Over the course of many years and after significant investment, the Rail-Veyor® system is moving from concept to commercial reality.
In 1999, the innovator, Mike Dibble, through his company Rail-Veyor Systems, Inc. (RVS) worked with the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR) to construct the first Rail-Veyor® demonstration plant in the state of Florida, USA. The demonstration plant was operated successfully from 2000 to 2001 proving a capability to efficiently load, transport, and dump phosphate debris and confirming the System capability to be a cost-effective, environmentally attractive alternative to existing bulk materials transport systems. The Florida study demonstrated that the Rail-Veyor® system has a lower initial capital cost and lower on-going operating costs than conventional material handling systems at distances greater than 2 miles. Potential saving opportunities were found to escalate as the transport distances increase. The technology was not commercialized as a result of this demonstration.
In the period that followed this demonstration, industrial Ethernet control networks and medium voltage variable frequency drive technology continued to improve in terms of performance and competitive capital costing. These are critical enablers to commercialization of Rail-Veyor® systems allowing improved system control through software development.
With this technical achievement but limited success in penetrating potential new markets, the innovator Mike Dibble was introduced to the entrepreneur, Risto Laamanen. Risto quickly realized the potential of Rail-Veyor® system and secured the marketing rights for the United States and Canada. RVT was incorporated and Risto quickly leveraged his business relationships resulting in the 2008 commercial arrangement with Vale for the construction of a demonstration plant in Sudbury. The Sudbury plant was designed to more rigorously test the capability of the Rail-Veyor® system in hard-rock underground mining applications. With an investment in excess of $10 million CAD, improvements to the Sudbury test plant continue and on-going testing has confirmed that Rail-Veyor® can meet the more rigorous demands established by Vale for its underground mines.
RV Global was established to hold the intellectual property and global rights for the Rail-Veyor® system as well as the retainer agreements for the innovators. A subsidiary, Rail-Veyor Technologies, was established to focus exclusively on the underground hardrock mining portion of the business. Other business entities are envisaged for specific business segments such as forestry, oil sands, aggregates or certain geographic regions such as Finland or Indonesia. Regrettably, with the passing of Risto Laamanen in July 2009, he was not able to witness the success of his vision and efforts. Fortunately, Risto provided for his succession, and the Laamanen Family holdings are now in the capable hands of Risto’s beneficiaries. The Laamanen family has continued to devote the time and resources needed to complete the Sudbury demonstration plant and to successfully negotiate for RV Global to obtain the global rights, including pending international patents, to develop and sell the Rail-Veyor® system.
RV Global was established to build on the technical success achieved by the innovators and RVS to convert the Rail-Veyor® concept into a commercial reality. RV Global has now achieved this goal and is presently executing its global vision.