateful for all the support and advice we’ve been given along the way, especially from the mining industry,” said Tyler.
The guys aren’t resting on their laurels just yet. Tyler is still working underground to pay the bills and Andy is busy travelling around the country introducing mines sites to the benefits of their strainers. If you’re not sold yet, give Andy a call and he’ll happily come and give you a demonstration though in our opinion it’s only a matter of time before their strainers will be the new standard.
Congratulations Andy and Tyler for seeing something that needed improvement, and then having the drive to make it happen. Whether you’re working on a mine, a farm, a construction site, or anywhere else that may have a pneumatic pumping system set up, the Mountain Road Self-Clearing Strainers have just made your job a whole lot easier.