Company Insight

Introducing human connection and collaboration to the mining industry

Troy McDonald (L), Torqn Founder and Brett Baker (R), Co-Founder & Operations Lead.

Torqn is a free app that connects professionals within the mining sector like never before, uniting them through their shared equipment and industry expertise. Torqn serves as a new knowledge platform, connecting operators, engineers, maintenance workers, stakeholders, suppliers, and manufacturers based on their equipment. 

In the heart of Australia's mining landscape, where innovation meets rugged machinery, Torqn has emerged as a transformative force, combining two focal points of efficient modern mining – digital technologies, and collaboration. 

We got to…Torqn…with Co-Founders Troy McDonald and Brett Baker all about their app, and what it means for the mining industry.

Troy McDonald, Founder.

Troy McDonald - Founder 

Troy’s extensive career spans two decades in Resources, Heavy Industrial, and Professional Consulting with BHP Billiton, PPM, and South32.

Brett Baker - Co-Founder & Operations Lead 

Brett brings 15 years of experience from BHP Billiton, where he served as a Health, Safety, and Training Manager, before venturing into the realm of entertainment, founding Funscape.

Brett Baker, Co-Founder & Operational Lead.

Who is Torqn for, and what are the benefits?

Troy: Torqn is designed primarily for operators, maintainers, leading hands and engineers that either use, maintain or repair equipment. It's about providing a network for people around the world that have the same interests and the same equipment. Now, what we do is connect them up worldwide in what's called a Loop. And then by virtue of the network, they've got the ability to crowd source solutions for problems they may have, share safety information improvements. So that's the architecture of the platform today.  

And that was the original target audience for our free version which is publicly available at the moment, but we are also about to launch our Enterprise product. So, Torqn Enterprise is a standalone solution for a company that doesn't want to share their information more broadly across an external audience.

What was the catalyst for creating Torqn?

Brett: One of the key motivators is the ‘Deskless workforce’. Essentially, the purpose is to make the job easier, and improve productivity safely.

Torqn had a great launch, why do you think it was so popular right from its inception?

Brett: If you think about the average electrician who's working on heavy equipment, there's not a lot of resources readily available. Online manuals can be difficult to locate, if at all available. 

Most of these people are very practical, hands-on types with their own caravans or four-wheel drives, and when they have a problem, they jump social media groups or forums, they troubleshoot with people. But when it comes to work there's a real void. We are all used to connecting with people with social media, and now workers can do it for this big yellow equipment they’ve got at work.

Torqn provides a platform for mining professionals to crowd-source equipment information and troubleshooting.

Why do you think a platform like this hasn’t been created before?

Troy: Companies in the mining sector have been focused on instrumentation and improving their productivity based on sensor data.  

There is nothing that brings the human element or intuition into that space, which is what we're really trying to tap into.

Brett: I think there's a timing element too, if we created this five or ten years ago it probably wouldn't have taken off. Saturation of social networking and phone use has taught the majority how to use social platforms very intuitively.

Why do you think that collaboration across mining equipment is so important? What challenges does Torqn solve?

Brett: That's really one of the key value propositions. If you think about the average networking tool; Facebook, LinkedIn, you connect with people, and they’re great, but often not relevant to real-time problems. With Torqn, you don't connect with people per-se, you connect with the equipment. So, when you do connect to equipment, such as a 936 truck, you’re instantly connected to everyone globally, and now have an instant network of something that's super relevant. 

Troy: There's actually not that many types of equipment. There's probably two or three manufacturers and 30-40 pieces of equipment that dominate the whole sector.  

It doesn't matter if you're in South America, Chile, Spain or Portugal - if you have a 793 dump, that 793 is exactly the same as the one I have in North Queensland. To build on that, mining and construction are two quite separate industry verticals that very rarely communicate. If you've got a dozer on a mine site and someone's got to the same dozer in the construction industry, there is basically zero collaboration. What Torqn does is it starts to actually break down barriers across industries where there's synergies in equipment. 

Brett: A ideal example to echo Troy, is that a subscriber posted on Torqn that he had a fault code on his dozer in South Africa on a weekend, it was solved by a guy in Lithuania on Monday…that's the model.

Do you have any real-life examples of how Torqn has reduced downtime on mine sites?

Troy: There was a guy in Queensland who invented a 12 vault, remote controlled automatic mirror that retrofitted into the frame. Otherwise, they had to call a fitter between shifts to manually change mirror settings on the vehicle, which would take a good 15 minutes minimum each time. He introduced it on Torqn early on, and has now been able to go-to-market. So, 15 minutes per change, assuming 2 shift changes per 24 hours, that’s a 2% productivity gain to a business.

Safety and risk reduction is vital to mine sites, what impact does Torqn have in this area?

Troy: There's two parts to that. People can post general safety issues about equipment. But the biggest benefit that Torqn brings is we've got a safety alert function that's reserved for manufacturers and regulators. Anything from a legislation updates, product recalls…you don't have to worry about the mine, manufacturer or regulator having an e-mail address that's probably out of date to send critical information. They can post that alert straight into a region or worldwide, or into a particular industry.

Torqn users can receive prompt safety alerts relevant to the equipment they use.

What’s in the pipeline for Torqn, any new features you’re working on?

Troy: One thing that we want to build next year is the OEMs being verified as the manufacturer of particular equipment.

Brett: The next big development is our Enterprise product. This is designed for medium to large mining companies who would prefer to keep their collaboration internal, rather than sharing their ideas, safety issues and solutions globally.

'Torqn Enterprise' is a SAAS (Software As A Service) solution for a company that allows them to get all the benefits of the Torqn global network through information coming in, but doesn't share their information out.  This allows their employees to collaborate freely, without being worried about saying the wrong thing.

Download the free app now via the Apple App Store and Google Play, and see what the mining industry is all Torqn about.

Do you offer services or supplies for equipment? Enquire about advertising your business with TorqnEnterprise:

Contact information

Wollongong, Australia