How Turnkey Instruments SA transformed their business with AssetPool

heavy vehicle brake testers to air quality monitoring equipment.

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An introduction to Turnkey Instruments SA

Turnkey Instruments SA is a subsidiary company of Turnkey Instruments Ltd, a leading designer and manufacturer of quality industrial and scientific instrumentation ranging from heavy vehicle brake testers to air quality monitoring equipment.

Established in 1997, Turkey Instruments SA imports instrumentation from the United Kingdom and sells primarily to the mining industry in South Africa. Turnkey Instruments SA has distribution rights throughout Africa and is the only accredited calibration lab in South Africa. 


The companies are known collectively as the Turnkey Group, and since March 2000, the Group obtained and has held an ISO 9001 quality assurance certificate. The Turnkey Group is also committed to reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing processes and daily operations.

What does Turnkey Instruments SA do?

The most popular product that Turnkey has on offer is their dynamic brake tester, having sold over 800 of these instruments.


Vehicles may be provided with any combination of the following braking systems:

  • a service brake – used for stopping and holding
  • a secondary or emergency brake – used for stopping if the service brake fails
  • a parking brake – used to hold a vehicle stationary 
  • retarders – an energy absorbing brake normally used to control speed

It’s generally necessary to test the performance of all braking systems provided on a vehicle, to ensure that safety is maintained.


Dynamic brake testing is not only important to have on a mine based on the number of moving heavy duty vehicles but is a legal requirement.


10 years ago Turnkey Instruments SA identified a need to not only sell these testers to customers, but to also conduct on site inspections for their customers. In carrying out these inspections as a third party service provider they ensure accurate information and reduce the risk carried by the customers. 


They now have approximately 50 mines that are serviced on an ongoing basis (daily, weekly and monthly inspections) with up to 8 staff members based on some sites. 


The Challenges experienced by Turnkey Instruments SA

The test results that Turnkey Instruments SA shares with their customers are beneficial both from a financial and legal standpoint; if a mine is not able to provide details to relevant authorities where required, they run the risk of being shut down (at a huge expense). 


The challenges in terms of their process came down to two of the most fundamental business aspects:

  • Time
  • Resources

The historic method for brake testing

When a brake test was carried out on a site, a small report would be printed from the tester with the results and this piece of paper would be taken back to the Turnkey Instruments SA offices, uploaded into their cloud based system and summarized for the customer. A driver would then have to physically deliver the report back to the customer for sign off. 


With the Turnkey Instruments SA offices being up to 1 420 km from their customers, this process could take up to 10 days to be completed; which is not ideal in an environment with so many ‘moving parts’ and the permanent risks associated with these parts. 


Opportunity to streamline their brake testing process

Turnkey Instruments SA could not deny that there was an opportunity to improve this process and started looking into the option to develop their own online platform. As instrumentation experts, they knew that a solution could be achieved but that it would take time and resources to implement; the two challenges that they were already trying to address. 


The introduction to FirePool

The Managing Director of Turnkey Instruments SA, Patrick Freeme, had known Michael Kirk for many years and learnt that he was developing an app for the Fire Industry which was addressing similar challenges to the ones that his business faced. While attending a tradeshow and understanding what FirePool could do, Patrick realized that he had found the solution for his business. 


Learn more about the history of AssetPool in this article.


With this Smart Inspection Platform, Turnkey Instruments would be able to reduce the amount of time it took for for reports to be shared with customers and resources required to transfer the data into a digital format, allowing team members to focus on the inspections themselves and take a forward thinking approach to their tasks based on accurate data.


Turnkey Instruments transforms to digital asset inspections

With the solution in hand, Turnkey Instruments was eager to roll out their Turnkey Asset Management (TAM) solution to their clients as soon as possible and after some small updates to the software they were ready to go.


FirePool also underwent a transformation within their business and became AssetPool - Automated Asset Compliance and Verification Software.


The first client meeting with a digital reporting offering

Towards the end of 2018, Patrick attended a meeting with the management team of a large South African mining operation and following discussions of offering their services and the benefits to the mine, he touched on the reporting capabilities that they were able to offer using the new (and improved) AssetPool platform.  With 70 - 80 point checks being done on each individual vehicle, it was unheard of to have the results available immediately after a completed inspection and to have the reports available in a dashboard that could track performance per vehicle was the ‘cherry on the top’. 


The engineering manager for the mine, with years of experience on his side could not contain his enthusiasm for the services on offer from Turnkey Instruments SA and took Patrick through to the contracts office for the process to begin. 


Implementation at the mine 

In August 2019 Turnkey Instruments SA started to work on site and was excited to see the results that could be achieved using their new digital platform. 


Inspections at the mine 

With 201 vehicles that need inspection of the pre-use checklist which consist of about 55 checks; Turnkey had approximately 11 055 checks to be conducted each month.


Typically, results from these assessments would take up to 10 working days to be made available to the mine but now the appointed recipients at the mine could access the data immediately after the inspection and could even track the performance of the Turnkey Instruments SA team members that were on the mine. 


The power of a Smart Inspection Platform: incident at the mine

In October 2019, there was an incident at the mine with a front-end loader rolling down an embankment and resulting in injuries to the driver. In events like these the DMR “Department of Mineral Resources” must be notified and evidence must be given immediately proving that the machine and operator were cleared to work. In the event where this evidence cannot be provided the Mine may be shut down at a

substantial cost to the Mine.


The mine was one step ahead of this based on the services of Turnkey Instruments SA and the Smart Inspection Platform that they were making use of for their site. 


Within minutes a full inspection history could be accessed to prove compliance and confirm that the front-end loader had been inspected at 14h24 that day along with all of the details of the inspection. The mine was able to continue running and experienced no downtime as a result of this incident.


Reporting requirements of the mine management team 

All businesses want to improve their productivity and performance over time and the mine was no different. They wanted a view of points of failure across the mine to better understand opportunities for improvement and what they could address to reduce waste and risk on the mine. The AssetPool Smart Inspection Platform did not have a report that could provide this information in the way the mine wanted to see. 


Turnkey Instruments approached AssetPool to determine if this was something that could be done. When they reviewed what was being requested, the reporting requirement made great sense not only for the mine but for all users of the platform. 


The report was developed and now Turnkey Instruments customers are able to easily identify points of risk within their operation and address them proactively. 


Frequent checks reduce the risks

With less time and resources required per inspection, Turnkey Instruments SA was able to offer their customers packages with an increased number of inspections. 


Turnkey Instruments SA  service 58 mines with brake testing services. All of these mines are using AssetPool as the reporting portal for brake testing services and 35% don’t just use us for brake testing but safety inspections as well and growing. Without AssetPool this would be an administrative nightmare.


AssetPool - a value add service for your customers

There are many benefits to implementing AssetPool's Smart Inspection Platform but a key benefit that Turnkey Instruments SA have demonstrated is the value add that can be offered to those that you already provide a service to. 


Using technology to minimize paper based records

Traditionally, inspections of equipment, machinery and assets are on a paper based model, which poses many challenges and frustrations. 


Paper based processes are time consuming, often inaccurate and risky; all of these increase the cost of the service offering to your customers. Making use of a digital Smart Inspection Platform also reduces the risks.


Improve efficiencies in any environment

Implementing the AssetPool Smart Inspection Platform makes your business more efficient enabling you to plan for your workforce and deploy them more efficiently. 


As a service provider, you support your clients in improving their efficiencies and help them to identify areas of risk that can be addressed proactively saving both time and money.



Your business could already be experiencing a significant ROI and improvement on services. Don’t delay any further, book an AssetPool demo today.


Book a demo with AssetPool

Michael Kirk

Specialist in process management, digital transformation and change management! Passionate about our businesses, it's people, friends and customers we help on a daily basis.

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