The Drift: Sudbury-made robotic arm automates load-wire-fire underground – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – August 4, 2021)

Unique consortium comes together to fine-tune TesMan technology

Clara and Rod Steele have been developing their robotic explosives-loading arm for the mining industry for nearly a decade, but as they inched closer to commercialization, they realized they needed help to push it that last stretch to market.

So, in early 2020, they assembled a group of mining companies, equipment fabricators, an explosives manufacturer, and engineering firms into a unique consortium to harness their wealth of expertise.

“As we went along, we had to get more energy in the team, because we’re a small team and we’re only learning to do one piece. So we needed to get other people involved to do the other pieces better,” said Rod, who co-owns Sudbury-based TesMan with Clara.

“We reached out to the companies that we had developed confidence in, and they all jumped in.” The Steeles’ remote loader can load, wire and fire blast holes at the face while the operator remains safely in the vehicle’s cab five metres back from the high-risk zone.

The arm can be attached to any underground utility vehicle, and it’s operated via a screen set up in the cab.

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