25 years ago Tom Palangio stepped away from his position at Dupont to further develop his fragmentation analysis technology. He had developed the technology in partnership with Waterloo University specifically for measuring rock blasts but quickly found multiple applications in the aggregate industry. Seeing potential competition Dupont and Tom reached an agreement that he would not operate in North America for 3 years. As a result he went to Panama as a blast consultant during the construction of the Panama Canal, then continued to expand his distribution network in Peru, Chile, South Africa, and Australia before returning to Canada.
Although the global travel led to excellent exposure across the world for WipWare products and services; because of the agreement with Dupont they had little exposure in Canada. Tom had to build his local business presence after being gone for over 3 years and as an added challenge his rural 150 acre property with dial-up internet offered significant challenges in communicating with his distributors. True to his “solve the problem” form, Tom connected with Bell Canada and negotiated to have high speed internet brought in, even becoming their poster boy for entrepreneurial capabilities in rural Canada.
As communication tools and technology continued to evolve so did WipWare products. Image analysis started it all with WipFrag, the original pioneering particle sizing software to analyze fragmentation. WipFrag tied into their online fragmentation analysis service MialFrag. Then from a combination of demand and new technology they developed a conveyor analysis products; Momentum fixed automated analysis system for measuring the size distribution of unconsolidated material on conveyor belts, Solo a complete stand alone portable unit to measure particle size, volumetrics, and contamination, and Vertex a simplified version of their typical online system, strictly purposed to detect oversize. Wipware also designed their Momentum system to be used for vehicle analysis as well as Reflex for blast optimization including detecting the trucks, measuring the load, identifying which pit it came from and the blast location. The software and apps can now be used on IOS and Android devices while still integrating with computer systems and central control facilities at operating mining and aggregate operations.
During the interview Tom pointed out that WipWare products are used from major mines and processing plants like Highland Valley Copper on their conveyor systems and small Mom and Pop aggregate operations. “We love solving problems for people” was not just something Tom said several times during the interview but something he shows at every level of the company. From the way WipWare products adapt to so many different types of customers to how their services are streamlined to ad value without interrupting the operations you can almost start to see the thousands of Wipware units around the world representing that love of solving problems.
After 25 year distribution partnerships are still intact around the world, a new team of developers continue to expand the WipWare products lines, and Tom’s son Thomas Palangio who now leads the company continues to refine operations. In a world demanding more data faster, and more efficiently sooner perhaps the first quarter century is only the beginning of the story for WipWare.
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