Tara Hamid

Growing along with the community

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.

A spud bin fabricated by Branch Fabrications

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.”

Branch Fabrications is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.

Training on-the-go: LOCTITE experts add reliability to BSC customers

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?”

Read more articles like this at: www.lets-roll.com.au

               

 

Over 100 years of serving the industry

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.”

Knuckeys Agricultural Engineering is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.

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Rolling ahead with Kingsway Welding solutions

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.

Kingsway Welding’s snail rollers crush up to 80 tonnes of snails per hour.

“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.

A rust-free chain for Bundaberg’s iconic drinks maker

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.

Read more articles like this at: www.lets-roll.com.au
                                 

Staying a ‘cut’ ahead

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.”

Midwest Fabrication is a Gold Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here

How onsite solutions can radically reduce operation costs

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.”

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A sweet partnership: Getting Queensland’s sugar on a smooth ride

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.

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How a bearing upgrade saved valuable maintenance time for Tassal

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.

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Bearing up factory washdowns: Schaeffler’s FAG Black Series prove efficient

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.
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A cut above the rest

As an agricultural service contractor, Daryl Phillips, the owner of Nendy Enterprises, spends the harvesting season conducting harvesting and windrowing projects near Albury and in the Riverina region of New South Wales, occasionally taking up projects as far as Geelong in Victoria. Read more

Come rain or shine, the harvest goes on

For Rob Pickles, who owns an agricultural contracting business in north central Victoria, every job is different from the other. Depending on the season and the type of crop being harvested, he needs to make sure his harvesting and baling machinery can work efficiently through the season without any unexpected downtime.
Read more

Getting the harvest on track

Autumn rainfalls of above average in most of Victoria and New South Wales this year mean busy times ahead for Shaun Thorneycroft, whose business, Precise Header & Ag Repairs, helps more than 70 growers in north-west Victoria with their header services each year.

Read more

Building a bond that lasts

Baler chain failures can be very frustrating when they happen in the middle of the busy harvesting season, particularly at night. As Troy Markland, Product Manager at BSC explains, the broken chain often needs to be replaced right there in the field to continue the day’s job, causing serious delays and reduced productivity.

“There’s also always the risk that a failed or a badly fitted chain can damage other components such as the sprockets,” he says.

When one of BSC’s customers, Rob Pickles from Hayanmi Fodder, complained about frequent chain failures on his baler machines, the BSC Shepparton team suggested switching to Diamond’s high strength (HS) series roller chains for increased reliability.

Rob’s business, Hayanmi Fodder, owns two Krone balers and engages in agricultural contracting work in the north central regions of Victoria, producing 15,000 – 20,000 bales per machine.

Hayanmi Fodder’s existing baler chains were wearing out quickly when put through the heavy workload and failing before even one hay season was over.

When Rob contacted the BSC Shepparton branch in search for a solution, he was advised to switch to the Diamond 60HS-1 chains.

As Troy explains, the HS series of Diamond drive chains features through-hardened, medium carbon alloy steel pins, which enable them to resist higher impact and shock loads and offer better working load capacity compared to the standard heavy series drive chains.

“Diamond’s high strength series chains are built to ASME/ANSI B29.1 and B29.28 standards, making them suited to applications subjected to heavy loads or lifting,” says Troy.

Following the upgrade to Diamond 60HS-1 chains, the reliability of Hayanmi Fodder’s baler machines has improved dramatically, says Rob.

“We now tend to put a new set of roller chains on the balers at the start of the harvest season and we get through the season without a hitch. Sometimes the same chains last for two consecutive seasons without needing replacement. Before this, we sometimes had to replace the chains up to three times each year.”

As an additional benefit, Rob says replacing the chains has also reduced the frequency of sprocket wear on the machines.

This, as Troy explains, is due to the Diamond 60HS-1 chain maintaining correct pitch length, ensuring positive and accurate chain and sprocket engagement, combined with a good lubrication process.

In addition to the high strength series, Diamond Chain also manufactures hoist chain and rollerless lift chain for heavy loads or lifting applications.

“The Diamond hoist chain is dimensionally identical to standard series chains but also incorporates pins produced from medium carbon alloy steel, through-hardened to give chains higher working load capacity and additional resistance to fatigue,” says Troy.

“The Diamond rollerless lift chains are designed for tension linkages where frequent articulation requires the increased bearing area of roller chain. Rollerless lift chains are dimensionally identical to standard series chains but are produced without rollers,” he adds.

As strong as the new chains on his balers are, Rob says so is the bond of friendship that has formed over the years between him and the BSC Shepparton Branch Manager, Adam Failla – whom he refers to as his “mate”.

“I’ve known Adam for a long time, and he knows his products very well. In fact, all of the BSC team have a good product knowledge and they are very down-to-earth, so it’s easy to get their advice when an issue comes up,” he says.

“I’ve worked with the Shepparton branch for many years and I can say with confidence that whatever spare part or product I need, they can find and provide to me in the shortest time possible,” he adds.

Adam says as industry experts and suppliers of reputed agricultural equipment parts, the BSC team engages closely with farmers and agricultural contractors through regular site visits and participation in agricultural field days to understand their requirements.

“When we meet with the farmers and our customers, be it during a visit to their farm or on an agricultural field day, we always ask them questions to see if we can offer better products than what they are currently using to get better life out of their equipment,” says Adam.

“Contractors like Rob invest heavily in their machines and they put these through very different conditions. For example, some contractors go to the Mallee region, where the farming conditions are a lot different than what they experience here. The soil tends to be drier and dustier up there, whereas we have had more rain here near Shepparton.

“So, when we offer a solution, we keep in mind all of that based on our experience and this helps our customers get better life and service from their equipment,” he concludes.

Diamond High Strength (HS) Roller Chains:

  • Built to ASME/ANSI B29.1 and B29.28 standards
  • Intended for heavy shock or pulsating loads
  • Through-hardened, medium carbon alloy steel pins
  • More resistance to heavy loads compared to standard heavy series drive chains

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Automatic lubrication systems smooth the way for confectionery manufacturer

When an iconic confectionery manufacturer in Western Sydney had complaints about premature failure of their conveyor chains, BSC Sales Service Representative Fady Elchab recommended using Alemlube multi-point lubrication systems to auto-lubricate their chains. This resulted in extending the serviceable life of the chains by more than 100 per cent.

Fady, who regularly checks on the manufacturing plant on behalf of BSC to make sure it is well-supplied with lubricants and other consumable products, says implementing Alemlube’s auto-lubrication solution resulted in a considerable reduction in downtime and labor requirement.

“This manufacturing plant has 12 roller chain assembly lines that help run the confectionery products through various stages in the production process. The chains previously had a serviceable life of only 6-8 months. After installing Alemlube’s automatic lubricators along the line, the chains’ serviceable life has increased to as much as 12, 18, and in some cases even 24 months,” says Fady.

Auto-lubrication has also helped the plant improve operational safety by taking the manual labor out of the maintenance processes, Fady says.

“In food and beverage manufacturing, there are many applications that involve hot processes or are hard to reach for manual lubrication. In these cases we recommend using automatic lubrication systems. For example, our confectionery customer is using Alemlube automatic lubricators to lubricate the bearings in their ovens and combustion fans, which are otherwise regarded as high-risk areas for manual lubrication,” he says.

As a national supplier of industrial solutions, BSC works closely with Alemlube to bring automatic lubrication solutions to a wide range of customers, including those in the food and beverage industry.

John Knight, Alemlube’s Lubrication Systems Product Manager for Australia and New Zealand says of the many operating conditions that can cause premature component failure, few are more predominant than lack of lubrication.

“Chains, particularly in the ovens, will lock up if they are not correctly lubricated, which can cause major downtime and wear and tear,” he says.

“Bearings are also susceptible to premature failure from poor lubrication. Over half of bearing failures happen either from lack of lubrication or contamination. If bearings are kept properly lubricated and contamination-free, their life span can be improved many times over,” he says.

Alemlube multi-point lubrication systems can be designed to lubricate anywhere between 2 to 200 application points simultaneously, providing constant lubrication at desirable pressure and dosage. Among these solutions is the Pulsarlube M Series, which can be set up to lubricate up to eight lubrication dispense points with a single unit.

John says using automatic lubrication systems frees up the maintenance crew’s time to focus on other important tasks.

“When the lubrication systems are installed, the daily drudgery of greasing is taken care of. When the bearings are greased hourly by the automatic lubrication system, bearing failures become less frequent and therefore production efficiency increases. This promotes a positive feedback loop where the maintenance staff can start to focus on preventative maintenance, condition monitoring and planning instead of rushing from one breakdown to the next,” he says.

Through their partnership, the teams at BSC and Alemlube bring extensive expertise on maintenance best practices to their customers, according to John.

“The team at BSC knows and understands their customers very well. Combining this with Alemlube’s experience in design and installation of automatic lubrication systems helps address the customers’ issues related to bearing and lubrication reliability,” John says.

“Many plants tend to put production first and maintenance second. This can be detrimental to the reliability of the operations and the long-term plant health. The collaboration between BSC and Alemlube often gives the customer a new portfolio of tools and strategies to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of maintaining their plant,” he adds.

John’s views are echoed by Fady, who says both BSC and Alemlube are customer-oriented companies.

“At BSC, we are very much driven by customer satisfaction. It is quite common that I meet my customers after business hours or on weekends. That’s because I love my job and I enjoy building relationships with my customers,” he says.

“Because of this strong relationship with customers, they often call me to ask for solutions to their problems and I try my best to either help them or point them in the right direction. And the feedback that I get from customers is that they too love the support that they get from us,” Fady concludes.

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A well grown relationship

The Costa tagline is a promise: well grown. It’s a simple, down to earth statement that’s completely fitting of the leading Australian fresh produce grower. It’s also apt when describing the relationship that’s been cultivated between the BSC Campbellfield branch and Costa’s mushroom farm in Mernda, located on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Costa’s Mernda mushroom farm is the largest mushroom farm in Australia. They harvest both white and brown Agaricus mushrooms and supply to major supermarkets – the punnets that readers see on the shelves of major supermarket chains in Melbourne are likely to have been grown and packed in Mernda.

According to David Quadrino, who plays the dual role of Pre-Harvest and Maintenance Manager at the farm, on average 260 Tonnes or 8 million individual mushrooms are picked every week. They also employ over 500 people onsite and run 7 days a week, 364 days a year – with New Year’s Day being the only day the farm is closed.

It’s a large operation and David is responsible for the process “all the way until the mushrooms are picked” in addition to the site equipment and staff who provide maintenance services, including the security and cleaners. The scope of his job is extensive and as such, he has come to rely on the supply and expertise of BSC’s nearby branch in Campellfield, which is managed by Mark Shaw.

“They’re always available to me when I phone and will go out of their way to supply us with the parts and equipment we need – even if it’s out of their scope,” explains David. “They’re a critical part of our operation, providing invaluable service and products that range from consumables in the workshop to motors, gear boxes and bearings.”

Being available to David and the Costa crew at Mernda is a commitment that BSC Campbellfield manager Mark Shaw and his team take seriously.

“The solutions we provide are all in one, ranging from basic consumables through to the industrial side which encompasses power transmission, gear boxes, bearings and the like,” says Mark. “We go out to the site three times a week to check their consumables and address any needs they have. They have a consumable section that we keep stocked with greases, aerosols, nuts and bolts, cutting disks, abrasives, glues and so on. They also have a hydraulic section to make hoses, and we provide all the fittings for that as well.”

The BSC branch provides a maintenance package to the Costa Mernda mushroom farm, which means they provide a regular and ongoing service, as well as parts and equipment as needed. However, Mark clarifies his team is available beyond the site visit times allocated.

“We provide a reliable service through and through. What that means is we’re available when they need us. As long as they communicate their requirements, we’ll make sure we get that product to them as quick as possible,” he enthuses. “Sometimes it may be challenging to arrange the parts or equipment on time, but we enjoy that challenge and find the result very satisfying. This type of customer is a hidden gem – we really value them and are glad to be the ‘go to’ branch they rely on.”

The level of support the BSC branch provides to the Mernda operation is certainly appreciated. From David’s perspective, the BSC team out at Campbellfield will “always go out of their way” to assist and service the farm’s needs. He provides an example of where Mark organised a replacement oven for the farm’s canteen, despite this piece of equipment being outside the scope of products that BSC typically supplies.

“A few months ago, the oven went in the canteen and I couldn’t find a supplier in our list, so I rang Mark and gave him the oven details. I asked if he could help us out by buying it and charging it to our bill – next thing I know we have a new oven here. The exact replacement needed,” David recalls. “This illustrates the lengths that Mark and the team will go to help us out, and it means a lot to us.”

Importantly, the BSC team out at Campbellfield have an understanding of the farm’s timelines and commitment to production. This translates to providing a fast and efficient service.

“A few weeks back we had an issue with our bag sealers on the spawn lab. Four of the belts were worn and the machine had stopped running. We didn’t have any spares,” explains David. “I rang Trent at the Campbellfield branch and gave him the size I needed. He located the parts out in Dandenong and had them sent to me within 2 hours. Even though I’d advised that production for the day had stopped, he knew I needed the machine to be working the next morning so he just made sure I had the parts as soon as possible.”

All in all, the relationship between the branch and the Mernda farm could certainly be described as ‘well grown’, with a mutual respect for the others’ operation evident.

“I’m a phone person. Many people tend to stick to email these days, but I prefer to speak to someone over the phone,” adds David. “The guys out at BSC in Campbellfield always answer my calls. They’re always there to provide support. It’s a level of service that we take personally because we know they will go above and beyond for us.”

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BSC opens the Gates to quality hoses for Australian premium winemaker

For a winery with a history as rich as South Australia’s Oxford Landing Estate winery, choosing the right equipment is essential to ensuring the wine’s quality. This is why when BSC Sales Representative, Robert Harris first introduced Gates’ food-grade hoses to the winery, he did not expect the winemakers to approve the product right away.

Robert says he knew about the stringent quality assurance process that the winery had in place, but he also had great confidence in the quality of the product he was offering.

Robert says when he called Oxford Landing Estates’ cellar manager to set up an appointment to introduce Gates’ hoses to him a couple of years ago, he was told to not keep his hopes high. He took his shot and went in with samples of the high-end Gates hoses. The winery agreed to test the wine transfer hoses and soon placed their first major order, forging a relationship with BSC that has flourished over time.

Chris Leggett, the Logistics Manager at Oxford Landing Estate, says the winery has one of the most stringent quality control processes in the industry.

“Any product that comes into any form of contact with the wine, such as the inside surface of the hose, needs to go through a quality control process and be approved for use before we can purchase it. Once we purchase a hose, it will go through a cleaning process and then through the quality control verification process,” he explains.

Chris has worked at the Oxford Landing Estate winery since the winery was built in 2004. He says he’s quite happy working with BSC as a supplier.

“BSC supplies us with quality hoses, as well as other equipment such as chains, bearings, seals and spare parts. We have never had any issues or concerns working with BSC. Their response time is very good and they understand what we need,” Chris says.

“The Gates’ hoses being of very high quality, it saves us time when it comes to testing the products. Robert visits us regularly on behalf of BSC and offers consultation to the maintenance department regarding any components that they need,” he adds.

Gates is one of the key suppliers of hosing solutions to the food and beverage industry in Australia and they work closely with BSC as a trusted partner to deliver those solutions.

Gates Australia Product Manager for Food Products, Kent Clark, says the Gates FOOD MASTER XTREME 250SD CR is an ideal hose for transferring wine, as well as any other beverage that could have its taste tainted if run through a lower-grade transfer hose.

“A number of well-known wineries only trust this particular product for transferring their wine. This is mostly based on their experience of being able to maintain the wine’s taste and flavor when it passes through the hose. We also sell the hose to manufacturers of beer, ale, milk, yoghurt, juices, soft drinks, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

What makes the FOOD MASTER XTREME 250SD CR unique, Kent says, is the proprietary Sanitron developed by Gates for use in the Food Master premium series.

The tube material, Sanitron provides a glass-smooth interior surface for efficient product flow – a smoothness competitors can’t match. It will not discolour foods and beverages or impart any unusual taste or odour during product transfer. And Sanitron is a snap to clean using open-end steam or high-temperature cleaning solutions up to 110°C. which meets the requirements of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 3A-Class 3 and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The hose is also reinforced with a conductive filament and a monofilament helix, which provides crush and kink resistance. This means the hose can be run over or hit up against hard surfaces without any impact to the structure of the hose,” he adds.

Gates also offers a range of other hoses particularly designed for the food and beverage industry. These include, among others, the light and flexible FOOD MASTER BEVERAGE 150SD CR and FOOD MASTER OILS and DAIRY 150SD, which is ideal for transfer of animal fat, vegetable oil and dairy products.

Kent says working with BSC, Gates is able to provide flexible and custom-made solutions when required.

“For example, our hoses are often available in the standard 30-metre lengths. But we also have a custom-length program with BSC, wherein we can provide customised hose lengths to customers on a case-by-case basis,” Kent says.

“We hold our customers in high regard and support them as best we can. We understand that pricing and product availability are top priorities for our customers and that is why we work with BSC to provide quick turnarounds for customers,” he concludes.

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Why metal free anti-seize is a suitable choice for food manufacturers

Excessive corrosion and the subsequent seizure of metal connections is a common problem with assemblies in all industries, particularly so in high-moisture environments in the food industry. When nuts and bolts in the equipment seize up, it makes their disassembly and reassembly a challenge, resulting in unnecessary downtime during maintenance.

According to industry specialist Michael Rowe, who is the Product Manager of Adhesives and Sealants at CBC, using Anti-Seize lubricants while assembling the machinery parts is the best way to avoid maintenance issues down the line.

“There are many reasons why metal assemblies get corroded and seize-up over time. Obviously higher exposure to moisture, heat and pressure accelerates the deterioration of metal assemblies. But by applying the right Anti-Seize products on the bolt treads, the rust and the subsequent seizure can be avoided.”

As a key distributor of lubricants and adhesive solutions in Australia, CBC works closely with Henkel Australia to facilitate the sale of LOCTITE products, with the brand offering a number of safe, metal free Anti-Seize formulations for industries that have safety as a top priority.

But what constitutes Anti-Seize products and why is it important to purchase the right grade of the product for each purpose?

“Anti-Seize lubricants are specialty lubricants that reduce friction between threaded and matted metal parts as well as prevent corrosion and seizure of parts under pressure and at high temperatures. Essentially, they are two-part systems that comprise of a base grease and special fillers that provide the compound with its Anti-Seizing, anti-corrosion properties,” explains Michael.

While most Anti-Seize lubricants used widely in industry user copper, nickel, aluminium and zinc, as well as other heavy metals as the filler compound, LOCTITE is among very few brands that offer the metal free formulation.

Stefano Giacometti, Application Engineer at Henkel Australia, says not many people are aware of how much Anti-Seize products have advanced over time and that metal free Anti-Seize compounds can offer the same benefits as the metal-based grades while being safer for the workers as well as for the environment.

“Quite often when I go to a maintenance facility that is using a traditional copper or nickel-based Anti-Seize product, I find that they are not aware that better choices are now available. LOCTITE is at the forefront of introducing new technologies and our portfolio of Anti-Seize products is a good proof of that,” Stefano says.

LOCTITE portfolio includes six different Anti-Seize formulations, which in addition to the conventional metal-based Anti-Seize products offer two metal free grades for companies looking to enhance the safety levels at their plants and workshops.

Stefano says the LOCTITE Heavy Duty Anti-Seize functions on all metals including galvanized iron, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and soft metals between -29°C and +1315°C. LOCTITE Heavy Duty Anti-Seize has been formulated to resist higher temperatures than most other anti-seize products on the market.

“The LOCTITE Heavy Duty Metal Free Anti-Seize uses graphite as the solid filler, using this type of Anti-Seize with stainless steel fasteners, prevents galling from occurring, as this product more effectively lubricates the surfaces. It is widely used in industries where metal-based Anti-Seize use is prohibited or regarded as unsafe.  To assist CBC customers in changing out current used copper or nickel based Anti-Seize, the team at Henkel can provide testing on fastening systems, ensuring correct lubricity is achieved to provide correct clamp force for assemblies,” he explains.

The LOCTITE Food Grade Anti-Seize is another metal free Anti-Seize specifically designed to meet the requirements of food manufacturers, says Stefano.

“Safety is obviously a big aspect in the food and beverage industry. The LOCTITE Food Grade Anti-Seize is NSF H1 rated for incidental food contract and is one of the few such products available in the market,” he explains.

Apart from the choice of the right Anti-Seize product, Stefano says following health and safety precautions is key to using chemical products safely.

“When you are dealing with chemicals, you need to refer to the material safety data sheet which will tell you what safety gear to use. We are happy to work with our distributors at CBC to help educate our customers on the latest products available for their purposes, as well as to ensure the safe use of these products,” he concludes.

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