Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia is home to some of the most famous wine producing regions in the country, including the famous McLaren Vale region. From here, Kew Agricultural Engineering is supporting the farming industry, both as a supplier and manufacturer of agricultural equipment.
With decades of experience in manufacturing custom-built agricultural and vineyard equipment, Kew Agricultural Engineering (formerly known as Oliver Engineering) has produced farming equipment ranging from elevating grape and olive tip trailers to bin trailers, fertiliser spreaders, boring equipment and under vine mowers.
More recently, the team set about helping farmers affected by the devastating summer bushfires to rebuild their fencing and vineyard posts. The result was a combined fencing drill and hammer unit, which makes the process of erecting fences quick and efficient.
Director, Julian Kew says the innovation was born as the team was looking for a way to support the business through the downturn created by COVID-19.
“Following the devastating bushfires across large parts of Australia, there was significant damage to rural fencing and hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres of fencing and vineyard posts needing to be replaced,” says Julian. “The combined fencing drill and hammer unit allows both the drilling operation and the insertion of the post without moving the unit, resulting in a simpler operation and improved efficiency.”
Apart from manufacturing custom designed products, Kew Agricultural Engineering is a re-seller of machinery spare parts and consumables. The team also support their customers with services such as fabrication, repairs, modifications and improvements of agricultural tools and machinery.
As a long-standing customer of BSC’s Lonsdale branch, Kew Agricultural Engineering’s products feature parts from BSC’s trusted suppliers. Steve Wilkinson, Sales Representative at BSC Lonsdale says Kew Agricultural Engineering is regarded by its customers as “innovative problem solvers.”
“Kew Agricultural Engineering is a great example of an Australian business supporting the community in every way possible. The team is very competent in what they do and they use their expertise to provide apprentice trainings, as well as being problem solvers for vineyards in and around McLaren Vale.”
Of all the industrial businesses that CBC state manager Ralph Campagna has engaged with over the last 42 years working with CBC, he has found abattoirs to be among the most demanding from a maintenance point of view. Read more
Nearly 70 years ago, brothers Fred and Frank Vermeeren migrated to Australia from the Netherlands along with their parents and ended up settling in the small town of Keith in South Australia. About 11 years later, they founded an engineering and irrigation business that has since been passed on to the next generation in the family and today employs more than 20 staff and several apprentices.
Since its creation, the Vermeeren Bros Engineering and Irrigation company has proved to be an innovator in design and fabrication of irrigation and farming equipment. One of the company’s earlier designs was the Cattle Crush, an effective livestock handling system which became a staple for farmers across Australia, making its way as far as Alice Springs.
Another popular product designed by Vermeeren Bros was their renowned Minispreader, which facilitates easy spread of snail bait, mice bait, fertiliser and pasture seed from the back of a utility vehicle. The team has perfected the design over the years, adding optional attachments to distribute bait in two rows for vineyard use and a transfer bin to minimise the manual handling of bait and seeds.
Anthony Vermeeren, co-director, is proud of the quality of workmanship and the innovation his team delivers, which has helped the company build strong customer relationships over the years.
“Without quality workmanship we would not have seen returning customers and without innovation our business would not have lasted over 50 years. The importance of customer relations cannot be overstated,” he says.
BSC-Lonsdale sales representative Steve Wilkinson works closely with Anthony and his team to supply a wide range of industrial products for their day-to-day workshop needs. He is particularly impressed with Vermeeren Bros’ support for their staff and apprentices.
“Vermeeren Bros provide continuous onsite training to their staff and apprentices and invest in their education and skills development. Doing so, they are extending their support to their local community and setting a great example for other businesses in the area,” he concludes.
Vermeeren Bros is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.
Australia’s award-winning extra virgin olive oil, Cobram Estate, is advertised as ‘the only oil you need,’ and while that message pertains to the delicate process of cooking, the less delicate process of harvesting the olives relies on other types of lubricants, as Bryden Coote, Branch Manager at BSC’s Swan Hill explains.
“When you have a chain worth thousands of dollars installed on a harvesting machine, it can become quite expensive if the chains do not last through the harvest season, not to mention the downtime from having to replace the chain in the middle of harvesting,” says Bryden.
Cobram Estate is the flagship brand of Boundary Bend Limited (BBL) – Australia’s largest olive farmer and producer of extra virgin olive oil. Across its multiple olive groves in the Murray Valley region of Victoria, BBL owns over 2.5 million olive trees on more than 6000 hectares of farmland.
To efficiently harvest olives from these groves, BBL has been involved in developing its own unique olive harvester machines that enable continuous harvesting rather than the discontinuous system used in most other olive growing countries. During the harvest season, these machines work 24 hours a day to pick the olives when they are at their best.
Over the past couple of years and as recommended by Bryden, Sam Griffiths, Maintenance Manager at the Boundary Bend Estate has been using CRC TAC2 chain lubricants for the maintenance of the Boundary Bend harvester machines – with more than satisfactory results.
“Every day, as part of our routine maintenance, we spray the CRC TAC2 on the harvester chains and this has helped us extend the service life of the chains considerably,” says Sam. “We only use the harvester machines during the harvest season but by keeping the chains lubricated throughout the year, we have almost halved our chain breakdowns. Now we only replace the chains once or twice a year as part of our routine maintenance.”
Iain Faber, National Channel Manager at CRC Industries explains why TAC2 is a suitable choice for lubricating high-speed chains, such as the ones in Boundary Bend’s harvesters.
“The CRC TAC2 is a dual-viscosity lubricant, which means it can be sprayed onto the chain as an oil but it firms up into a grease-like consistency as it sets, enabling it to remain in place without flinging off. Because of this unique formulation, TAC2 can penetrate into the pins and the seals in the chain to effectively protect the chain against wear.
“Moreover, the TAC2 lubricant is resistant to water wash downs, so it can be safely used in areas where water is present. It has a wide operating temperature range, so you can use TAC2 in both hot and cold temperatures.”
But TAC2 is not the only chain lubricant CRC has on offer. The CRC GEL TAC is another chain lubricant with similar properties as TAC2 but suited to different applications, as Iain explains.
“I always use the example of a motorbike and a forklift,” says Iain. “Whereas the TAC2 is best suited for high speed applications like motorbike chains, GEL TAC is designed to stay in place in low speed, high pressure applications such as the chains used in general leaf and pin chains and overhead forklifts.
“The CRC GEL TAC has the similar benefits as the TAC2 in terms of dual-viscosity and water resistance, in addition to having a higher temperature performance. The GEL TAC can withstand temperatures up to 300 degree Celsius compared to the 165 degree Celsius in TAC2. Both products are water-insoluble, meaning that they both perform very well in high water environments and resist water wash off.
Additionally, CRC also offers the Food Grade range of chain lubricants for applications where risk of incidental contact with food is present.
“The CRC Food Grade chain lubricants use a special blend of mineral oil and synthetic additives. The formulation for these lubricants is such that after you spray the oil, it forms bubbles and this foaming action gives the oil better penetration rate into the chain,” he says.
“CRC’s Food Grade range are all NSF-H1 certified and tested for a list of 25 allergens, making them safe to use across all food processing applications. CRC also has all of the certifications required for audit purposes, enabling food processors to easily produce these when required.”
Back to the context of the BBL application, Bryden says in addition to recommending the best lubrication product for each application, BSC experts can also advise on the best maintenance regime to help extend the chain longevity for customers.
“Our customers invest heavily on chains and sprockets for their equipment and it’s important that these chains are maintained as best as possible. When BSC staff visit any site, they often check the equipment and make maintenance recommendations depending on the site conditions and the equipment available on the plant,” says Bryden.
As for Sam, he says he is quite pleased with the services he receives from the BSC Swan Hill branch, particularly Bryden, with whom he has been engaging regularly for the past four years.
“BSC is a very good supplier and the team are genuinely helpful, always going out of their way to supply us the required parts and products when we need them urgently. It’s a relationship built on trust and grown over time.”
Safety was top of mind for a top Australian manufacturer of bakery products when they approached their long-term product suppliers at BSC seeking recommendation for a suitable chain lubricant. Nick Gunn, the BSC account manager at the time, recommended the ROCOL FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Lubricant from ITW Polymers and Fluids, which resulted in a long-term supply program, covering not just the ISO-certified oven chain lubricants, but also a wide range of other oils and greases in the FOODLUBE family.
According to Nick, the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio adds an invaluable safety dimension that not only ensures food industry requirements are met, but additionally works to optimise the production in food plants and simplify the overall cleaning process.
“FOODLUBE’s reputation as a globally recognised lubricant for food and beverage manufacturing means that our customer could use the products with complete peace of mind, with no concerns regarding contamination or machinery performance,” he says. “Due to the wide operating temperatures, FOODLUBE Hi-Temp Chain Oil can operate at temperatures ranging from minus 25 degrees to 280 degrees Celsius, they use the same product in their ovens, as well as in their freezers.”
Emilio Seballos, Channel Manager for Heavy Industry at ITW Polymers and Fluids, explains what makes the FOODLUBE proposition attractive for food manufacturers.
“ROCOL FOODLUBE has NSF accreditation, which is globally recognised, and it is also HACCP certified. On top of that, many ROCOL products provide an additional level of safety assurance through their ISO 21469:2006 certification. Like NSF H1, this certification is globally recognised and important for British Retail Consortium audits as it provides credible, independent assurance that products are formulated, manufactured, stored and supplied hygienically and safely.”
Another area where food manufacturers can benefit from the use of ROCOL FOODLUBE products, Emilio explains, is to rationalise and simplify their lubricant inventories.
“The technology behind food grade lubricant products has improved drastically over the last 10 to 15 years. Whereas many food manufacturers still prefer to keep separate inventories for food grade and non-food grade lubricant in their plants, they are increasingly coming to realise the simplifications they can achieve by switching to food-safe products through more of their applications, thus eliminating the risk of cross-contamination in their plants,” he says.
“In the case of the FOODLUBE product range, all the oils and greases are made with a synthetic base oil, which means they don’t break down and carbonise when exposed to high temperatures. This in turn leads to prolonged maintenance intervals as the lubricant does not evaporate from the chain, nor does it cause the chain to drag. The FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Spray also has great resistance to water washdowns, so you don’t need to lubricate your chain as frequently in a high water washdown environment. All of this leads to reduced maintenance expenses for the plants and enhances their total reliability and efficiency,” he adds.
As a routine practice, Emilio says the ITW and BSC personnel often perform joint assessments for BSC clients to help them rationalise their inventories.
“The beauty of the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio is that many of the products serve multiple purposes. For example, your gearbox oil in one application can be used as chain lubricant in another application. Similarly, your hydraulic lubricant might double up as a chain lubricant, depending on the situation,” he says.
“Where ITW P&F and BSC come into play is to help our customers rationalise their inventories to simplify their management. In one audit we did in conjunction with BSC some years ago, the customer was using 25 different lubricants from 13 different brands. We were able to simplify this down to 12 lubricants from the FOODLUBE range.”
Within this portfolio, Emilio says the FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease has been a “game-changer” in the food industry.
“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is a food grade grease designed for bearings operating at high speeds and high temperatures. Because this grease has a consistency grade of 1, in addition to a wide temperature range of minus 30 to 180 degree Celsius, it can effectively replace multiple types of greases in one application line.
“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is resistant to water washdowns and ISO21469 certified, so you can safely use it where stringent quality control measures are in place.”
The FOODLUBE WD spray is another popular product within the range, Emilio says.
“The FOODLUBE Water Displacement (WD) spray is ideal for use as a general lubricant to protect small components such as linkages, pivots and pins. Having high temperature resistance (up to 120 degree Celsius) and being synthetic based make this a multi-purpose spray that you can use for many applications. The WD Spray is also fortified with PTFE for increased lubricity and like all FOODLUBE products, it is free from colour and odour – which is very important in the food industry.”
As an additional safety measure, all plastic components including the lids and actuators in the ROCOL FOODLUBE products are metal detectable and capable of detection by most metal detection equipment.
Since starting his business over 34 years ago in the small scenic town of Branxholm in north east Tasmania, Bruce Branch has been committed to supporting the agricultural and forestry industries in his region.
Since its inception in 1986, Bruce’s business, Branch Fabrications has grown into a ten-employee company, offering services including steel fabrication, contract labour, equipment maintenance, steel purchases and nuts and bolts to the farming community in northern Tasmania.
Bruce says remaining loyal to his roots is what gives him most satisfaction when looking back at the business’ growth over the years.
“We are a small, progressive company that is very loyal to our suppliers, customers, and employees. Our local area has seen major industries close down or move away. Branch Fabrications, however, has continued to grow with innovation in both equipment and personnel,” he says.
“We have also trained over ten apprentices and have had one apprentice win ‘Apprentice of the Year’ three years in a row. This demonstrates our ability to train, mentor and support young people at the beginning of their careers,” he adds.
Branch Fabrication’s potato trailers are particularly popular among the customers due to their high quality and the additional carting capacity they offer to farmers and contractors. Additionally, Branch Fabrications helps its customers with general engineering and maintenance, sandblasting and spray painting.
For a number of decades now, Branch Fabrications has been working with the WebsterBSC branch in Launceston to source their required parts and products. Luke Gee, Territory Manager, WebsterBSC says the business is held in high regards by the community for its services.
“Branch Fabrications has done a great job of supporting the local farmers and sawmills in the region. They are well respected by the community for their laid-back and reliable services.”
Bruce says he is a firm believer in quality consistency as the driver behind customer loyalty.
“As a local business, we have a close understanding of the needs of our community and consistently produce high quality products. These factors ensure we stay in business and therefore stimulate the local economy.”
As an application engineer with Henkel Australia, Rocco Mammoliti has held hundreds of LOCTITE maintenance and repair workshops for BSC customers over the years, but there was one such event that still brings a smile to his face every time he recalls it.
“One of the most memorable maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) workshops I’ve ever held was when I had just started working with Henkel a few years ago and I was invited by BSC to present an MRO workshop in the regional town of Koolunga in South Australia,” says Rocco.
“As I parked my mobile training truck at the local agricultural equipment store in this one-horse type town, I found that a crowd of 45 to 50 farmers had turned up for the day. As it happened, that day was very windy so the farmers could not spray their crops and had all decided to join the training, which was amazing because it gave me the opportunity to have great interactions with the farmers. I was also amazed at the farmers’ knowledge of the LOCTITE products. It eventually led to a great day of sales for the business that had invited me there.”
The MRO workshops, as BSC product manager Michael Rowe elaborates, are part of Henkel Australia’s support for the LOCTITE product distributors and end-users alike, wherein experts from Henkel review common failure causes and prevention methods within the relevant industry sector, offering guidance and product knowledge as needed.
“BSC can help organise these workshops for anyone interested to benefit from them. The ultimate goal here is to improve reliability and save time for BSC customers by increasing their knowledge of the products they sell or use.”
A full MRO workshop can take up to 3.5 hours, but Rocco says the Henkel team can also offer condensed versions, introducing the full range of the LOCTITE MRO products from threadlockers to thread sealants, gasket sealants, retaining compounds and instant adhesives. The Henkel team also has the capability of delivering virtual MRO workshops by using advanced online video conferencing tools and have been executing these with great success. This ensures that every customer is looked after and receives the support they need.
“What we often find in these workshops is that the product users, such as the farmers and maintenance specialists, have a fair knowledge of the products they are using. They just need some guidance around the applications,” says Rocco. “We help them understand why and how a product hasn’t worked for their specific application, which is often because the wrong product has been used. It also gives us an opportunity to introduce the latest improvements in the LOCTITE product range.”
While on the topic of improvements in the LOCTITE anaerobic range, Rocco mentions the new global packaging adopted by LOCTITE this year.
“The change in packaging started as an exercise to verify the authenticity of our product range, so customers could be sure their product was not counterfeit. But it became an opportunity to include more product detail and information for customers. By scanning the QR code, customers will have access to the online portal where there is technical data, as well as how-to videos and a mobile product selector guide,” says Rocco.
“We have also recently introduced the LOCTITE 518 Gasket Maker Pen, which makes the job of gasketing metal surfaces, including the disassembled transfer cases on tractors, so much easier for the farmers.”
As a company, Rocco says LOCTITE is constantly improving the formulation of its products. He uses the example of the LOCTITE Instant Adhesive – popularly known as the Super Glue – to demonstrate this.
“When LOCTITE bought the Super Glue technology from Eastman Kodak back in the 1960s, the maximum temperature tolerance of the product was around 70 degrees Celsius. LOCTITE improved that so that now, the LOCTITE Instant Adhesive can withstand temperatures as high as 120 degrees Celsius. Similar technology advancements have been implemented across the entire product range, making them better year after year.”
Back in context, Rocco says the LOCTITE MRO workshops further offer an opportunity for LOCTITE to understand the needs of its customers better.
“As they say, we learn something new every day and what better way to learn than by listening to our customers?”
In 1917, when Frederick Knuckey first established his blacksmith shop in Winchelsea in regional Victoria, he wouldn’t have imagined that the name Knuckey would one day appear on nationally and internationally recognised agricultural machines, with the family business still going strong, four generations and over 100 years later.
Today, Knuckeys Agricultural Engineering employs 17 full time employees and several casual staff at its Winchelsea facility, from where it supplies a wide range of farming equipment throughout Australia – both from its own range of in-house developed agricultural machinery and as an authorised supplier for leading international brands.
Knuckeys’ two latest released products, the Air Seeder and Precision Sowing System, have received wide-spread attention from farmers across Australia, as well as globally. The Knuckey Precision Sowing System earned the title of The Australian Agricultural Machine of the Year at the 2019 Elmore Machinery Field Days.
Warwick Knuckey, who operates the family business along with his brother, father and uncle, believes the secret behind the success of Knuckeys’ products is that they are developed in collaboration with the farmers.
“We value the opportunity to work side by side with farmers in our region to understand the challenges they are facing so that what we produce is not just a machine, but a complete solution,” says Warwick.
“Throughout our journey as an agricultural machinery producer, we have always enjoyed challenging the status-quo and coming up with products that are innovative and cutting-edge. Some examples of these are the 12-metre wide Knuckey Southern Seeder and the High Capacity Dual Pickup Front, which is the first of its kind in the world,” he adds.
Jonathan King, branch manager at CBC’s Geelong branch, says CBC has enjoyed supporting Knuckeys’ engineering and manufacturing work for over 30 years.
“CBC is proud to be supporting Knuckeys’ with chains and bearing for their equipment, which include the Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block housed units,” he says. “Knuckeys’ harvesting equipment provide solutions for real world applications and they are built to the highest standards of quality.”
Kingsway Welding is no ordinary welding and repair business. Based near Minlaton on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia, the family business has been manufacturing unique farming equipment for the past 30 years that address some of the most common problems for farmers in their region and beyond.
Snail contamination in grains is one such headache that the company is helping farmers with. Yorke Peninsula was in fact the first region in Australia where the slimy invaders first emerged nearly a century ago, slowly finding their way through other parts of the country. Kingsway Welding produces single and double snail rollers capable of crushing up to 80 tonnes of snails per hour.
Manager Nicholas Cook says Kingsway Welding’s snail rollers are simple to use and very user-friendly.
“We’ve been making snail rollers for the past 10 years and currently supply to customers in South Australia and Western Australia. With the problem becoming more serious in other states and the silos rejecting the contaminated grains, we plan to broaden our reach to help more farmers deal with this problem.”
Kingsway Welding also specialises in the repair and manufacture of heavy-duty rollers, including stone rollers and triple farm rollers.
Workshop manager Craig Piller says Kingsway’s triple rollers are among the largest and the most heavy-duty rollers in the industry.
“Our rollers are extremely heavy-duty and can be made to order in sizes ranging from 9 metres (30ft) to 15 metres (50ft). Some of our rollers have been working in the field for over 15 years without needing any major repair. We also use hydraulic transport wheels in our designs, which makes them easy to move around without damaging the bitumen.”
Brenton Jones, senior sales representative at CBC, says CBC has enjoyed supporting Kingsway Welding through its growing phase, supplying them with parts and consumable products required at their workshop.
“Kingsway Welding’s products are manufactured to a very high quality of workmanship and just like they helps farmers in South Australia, they have the potential to solve similar problems for farmers in other states.”
Kingsway Welding is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.
Based in the small town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has been making some of Australia’s most popular non-alcoholic beverages since the 1960s.
Over the past few years, BSC’s Bundaberg branch has been working with the beverage company as a trusted distributor of industrial products and services. BSC Sales Representative James Mcfarlane regularly checks on Bundaberg Brewed Drinks’ production plant to make sure the plant is well-supplied with their required products.
It was during one of these routine visits that Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Engineering Manager, Daniel Engelbrecht, sought James’ advice on finding suitable roller chains for the rinsing machines – which are used to wash up to 400,000 of the company’s iconic ‘stubby’ bottles every day.
The 60-metre long chain houses the cleats and rubbers that hold the bottles upside down while water sprays rinse the bottles. As Daniel explains, the existing heavy-duty coated chains tended to get rusted in the presence of water and chemicals and wore out quickly.
“The chain operates in a very wet area so we cannot use mild steel or even hard steel chains because these get rusted and the rust can get washed up into the bottles. We also cannot lubricate the chains as we do not want to wash the bottles with greasy water. Previously, we have been using chains with special coatings, but the chemicals we use for washing the bottles attack the coating and it shortens the chains’ life,” says Daniel.
James’ recommendation to Daniel was to use stainless steel Diamond chains, which could provide the desired level of corrosion resistance, while being strong enough to withstand the wear.
“As the roller chains go over the sprockets, they turn 270 degrees in the linear direction as well as 270 degrees sideways. The twisting movement coupled with the chain rubbing on the plate resulted in the wearing down of the chain’s corrosion protection coating. Daniel and his team had not had a good experience with their previous chains as the coating would wear quickly due to this, causing the chains to corrode sooner,” says James.
“The Diamond stainless steel chains have excellent corrosion resistance in addition to offering wear resistance that the Bundaberg team was looking for to get sufficient life out of their chains. The corrosion resistance of Diamond’s stainless steel outlasts the previous coated chains and they have not been experiencing that same wear removal of the chain’s protective feature,” he adds.
Since switching to the Diamond stainless steel chains, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has been able to extend the service life of the chains and Daniel says he is happy he took James’ advice.
“We have been using the Diamond chains for the past nine months and they are still performing very well. In the past, we were lucky to get six months from a chain,” says Daniel. “The chains are also very cost-competitive, so we are very happy with the performance overall.”
He says the collaboration between Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and BSC has been very successful over the years.
“We have worked with other suppliers before but the solutions they offered were not what we were looking for. The BSC team has experts specialising in different fields, so they can provide us with the right solution every time.”
Diamond produces a range of single-pitch and double-pitch stainless steel chains to suit different applications. Troy Markland, BSC’s national product manager for power transmission says the most common Diamond stainless steel chains are the 300 series.
“The 300 series stainless steel chains offer the most corrosion resistance and are the most common chains in the food and beverage applications. The 600 series also provide very good corrosion resistance, but they have a higher wear resistance,” he explains.
Apart from the off-the-shelf chains available at all BSC branches, Troy says BSC can also order special chains from the factory when a customer requires customised chain lengths, chains with special attachments or chains that are paired together.
“The chains provided to Bundaberg Brewed Drinks are 300 series chains with extended pins to enable them to accommodate the bottle grippers. We ordered it specifically from overseas for Bundaberg Brewed Drinks to use for their bottle rinsing application,” he adds.
When it comes to the maintenance of chains drive systems, Troy says it is crucial to keep the sprockets in good condition.
“Extended chain life can be achieved by ensuring sprockets are in good condition. The sprockets should be inspected at every chain replacement or at set maintenance intervals.”
Correct tension of the chain is another vital aspect in the maintenance process, Troy elaborates.
“Through periodic measurement of the length of the chain and comparing it to the maximum allowable elongation for that particular chain, you can prevent any unexpected failures. The chain should be replaced when elongation reaches 1.5 per cent for length-matched, indexing, vertical orientation, no slack take-up or fixed centre drives or 3 per cent for standard drives,” he says.
“For example, the chain drive in the bottle rinsing machine is a critical drive because if the chain elongates excessively, it can no longer grip the bottles properly and the bottles will fall and smash.”
Troy says the BSC team are all well experienced to assist customers with the maintenance of their chain drives.
“We have the technical capability to assist and determine sprocket conditions. Where needed, we can also educate customers on the correct way of inspecting the sprockets, to ensure maximum life for their equipment,” he concludes.
How Midwest Fabrication, a Queensland-based manufacturer of grain harvesting equipment, grew from building the first machine for their own farm to gaining national recognition for their products in just over two decades is the material great Aussie success stories are made of.
Martin Schutt, a second-generation grain farmer started Midwest on his family farm north of Moonie in Queensland. After purchasing his first combine harvester in 1998, Martin was frustrated with the performance of the imported cutting platforms and thought he could improve the design to gain better efficiencies in the field.
Starting from a basic sketch drawn around the kitchen table, the Schutt family were able to develop their first cutting platform in the workshop and test it in the field. The platform soon received national recognition from the contract harvesting community for its simple and efficient design. Orders started pouring in forcing the business to relocate to Dalby to be able to meet the increasing demands.
The company is renowned for its innovation winning multiple awards including Best New Innovation Award, Best Australian Agricultural Machine, Best Manufacturing Business and Business of the Year.
Martin says Midwest was the first manufacturer in the world to build a 12 metre (40 ft) front in 1998, and the 15 metre fronts followed a decade later. The advancements in innovation continue to set the standards and benchmark leading the world in grain harvesting technology now producing a whopping 18.3 metre (60 ft) harvest front, another world first.
But Midwest Fabrication’s innovations did not stop there. Over the years, the company has grown its range of draper platforms to suit different applications and fit all major combine harvester brands. Additionally, the company also produces a wide range of accessories and spare parts for its cutting platforms, including cutting knives specially designed for Australian farming conditions.
Midwest’s sole goal is to help increase harvesting efficiency for farmers and contact harvesters while reducing overheads and running costs. The wider drapers mean customers are working their harvesters to maximum capacity, saving time, fuel costs and receiving better return on their investments.
Midwest Fabrication has built a highly successful Australia wide dealer network consisting of 92 Agricultural dealers supporting our product nationally and are currently in the process of developing a one-acre factory in Dalby to bring its engineering and manufacturing facilities under one roof.
Martin believes such a rapid growth by a family business would not have been possible without dedication to continuous improvement and innovation.
“It’s only through constant improvement and being innovative that we’ve been able to achieve what we have achieved. Ever since we built our first unit, we’ve been up against some of the largest global agricultural machinery manufacturers; but through constant innovation, we’ve been able to remain ahead of the competition.
Over the past 16 years, Midwest Fabrication has been working with CBC Australia – as the largest supplier of bearings and industrial parts in Australia – to source components for its in-house designed products.
Martin says the collaboration with CBC has enabled Midwest Fabrication to refine its products further, making them more efficient and durable.
“We are continually improving the mechanical design of our products. In one example, CBC helped us replace the original four-band ‘B’ type v-belts on the main drive with the Gates high-strength Predator belts, and more recently we improved the design again and introduced the Gates Polychain carbon belts, providing a more efficient, quieter and cooler running drive belt.”
Warren Beale, CBC’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) manager for Queensland, says apart from being a key supplier, CBC also offers engineering and design supports to Midwest Fabrication where required.
“After so many years of working with Midwest Fabrication and holding regular meetings to understand their requirements, we now have a very clear understanding of the products they need each harvest season. This allows CBC to maintain the right stock level for Midwest Fabrication to meet its requirements when their demand is at its peak.
“Additionally, we also help them with engineering support and application-specific information. This might be helping with product improvements as it was in the case of the Gates Polychain belt upgrades or suggesting alternative components to make the designs lighter and more efficient,” he says.
Commenting on winning the Gold prize for Motion Asia Pacific’s Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020, Martin says the win is a result of hard work put forward by the team, as much as a result of engineering excellence and innovation.
“This award is also a recognition of our staff’s skills, their dedication to the business and their pride in their workmanship. If not for them, we would not be here today,” says Martin.
“As business owners, it is easy to get lost in the day-to-day running and focussing on keeping the wheels turning and not celebrate the successes when they come along. This recognition is a great reminder for us to reflect on what we have built over the years from that sketch around the kitchen table, our significant growth, and the exciting future ahead of Midwest.”
When discussing the strides made through technology in inventory management, eCommerce expert Zac Gray is keen to get two clear messages across – the first is that these solutions are highly bespoke, and the second is that they can radically reduce operational costs for any business in the Paddock to Plate sector.
“The most important feature of the on-site solutions we offer is that they are highly customisable and tailored to suit every customer based on their unique requirements,” explained Zac, who is the Manager, Marketing – Digital Business Programs & eCommerce at Industrial Solutions Australia, part of Motion Asia Pacific. “I can guarantee that we can reduce costs and improve efficiencies with any customer out there through our various inventory control systems.”
The onsite solutions programme that Motion Asia Pacific provide includes four types of technology: industrial vending, vendor managed inventory (VMI), repair and warranty tracking, and RFID tracing (Radio Frequency Identification). These are enabled by an industry partnership with Inventory Control Systems (ICS), the Australasian reseller of CribMaster– a globally-recognised leader of industrial inventory and asset management solutions.
According to Zac, there are many advantages of onsite solutions, with three key overarching benefits that include improved compliance, increased productivity and reduced operational costs. Other key advantages include 24/7 inventory access, traceability, and worker accountability.
“Traditionally, you would have a full time employee to run a storeroom which may then only be open for eight hours a day in a five day week – that’s not practical for a 24/7 facility when critical spare parts or PPE may be urgently needed out of those hours,” explains Zac. “So, having round-the-clock inventory access is a big one, but also being able to control and track where products or tools are going is key.”
John Meaney, Business Development Director at ICS, says the Australian food and beverage sector stands to benefit greatly from these advanced technologies.
“The Global CribMaster community has demonstrated the benefits that can be derived using advanced RFID technology and related vending systems, to control access to of consumables, PPE, spare parts, fasteners, and tooling,” he said.
“Australian success stories include global glass bottle manufacturers, confectioners, and beverage markets that have achieved significant reduction in product usage (up to 50 per cent in some cases), reduction in labour intensity of administration, and the ability to reinforce safety policies within their processes.”
John also illustrated the importance of tracking and safety control in a food and beverage context.
“Where food and beverage facilities can truly benefit from these systems is in food safety and the tracking of tooling across the red line,” he said. “For example, if a worker goes into an RFID controlled store and takes a blade for the production line, the system will report if that blade hasn’t been returned and alert the appropriate supervisors – as this could be a potential contaminant to the end product.”
Having the ability to track where product or tools are going in a highly scrupulous manner not only increases worker accountability but can dramatically reduce waste. Zac estimates that a business can reduce their product consumption and waste by up to 35 per cent through increased visibility.
Zac further pointed out the benefits of setting up a contactless ‘click and collect’ approach to ensure safety and traceability – which has been especially prioritised during the pandemic.
“We can set up on-site solutions so that they’re completely driven by technology to reduce contact and the risk of transmission throughout an entire workforce,” he said. “For example, we can put in access requirements and use technology such as voice activated vending machines,” Zac says.
Moreover, the technologies can provide centralised pattern analysis and detailed insights into product consumption. An on-site solution might also include automatic re-ordering so that customers don’t run out of critical spares or PPE.
“A lot of customers are not set up to look at velocity of usage with regards to PPE or consumables, and what their wastage levels are – we can do that for them. Centralised reporting will show them exactly what is being used, what they are paying and where it is going,” explains Zac.
Batch tracking is another solution that Zac says is gaining popularity in the food and beverage industry: “For example, we could use RFID on a production line to track and trace batches.”
Notably, he says the on-site solutions “do not dictate what you can vend – it is the other way around”, concluding that, “we will never try to design a solution around a type of technology, be that a type of vending machine or RFID setup. We gain an understanding of the specific customer requirements and then we use the technology to tailor the solution.”
As the organisation responsible for managing the storage and timely shipment of Queensland’s raw sugar exports, Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) puts a lot of emphasis on safe and efficient operations.
QSL’s Operations division provides operational services for Sugar Terminals Limited’s (STL’s) six bulk sugar terminals at Cairns, Mourilyan, Townsville, Lucinda, Mackay and Bundaberg. In an average year, STL’s terminals handle around 3.5 million tonnes of raw sugar. With such a critical responsibility, ensuring maximum efficiency at the terminals is a top priority for QSL.
As a key distributor of engineering products and services across multiple industries in Australia, BSC has been supplying essential products to QSL’s Operations teams for some time. Shell Omala Industrial Gear Oil and Shell Gadus grease are two important products that BSC regularly supplies to QSL.
Apart from being an industrial supplies distributor, BSC specialists have also assisted the QSL Operations team in the past to gain better understanding of lubrication best practices. More recently, BSC’s Area Account Manager Paul King and Reliability Engineer Michael Phillips conducted a thorough lubrication survey at the Cairns and Mourilyan terminals to make sure the conveyors and ship loaders were running optimally.
“Conveyor systems make up our main mechanical infrastructure,” says Jason Clark, QSL’s Mourilyan Terminal Supervisor. “The sugar is received, stored and finally shipped through the conveyor system. So, we needed to make sure that the pulley bearings and the gearboxes that drive the conveyor belts were being lubricated properly and that our team were doing everything right.”
By going through every drive unit and gearbox, as well as speaking to the maintenance team about their maintenance routines, the BSC team was able to outline areas where the terminals could enhance their lubrication efficiencies.
“The report we received from BSC post the lubrication audit was incredibly thorough,” says Jason. “They have recommended a range of products available that enable us to automate some of our critical bearings, leaving more time available for our skilled workforce to focus on continuous improvement and preventative maintenance.”
Paul recommends using lubrication surveys to avoid common mistakes associated with lubrication.
“Through a lubrication survey, we can find out if someone is over-lubricating or under-lubricating their bearings, whether they are using the right lubricant for their application or whether there is any risk of cross contamination on the site,” he explains.
As a specialist on Shell products and a valued member of the Viva Energy Technical Helpdesk team, Silvana Farrugia also shares her expertise on gearbox lubrication best practices.
“Always check the service manual for the correct lubricant recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM),” she points out. “The OEM will have performed viscosity calculations based on operating conditions, speeds and loads, to ensure the desired film thickness is always maintained. The OEM will also have considered the type of base oil required, for example, a synthetic lubricant may be required for higher operating temperatures. These lubricants will have a much better resistance to thermal degradation, and better oxidation stability.”
“Once the correct lubricant has been chosen, it is important to turn our attention to maintaining gearbox performance,” Silvana adds. “Gearboxes often run in dirty and dusty environments. It is important to avoid ingress of contamination to avoid wear and foaming, which can lead to overheating, and poor lubrication. The gearbox should be cleaned before topping up and breathers should be checked to ensure that they are the correct type and clean. Any condensation that enters through the breather can cause the formation of sludge, which can also lead to foaming.”
The partnership between BSC and Viva Energy, which is reflected in the collaboration for supply of high-quality Shell Lubricants to the QSL Operations division, is one that Jason and his team appreciate greatly.
“We have been using Shell products for some time, so we were pleased to learn that BSC were suppliers of Shell Lubricants. We use Shell Lubricants in all of our bearings and gearboxes on terminal conveyor systems,” he says.
“The BSC team is always only a phone call away and always ready to assist where they can. Their back up service has been first rate,” he adds.
When the operators at Tassal Group’s Huonville salmon processing facility in Tasmania were frustrated with having to replace their conveyor belt roller bearings every few weeks, it was WebsterBSC’s Sales Service Representative, Dean Nomikos who first suggested switching to the NSK Molded-Oil bearings.
The existing stainless steel bearings, as Dean explains, were failing frequently in the harsh working conditions, keeping the maintenance team busy with bearing replacements and frequent greasing.
“The processing facility uses lots of water and chemical cleaners to keep the conveyor systems sanitised. As a result, the bearings were in a very corrosive environment,” says Dean. “In addition to being highly resistant to corrosion, Molded-Oil roller bearings also eliminate the need for daily greasing, which makes them an environmentally-friendly bearing solution for the plant.”
Clinton O’Neil, a mechanical fitter who has been working with Tassal for nearly 20 years, says switching to Molded-Oil roller bearings has saved the maintenance team significant time in bearing replacement and lubrication.
“Before switching to Molded-Oil, we had to change out the bearings every 2-3 weeks. But not anymore. The new bearings easily last six months or more and the best thing is that they don’t need any lubrication. You just put them in and forget about them. Before switching to Molded-Oil, we had to grease the bearings daily,” he says.
Clinton says the Tassal maintenance team has since decided to replace most of the bearings used in conveyors at the Tassal Huonville facility and other processing facilities with Molded-Oil bearings.
“We prefer using high-quality bearings that last longer rather than using cheap bearings. We had already been using the NSK tapered roller bearings in our salmon smoker kilns successfully, therefore NSK was a preferred bearing brand for us,” he says.
“The Huonville facility receives fresh salmon from Tassal’s Dover processing facility. We process around 20 tonnes of fresh fish per day to produce approximately 5-6 tonnes of finished products. The conveyors take the fish through all stages of processing, from the raw fish to the finished product and we now use the NSK Molded-Oil in most of those conveyors.”
The secret behind the NSK Molded-Oil bearings’ resistance to corrosion can be found in their unique features.
Molded-Oil bearings are lubricated with NSK’s own oil-impregnated material – Molded-Oil – which consists of lubricating oil and polyolefin resin that has an affinity for oil. Lubricant slowly seeping from this material provides ample lubrication to the bearing for extended periods.
Because the bearings can be lubricated with minute quantities of oil that exudes from Molded-Oil, the bearings are able to minimise oil leakage. Packing with Molded-Oil after providing the bearing surface with special treatment realises smooth rotation of rolling elements.
As Dave Healey, NSK Australia Sales Engineer explains, Molded-Oil bearings are ideal for use in water or dust contaminated environments.
“In washdown applications in the food and beverage industry, it’s important to protect the rolling elements inside the bearing from getting corroded. That’s where the Molded-Oil bearing comes into the picture to provide a corrosion-free solution,” he says.
“There are other applications where we generally recommend Molded-Oil. For example, if you have an application that is difficult to grease, perhaps due to the remote location or any access restrictions, you might want to switch to a maintenance-free bearing. Another application is in vertical shafts. Because of the gravity, the lubricants tend to leak out of the bearing. That is where having solid lubricant eliminates any risk of oil leakage,” he explains.
As the largest producer of Tasmanian grown Atlantic salmon, Tassal has three direct hatcheries with capacity to produce over 10m smolts per year. The smolt are majority reared at the company’s land-based Rookwood Road RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) in Ranelagh, Tasmania. After eight to twelve months, the smolt are transferred to Tassal’s four marine zones in the sea, where our Sanctuary pens have a volume over 20,000 cubic metres and holds enough Salmon to produce at least 300 tonnes once harvested.
Processing the fish into final products ready to dispatch to the consumer market occurs at Tassal’s five processing facilities, of which three – Huonville, Dover and Margate – are in Tasmania. Dean says WebsterBSC has been working with all three facilities over the years as a trusted supplier.
“As a supplier of bearings and engineering supplies in Tasmania, we work closely with fisheries and marine farms to make sure they have access to the latest solutions and products. For the past 11-12 years, I’ve been personally checking on Tassal’s processing facilities, keeping in touch with the maintenance personnel every week to see if there’s anything I can help them with,” Dean says.
Clint says he is happy to be working with WebsterBSC, particularly praising the team’s knowledge of maintenance requirements.
“The team at WebsterBSC are very easy to work with. They all have very good maintenance knowledge and help us with any information we need. Even when we don’t exactly know what solution we are looking for, they go out and source something for us from their suppliers. So, the collaboration is an absolute win-win,” he concludes. NSK Molded-Oil Bearings Key Product Features:
Clean environment with grease-free property and no oil refilling.
Operating life more than twice that of grease-lubricated bearings.
Excellent in water or dust contaminated environments.
Environmentally friendly with very minimal oil leakage.
Ideal for vertical shaft applications.
High integrity contact-seal type available in standard inventory for ball bearings.
Available in ball bearing, wide inner ring bearings and spherical roller bearings.
Available in the ball bearing type is high grade stainless steel.
Nobody who is allergic to gluten wants to bite into their ‘gluten-free’ biscuit to find that it did in fact contain traces of gluten. Manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that this cannot happen.
Water washdowns are used in food and beverage processing plants to prevent cross-contamination between batches of different substances, as well as to eliminating bacteria or microorganisms from the surfaces of the machines.
But washdowns cause additional challenges when it comes to design and selection of machinery components. For example, standard bearings can quickly rust in wet conditions. Processing plants with heavy washdowns therefore need to use bearing materials that can withstand the corrosion. BSC Australia distributes Schaeffler’s FAG Black Series for this very situation. According to Wayne D’Souza, National Accounts Manager at Industrial Solutions Australia, part of Motion Asia Pacific (BSC’s holding company), Schaeffler’s FAG Black Series radial insert ball bearing and housing units feature a Durotect BS surface treatment to improve the bearing’s resistance to harsh, corrosive environments.
“Machines and conveyors used in a food manufacturing plant are often fitted with standard bearing and housing units by the original equipment manufacturers. These standard bearings usually rust within a few months, or even less, under corrosive washdown conditions. That is where using products like the FAG Black Series by Schaeffler offers much greater longevity and reduces downtime,” he says.
Other features of the Black Series also make it a robust choice for food and beverage manufacturing and processing plants, according to D’Souza.
“The FAG Black Series housing units feature flake graphite cast iron housings with a concave bore in which the radial insert ball bearings are fitted. These units are matched to each other and are available as plummer block housing units, flanged housing units and take-up housing units. So, there is a wide range available to suit different applications.
“Further, the Black Series radial insert ball bearings are supplied with RSR seals, which are zinc plated seal lips made from nitrile rubber (NBR) and additional flinger shield. The seal can add another level of protection to prevent water and dust from entering the bearing,” he adds. The Durotect coated inner ring surface contacting the seal lip does not corrode and thus provides a smooth and effective sealing over a much longer operating time.
While corrosion protection is the primary reason why D’Souza recommends using the FAG Black Series, the high temperature tolerance of the bearings is a bonus, particularly for food and beverage applications.
“Sub-zero temperatures and extremely high temperatures are common in food and beverage manufacturing. The insert bearings in the FAG Black Series are suitable for operating temperatures of –20˚C to +100˚C. Temperature peaks of up to +120˚C are possible for short periods.”
D’Souza says conveying equipment and machines for food container fitting and packaging are some applications where the FAG Black Series bearings are commonly used.
“At BSC, we have customers in the beer brewing industry, chocolate manufacturing, bakeries and dairy industry who use these types of bearings extensively. And if you look at those industries, they all involve heavy water washdowns in the production process,” he says.
Other industries where the Durotect-coated bearings find applications are in agricultural, construction and mining machinery, as well as any conveying equipment exposed to intensive dust or water. The bearing and housing units are also commonly used in water and wastewater treatment where they display better resistance against the highly corrosive hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas.
D’Souza says installing and replacing the FAG Black Series radial insert ball bearing and housing units is fairly easy and something that the in-house maintenance teams at the factories usually handle themselves.
“However, the BSC team can also assist customers with bearing installations or where any technical expertise is required. For example, a plant might need to change the configuration of their conveying system or to install an additional conveyor. Our engineering team can assist customers with design, supply and installation of these new systems or to re-engineer their existing conveying system” he concludes.
Read more articles like this at: www.lets-roll.com.au
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