Local company pitches eco-friendly light tower

Caliper Machine and Hydraulics designs solar and wind powered light tower for use in mining operations.

Mike Hambalek

Mike Hambalek

It’s no secret that mining is the lifeblood of the economy in the East Kootenay region and many businesses are inextricably tied to the industry in the Elk Valley.

Caliper Machine and Hydraulics in Cranbrook is one of them.

Headed up by Mike Hambalek for the last 17 years, Caliper does a lot of machining, line boring, hydraulics and welding with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products along with specialized customization of parts and components.

However, it’s their latest project that has gotten them excited as they look to the future.

Inspired by the desire to create a product to save money on fuel costs for Teck Resources, Hambalek and the Caliper team have designed and created a hybrid LED tower that is run on solar and wind power.

To light their operations at one mine site in the Elk Valley, Teck uses diesel generators that can run 24 hours a day.

The fuel costs can add up pretty quick, according to Hambalek.

With that in mind, the Soleco SWG-12 tower, the first of which should be arriving at the Caliper shop in a few weeks, will be powered by twin turbines at the top of the tower with solar panels at the base capturing sunlight, while a small eight KW Kubota generator will serve as a supplement.

“We researched our light tower over two years. We built a few different models and met with different manufacturers and talked with a few suppliers,” said Hambalek.

“Fort McMurray is a huge user of light towers and one of the oil and gas companies up there has over 300 light towers and they’re all run by diesel.”

While a solar powered tower isn’t anything new, the panels are unique in that they are hydraulically controlled, meaning they can be adjusted to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.

Other features include the option to be fitted with security cameras and Wi-Fi transmitters for internet hotspots with an eight kilometre range between towers.

“We tried to understand our customers,” said Hambalek. “So for example, light towers are available right now, but their solar panels are only made at a 45-degree angle. We made our adjustable, so at Fort McMurray, they’ll be at 80 degrees or in Cranbrook, they’ll be 70 degrees or down in the States it’ll be even less.

“We can adjust to the climate so our light tower and our solar panels will be more efficient than what’s available right now.”

The tower, which can be set up with the use of hydraulics by one person, stands nine metres tall and has six 200 AH AGM batteries.

The tower should be in Cranbrook within a few weeks, and Hambalek is hoping to create some buzz at trade shows in Fort McMurray, Edmonton and Toronto over the next few months with his new product.

The eventual goal is to get some pre-sales and do as much as the assembly as possible in Cranbrook, which should create a few new jobs, he said.

“My goal is to have a ‘Made in North America’ sticker on the side,” Hambalek said. “As much as it would be nice to be made in Canada, it’s very hard because lots of the components we share with the Americans, come from the States, but I believe that Made in North America deserves quality—we’re very picky in Canada as far as quality and I think it would be very beneficial for us to have another made in Canada product.”

Hambalek unveiled his newest product in a media presentation that also included Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, who is the provincial Minister of Energy and Mines.

Bennett heaped praise on Caliper’s ability to adapt to and improve upon the needs facing mining companies. Bennett also noted that the company’s products are a reflection of the high-tech nature of mining.

“The perception of lots of members of the public, I suppose—maybe not so much in the East Kootenay, but certainly in the big cities, is that mining is an old industry that relies on a lot of manual labour and it’s dirty and it’s not environmentally clean and it doesn’t use high-tech,” Bennett said.

“And in fact, the opposite is true. It is a very technical industry, it is a very environmentally conscious industry, they’re always trying to find ways to do things in a safer sort of way from the environmental perspective.”

For more information on the company, visit their website at www.calipermachine.com.

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read