Bob Ifield, Hyden’s CEO, has been exposed to engineering from birth being a son of the prolific inventor Richard Joseph Ifield (Dick). Dick was best known for the development of the fuel system for jet aircraft from the Whittle to the Concorde but he also designed and developed fuel injection systems, hydrostatic transmission systems, limited ratio differentials and many other devices and had about 122 patents in his name. Bob and his three brothers were fortunate to be technically involved with the later part of Dick’s career and Bob, gaining an appetite for engineering and marketing of new concepts, became General Manager for the Ifield group of companies.
The company became interested in the challenges presented by mining primarily through a relationship with Charles Deamer, the chief engineer for Noyes Brothers. Charles became Bob’s second mentor and the Ifield companies became deeply involved in the development of transmission systems for several new machines conceived by Charles and hydraulic systems for mining machines generally. The Ifield Company was wound down in 1988 following a technical successful project concerning a new Skid Steer Transmission system for the M113 military vehicles and the Ifield brothers then pursued different interests.
Bob recommenced Hyden Engineering in 1991 and has since been joined by family members Craig and Ben. Initially, the core activity was to be the repair of hydraulic and lubrication equipment and purpose designed software was developed in-house, to track the ‘root cause of failure’ to provide a key maintenance management tool. However, this tool also identified the potential for new products and R&D once again became the core activity and the cycle recommenced. Within 12-months a problem with shuttle car hydraulics had been revealed and a new product know as the KIS system was designed and developed and remains in high demand today. This was followed by other new products including Cable-Safe for vehicles with trailing cables, Easilube to provide protection for bearings on mobile machinery, Reel-Safe for shuttle cars and Enviro-Spray for mining water trucks. Through performing R&D in-house, team members develop a keen interest in all new products and become totally dedicated to give 100% loyalty and support. Many of the products have now matured through sales to remote areas throughout Australia and the export potential is currently being explored.
PS: Yes the famous entertainer Frank Ifield is Bob’s brother