Turning ideas into industrial solutions
Our industry, especially the SMEs sector, cannot afford to spend big sums of money on innovations. Innovative activity creates opportunities for development, but also carries a high risk. In order to meet the expectations of its industrial partners, KOMAG Institute of Mining Technology offers them cooperation on favourable terms, consisting in co-financing numerous projects. The Institute currently cooperates with nearly 80 companies in Poland and abroad.
Following its creed ― “Turning ideas into industrial solutions” ― KOMAG Institute of Mining Technology has been developing solutions for the Polish mining and industrial machines sector. Many of them have been awarded the title of the Polish Product of the Future. “We have always respected this competition for having clear and objective application evaluation rules” ― says Małgorzata Malec, the Institute’s director. The title – which the Institute has been awarded three times – has become a strong bargaining chip in the Institute’s dealings with the creators of innovative solutions and representatives of the industry sector. “The possibility to use the title of the Polish Product of the Future has helped us promote our innovations and facilitated our marketing activities”― says Malec.
The titles KOMAG’s solutions have been awarded have enabled the Institute to tighten its cooperation with its industrial partners. “Cooperation is of strategic importance to us” ― says Małgorzata Malec, and goes on to describe the way the Institute operates. Firstly, the Institute develops a concept in the form of a technical and process project. Next, scientists perform model tests and supervise the building of a prototype, which is then subjected to detailed tests. Then technical documentation is prepared, enabling an entrepreneur to start production.
An example of a spectacular implementation is the universal longwall coal-cutter KSW-750E, which, in the opinion of Małgorzata Malec, is KOMAG’s big success, as it has served as a basis for solutions used successfully by ZZM S.A. in longwall cutters applied by Poland’s biggest mining companies. The longwall cutter project received a PAED award in 2002. Today, these innovative solutions are used to manufacture machines used not only in Poland, but also in Russia and China.
Since receiving its first PAED award, the Institute of Mining Technology has focuses on research mainly in the area of product safety. The Institute has also modernized its research infrastructure, which now serves as a basis for carrying out numerous interdisciplinary projects. “The scope of our activities covers research into the relationship between the man, machines and the environment, which we have been working on in an international research space.”― says Małgorzara Malec.
KOMAG has also developed a model of cooperation with the industry that helps it succeed in the market. “Our main industrial partner is Grupa Kapitałowa KOPEX S.A., with which we cooperate in the area of machines and devices for coal mining systems. A significant group of partners are also small and medium companies, with which KOMAG has signed long-term cooperation contracts. These companies commercialize the results of research and development works of KOMAG. Another group of important partners are users of mining machines and devices, e.g. Kompania Węglowa S.A., which uses our support in solving technical problems, Katowicki Holding Węglowy S.A., which implements our new technical solutions regarding mechanical systems improving work safety, Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa S.A., which uses our knowledge and experience regarding evaluations, technical opinions and studies related to mining as such, and Południowy Koncern Węglowy S.A., which cooperates with the Institute with regard to research related to mining, enrichment of minerals and environment protection.”
The Institute also cooperates with universities and colleges, research institutes, as well as mining supervisory bodies and local self-governments. It is worth mentioning that the mining and machines sector is one of the few sectors to have survived economic changes in Poland, and that it is owned by the Polish capital. “The synergy effect of the activities of science and industry are user-safe and environment-friendly products” ― sums up Malec and says that KOMAG is not limited only to the Polish market; the Institute plans to enter into cooperation with American, Australian and Chinese partners.
Interview conducted by Izabela Rutkowska