Tara Hamid

NSK Disc Agri Hub meets expectations of sugarcane equipment manufacturer

Wayne Willis speaks proudly when he talks about the history of Hodge Industries, where he is the owner as well as design engineer. A brief review of the company’s manufacturing legacy tells us why.

Wayne is the fourth generation of the family-owned business founded in 1914 when Wayne’s great grandfather won a patent for his unique sugar planter. The company has since expanded its range of products to include equipment for every stage of sugar cane plantation, from land preparation to planting, fertilising, weeding and harvesting.

They have exported since 1974 to almost every sugar cane growing country in the world and are the sole supplier to the sugar farming industry for a wide range of products. They also offer machinery repairs and general engineering services from the Hodge factory in Mackay.

Over the past 20 years, Hodge Industries has been relying on the BSC branch in Mackay to source the bearings and bearing components the company requires for a number of its agricultural equipment as well as a number of other miscellaneous parts and components required for their factory.

Wayne says the partnership has been advantageous for Hodge Industries for a number of reasons.

“Our experience working with BSC has been really good. The products we source from them are all excellent, as is the service they provide. More importantly, they constantly talk to us about our requirements to make sure they are well-stocked for whatever we might need in the future. They work hard to ensure we are fully supplied with what we need.”

One of the key components that BSC supplies to Hodge Industries is the NSK Agri Disc Hub – a complete bearing housing unit designed and manufactured by NSK Germany to withstand the rigours of broad acre farming, including Australia’s harsh conditions.

Andrew Rooney, BSC Mackay branch manager says the first time BSC introduced NSK Agri Disc Hub to its client was around 4 years ago. “Since then, they’ve just continued ordering the product. They don’t use anything else,” Andrew says.

Wayne says Hodge Industries has used the NSK Agri Disc Hub to improve the design of its sugar cane fertiliser equipment, which are used to fertilise the sugar cane ratoons when they grow about one metre tall.

“Through this improvement, we’ve created a more reliable product, to the point that we’ve actually never experienced a bearing failure since we started using the NSK unit. The Agri Disc Hubs were actually tested overseas in harsher environments than what we experience here in Australia, which explains their toughness and high performance,” he says.

Wayne says using the Agri Disc Hub has enabled Hodge to make its fertilising equipment slimmer, lighter, and stronger.

“The bearing we used before was a lot bigger, and we had to make them in components at our factory and then assemble them out in the field. The NSK Agri Disc Hub that we get from BSC replaces that whole mechanism. It’s also smaller and thinner, so it works really good for our product.”

According to NSK Australia’s Sales Engineer Dave Healey, the strength of NSK’s Agri Disc Hub lies in its thick solid steel housing body, which has a minimum thickness of 8.5 mm around the seal and bearing.

“This allows the bearing to absorb heavy impact loads,” he says. “The double row ball bearing installed at a 40-degree contact angle also enables the Agri Hub to cope with higher axial loads compared to a standard 30-degree angle of most competitor’s bearings.”

“The Agri Disc Hub is designed to ensure maximum protection for the rolling elements. A five-lip cassette seal protecting the housing and a further triple lip seal protecting the bearings make it very difficult for contaminants to reach the rolling elements, ensuring longer life for the bearing,” Healey says.

According to Andrew, there is great take-up of the Agri Hub in Mackay, both from manufacturers such as Hodge Industries as well as from farmers and equipment repairers.

“We just make sure that we stay on top of our customers’ needs and that we have all of the parts in-stock, when they need it and where they need it.”

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A bearing for all harvesting seasons

The harvest season is a critical period for all farmers. Most crops need to be harvested within a limited window of time for crop growers to achieve the best results. But with the harvesting equipment often kept idle throughout the year, it is critical to ensure that machinery is ready to roll come harvest season.

From small-scale harvesting equipment to large combine harvesters, bearings are key components in the harvesting machinery. If a farmer discovers close to the harvest season that a critical bearing in his machine requires repair or replacement due to excessive corrosion or seizure, the resulting downtime would be nerve-wracking for the farmer and potentially harmful to crop yield.

As Australia’s largest distributor of bearings and industrial solutions, CBC Australia, in partnership with NTN Australia, supplies the NTN Black Bearings, which are ball bearings specifically designed for agricultural applications.

The ‘black’ in the NTN Black Bearings comes from the black oxide treatment that the bearing components go through in the production process to increase the corrosion resistance, resulting in serviceable life of more than twice the equivalent standard bearings, according to Fabio Rebecchi, NTN Australia’s National Product Manager – Bearing Group.

“The NTN Black Bearings are ideally suited for use in harvesting equipment as well as any other agricultural machinery. The black oxide coating covers all of the bearing surfaces, including the inner and outer rings, which offers excellent corrosion and fretting resistance. This helps avoid the common issue of bearing seizure from corrosion that farmers often face with their harvesting equipment,” says Fabio.

With agricultural environments also prone to high levels of contamination for the bearings, NTN also provides trash guard seals specifically designed to protect the bearings in the NTN Black series from any external contaminants, Fabio explains.

“In harvesting, the products that are being harvested can contaminate the bearings, thereby leading to shorter bearing life. The NTN trash guard seals are uniquely designed with a heavy-duty rubber lip bonded to the seal plate to help protect the bearings from both corrosion and misalignment,” Fabio says.

Additionally, the NTN Black Bearing comes 70 per cent factory-filled with a superior heavy duty grease to provide excellent water resistance and long lubricant life, according to Fabio.

“When testing the bearings at our facility in Japan for dust-proofing, the NTN engineering team found that the bearing’s life could be further enhanced by increasing the filling rate of the grease. The filling rate for this particular bearing is higher than you would normally find in the standard bearings, which adds extra protection to keep the contaminants out of the bearing.”

Another plus point with the NTN Black Bearing, according to Fabio, is that the bearings can replace conventional ball bearings without any modifications required in the equipment’s design. This feature is particularly attractive for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) looking to retrofit their existing machinery with a superior bearing option, he says.

In Australia, NTN bearings are available exclusively through the national CBC distribution network, a partnership that Fabio says helps deliver the high-end NTN products and engineering services to the Australian OEMs and end-user customers.

“Whether it is OEMs looking to implement the NTN Black Bearing in their own agricultural machinery or farm-owners looking to retrofit their existing machinery, the collaboration is made possible through the CBC field representatives who provide the link between the end-users and the NTN global engineering team. The CBC field engineers are quite adept and their support is also backed by NTN’s global engineering team,” Fabio says.

While the NTN Black Bearing is more expensive than the equivalent standard bearings in the market, Fabio says the additional cost is absolutely justified when considering the potential downtime losses from bearing failure.

“The feedback we have received from our customers is that they are happy to pay the extra cost in exchange for the peace of mind that they get by having a reliable bearing in their harvesting machine. Timing is of essence for harvesting and so making sure that the equipment is ready to go when it’s needed most is the biggest benefit that we can provide with this bearing.”

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WebsterBSC and Viva Energy’s partnership is the perfect brew for Australia’s leading hop grower

Bushy Park Estates, located in a scenic landscape 55 kilometres north of Hobart, is the birthplace of Australian hops. Built in 1867 by Ebenezer Shoobridge, the son of a hop grower from Kent, the farm has been supplying top-quality hops to the Australian and global brewing industries for over 150 years.

The farm is one of the three gardens where Australia’s leading hop grower, Hop Products Australia (HPA), grows its six proprietary varieties plus a few open market varieties for brewers around the country.

With an area of over 250 hectares, the farm utilises on average 70 different vehicles, ranging from front-end loaders to tractors, trucks, cherry pickers and utility vehicles to manage its daily operations. With the farm’s busy schedule, the farm managers rely on Industrial Solutions’ Tasmanian business, WebsterBSC and Shell Lubricants, supplied by Viva Energy, to keep their vehicles and equipment in top shape.

Tom Parry, farm manager at Bushy Park Estates, says he’s very satisfied with the customer service support he receives from WebsterBSC, as well as with the performance of Shell Lubricants.

“WebsterBSC offers a brilliant customer service and Shell is known for brand quality. With Shell having such a wide range of oils for our vehicles and machinery on the farm, the partnership fulfills all of our needs. Outside of our general vehicle servicing routine, we also use a considerable amount of Shell Gadus grease in our picking machines, which we run five weeks of the year during the harvest season,” he says.

Tom says one advantage for the farm in working with WebsterBSC is that they can receive a wide range of products from a single supplier, which adds convenience to their business.

“Working with WebsterBSC is very easy. We just call and order the oils we need and they are delivered to us on time. It’s also  very convenient to be able to get a range of other products, such as the tractor oil filters and other tractor parts like sprockets, gears, and so on from a single supplier,” he says.

Joshua Morrison, the Sales Representative catering to the farm’s needs on behalf of WebsterBSC, says he has built a strong relationship with the farm managers at Bushy Park Estates over the last eight years, supplying a range of bearings, power transmission products and more recently, Shell Lubricants, to the site.

He says the transition to using Shell Lubricants for the farm’s ongoing vehicle and machinery maintenance and bearing re-greases was a smooth process, given Shell’s reputation as a top-quality product.

“The farm managers were looking for top-end lubrication products to enhance the performance of their vehicles and machinery. They were already familiar with Shell, as they had used Shell products previously and were quite happy with their performance,” says Joshua.

After an initial discussion, Joshua and Viva Energy’s Account Manager visited the site together to assess the farm’s requirements.

“After reviewing the oil and grease products and pack sizes that the farm was already using, we were able to get a good understanding of what the workshop needed. Whenever we visit a customer’s lubrication store, we always try to consolidate the number of redundant products being used.  But in the case of Bushy Park Estates, they already had the right number of lubricants in place, so there was no need for any reduction,” says Joshua.

Joshua says Shell’s high-performance Shell Rimula R4 L 15W-40 diesel engine oils, as well as Shell Tellus hydraulic fluids and Shell Spirax transmission oils are some of the key products he regularly supplies to the farm.

“We worked with Viva Energy to present HPA with a high-quality lubrication supply, usage and storage solution.” This was an attractive proposition for the farm and workshop team, according to Josh.

“This offer included a range of lubrication equipment, from oil pumps to extract the oil from the drums right to the hose reels and oil guns for easy application in the servicing workshop. It also offered colour-coded magnets for the oil drums and matched these with the colour of the lubrication equipment to help avoid any risk of cross-contamination,” he says.

Robert Clayton, Viva Energy Account Manager, says the colour-coding program is part of Viva Energy’s commitment to safety in lubrication storage.

“Using the colour-coded magnets and equipment makes it easy to differentiate between different lubricants being used in the workshop and reduces the risk of cross-contamination. It can also help save money and time by avoiding the risk of one lubricant getting mixed with another and going to waste.”

Robert and Joshua continue to have a close relationship with the farm managers by offering a range of consultative post-sale services.

“The HPA team are very satisfied with the ongoing service they receive from WebsterBSC and Viva Energy. This relationship ensures that as their business gears up during the harvest season and if they are also looking to acquire new equipment, they trust us to provide the right solutions at the right time,” says Robert.

Post transition, the farm managers are able to easily identify the products they require for specific vehicles or machinery using the Shell LubeMatch app. They can then place their order accordingly with WebsterBSC or ask our team any questions.

Joshua also praises Viva Energy’s Technical Helpdesk for their high-quality customer service and expertise.

“If our team or our customers have any questions about Shell products or lubricants in general, we try to answer their queries to the best of our knowledge, or otherwise direct them to the Technical Helpdesk. They always respond promptly and help to educate us about different lubricant products, applications and specifications.”

Joshua believes the collaborative effort with Viva Energy to provide Bushy Park Estates with quality Shell Lubricants and a solution to improve their operations is an excellent example of WebsterBSC’s commitment to support the industry with quality products and services.

“At WebsterBSC, we are not interested in making quick sales. We believe that a long-term view on the total cost of ownership is what benefits our customers the most and that is why we focus on providing quality products and ongoing service that meet or exceed our customers’ requirements for longevity. This view resonates with the values that we share with Viva Energy, which is what makes us a great team.”

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BSC customer gets a quick turnaround with Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken

When a leading Australian grain producer needed to replace three hammer mill couplings at its grain mill, the BSC Shepparton branch in Victoria delivered the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken overnight and replaced the old couplings within minimal time, resulting in zero downtime for the customer.

Adam Failla, BSC’s Shepparton Branch Manager, says the branch had the Quick-Flex QF250 couplings readily available. The team then arranged to not just deliver them overnight, but also to remove the old couplings, install and laser align the new Timken couplings so that they were running at full capacity, without causing delays to the mill’s normal operation.

This resulted in considerable time and cost savings for the grain producer, Adam says.

“The couplings that our customer was previously using were no longer available in Australia. This meant they would need to wait at least 3-4 weeks and pay an additional airfreight to get the couplings delivered to them from overseas. Our branch is well-stocked with the Quick-Flex couplings as these are very popular products, so we suggested to help them with the replacement.”

The Quick-Flex couplings are designed to allow for quick replacements which streamlined the process. As needed, the elastomeric urethane insert is able to be replaced quickly and easily without removing the hubs or moving connected equipment.

“This brings down the coupling replacement time to minutes instead of hours,” Adam says. “By eliminating the need to move or disassemble the drive system, it also makes it easy to inspect the couplings from time to time to make sure they are working perfectly.”

As a key supplier of bearings, power transmission and industrial products in Australia, BSC has been supplying products to the major Australian grain producer for the past 15 years. The team also conducts regular vibration analysis on the factory’s hammer mills, which was how they learned about the need for coupling replacements in the first place.

Adam says the BSC Shepparton branch has already supplied a range of Timken products, including the Quick-Flex couplings and Carlisle belts by Timken to the 75-acre grain mill, receiving very positive feedback from the customer.

“We’ve built a very positive relationship with our customer. We supply them with quality Quick-Flex® couplings for their grain press and hammer mills. We also supply the company’s farms with a range of Timken bearings for their tractors, headers, pumps and augers,” he says.

Australian Timken’s Regional General Manager, Michael Grant, says the Lovejoy Quick-Flex® couplings by Timken are designed to withstand the shocks and vibrational loads that are common in applications such as hammer mills.

“The Quick-Flex couplings can absorb shock loads and vibration while accepting up to two degrees angular misalignment. They can also handle high speed and very high torque of up to 188,000Nm, making them suitable for a wide range of applications,” he says.

“Also, because there is no metal-to-metal contact between opposing hubs with Quick-Flex® couplings, you’ll save money not replacing hubs or other metal components since they do not wear. For harsh environments, including wash-downs for food processing, we can also offer a stainless-steel version across a large range of the coupling sizes.”

Michael says the BSC and Timken engineering teams work together to support customers across a wide range of industries.

“The Quick-Flex couplings are treated as standard off-the-shelf product for which BSC branches are always well-stocked. The BSC team is very much capable of providing the support required by their customers when it comes to the initial design or selecting the right coupling size to handle the required torque.

“In addition to that, the Timken engineering team is also there to support the BSC team as and when required. As part of the support on offer we jointly visit customers to introduce our products to them or to help with technical support that includes areas such as product selection & problem solving. It’s a partnership that has grown and deepened over time and one that works extremely well in adding value to our end-user customers.”

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Chicken Plucker re-design helps processing plant save money and time

When the BSC Engineering Solutions team found that a chicken processing customer in South Australia was ordering as many as 32 new chicken pluckers per week, they knew something wasn’t right.

BSC’s major accounts executive, Andrew Fant, has been assisting the chicken processing customer for over 20 years on all matters related to bearings and power transmissions. He and his team closely monitor and keep a record of every piece of equipment that the customer orders as part of their practice to improve the component reliability.

“The customer was getting only one to three months’ life out of each plucker. Costing them on average $7,000 per overhaul, this was a huge burden. So we suggested looking at ways to improve the equipment’s reliability and extend its life,” says Fant.

The processing plant operates 900 chicken pluckers that work 24/7 to process thousands of chicken per day. The motivation for the BSC engineering team was to design pluckers that would last longer, so the customer could save money due to fewer shutdowns due to repairs having to be conducted.

One of the problems that the team identified when they started to analyse the problem was that the parts used for the OEM pluckers were not machined to the right tolerance.

“We changed the design of the aluminum casings with help from a local manufacturer to gain better control of the machining tolerances. We also used our knowledge of bearings, housings and sealing arrangements to improve the design of the bearing,” explains Fant.

“BSC’s extensive knowledge in bearings, housings and sealing arrangements comes from our years of experience in design and manufacture of these components,” he adds.

Helping the South Australian BSC team on the project was Anthony O’Keefe, BSC’s Engineering Manager who is based in Melbourne.

O’Keefe says one of the challenges with the re-design was to make sure that the bearing is protected from contamination. To gain an understanding of how pluckers
work, he describes the production line process.

“After the chickens are beheaded and washed with hot water, their feathers are removed using the plucker. The plucker contains a series of rubber fingers that are mounted onto the plucker bearings. These rubber fingers rotate around the plucker and remove the feathers,” he explains.

“You can imagine that this is a very messy process and there’s a high risk for the contaminants so sealing off the units was critical in the design,” he explains.

Another point to keep in mind was to design an assembly that could withstand the out-of-balance nature of the plucker’s movements.

“Because the plucker’s rotation is unbalanced, the load is distributed unevenly and this was something we had to consider while designing the new plucker assembly,” says O’Keefe.

While the BSC team was conducting trials on the new plucker bearing design, the customer also noticed and rectified an issue with a belt exerting unnecessarily high loads on the bearings.

The result of design improvements by the BSC engineering team and the reduced load on the bearings resulted in the customer only ordering 16 new pluckers over the past four months. Compared to the previous rate of 32 orders per week, the improvement is significant.

“By working with the customer, we were able to combine our knowledge of the components with their knowledge of the application to come up with a design that has resulted in huge savings for the customer. This solution has already been rolled out to another chicken processing plant in Victoria and has the potential for many more.” says O’Keefe.

Apart from being suppliers and technical consultants for their customer, the BSC team also manages the plant’s consignment stock to make sure the client has sufficient stock of critical components.

“A few years ago, we would get after-hours calls from our customer at least four to five times a month. By going down the path of managing the customer’s stocks directly, we now rarely get any urgent calls. A BSC staff member is based on the site and makes sure that the store remains well-stocked,” says Fant.

“We have a close working relationship with our customer and they can discuss any problems that they might have with their equipment and our team will work on improving the reliability of the equipment,”
he adds.

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Keeping F&B manufacturers on track with Diamond precision

When conveying material, it is often necessary to attach additional conveyor belt products, such as a scraper or flaps, or extend flighting between a pair of parallel chains. In food and beverage (F&B) systems, these can be necessary to ensure the product flows to the right area in the process. And in order to attach these products to a system, often a roller chain attachment will be implemented.

When used in pairs, attachments need to be exactly in the same position on both chains (called a matched pair) to avoid potential problems developing, particularly in plants that have taken advantage of robotics. For example, if a beverage company is bottling items and then placing them into a filling line, the robotic systems will need to depend upon the accuracy of the roller chain attachments to avoid making a mistake. If the attachment is even slightly out of place, it can lead to the bottles crushing the packaging or cause the bottles to break, leading to potential occupational health and safety issues. Not only that, but the financial impacts of such a situation can be significant and require a shutdown in order to rectify.

This is why the Diamond Chain Company, operating through CBC Australia, offers available length matching on its wide range of high-performing attachments.

A Class I match assures that the longest and shortest chain in a given set will not vary in overall length by more than 600 microns per metre. Using an ANSI #80 chain as an example, the length of two 118 pitch long chains with a Class I match would not vary by more than 1.5 millimetres.

Class II matches are much more stringent, and are suitable for operations where increased accuracy is necessary or when there is a longer distance between the pair of chains. A Class II match will assure that the longest and shortest chain in a given set will not vary in overall length by more than 167 microns per metre. Using the same example as above, the lengths of two chains 118 pitches long will not vary in overall length by more than half a millimetre. Class II matching can be quite difficult to achieve and requires some unique procedures.

Diamond has more than 100 different attachments within its range, for a number of popular dimensions. Troy Markland, Product Manager at CBC Australia, says this is a conservative estimate, as the company is able to provide custom solutions to handle the thousands of different options required.

“CBC will work closely with customers in Australia, helping them to identify what equipment is required, the length of chain needed and the type of chain itself as part of the order process,” he explains.

“We have an extremely close working relationship with Diamond as the exclusive distributor in Australia. We relay not only the product information but other key details such as availability schedules, to help our customers plan their maintenance.”

CBC’s staff are also trained by Diamond to help customers get the most out of the company’s products across a number of industries.

For the F&B sector, Diamond uses U.S Food and Drug Administration-approved materials and H1 food-grade lubricants approved for incidental contact to protect the chain’s structure and strength while providing food safety. Materials and lubricants are selected to meet the specific needs for sanitation, processing, cooking and sterilisation. CBC staff work with customers to determine exactly which chain would work best for each application.

In addition, CBC also provides local support and training. In particular, Markland says CBC can perform periodic measurement to minimise the impact of elongation.

“A roller chain, like most equipment, will suffer from wear over time. As a result, the chain will begin to elongate and eventually need to be replaced,” he says.

“Periodic measurement means we can detect potential issues before they become a problem and help customers develop a maintenance plan so any work can be scheduled – not during a breakdown.”

Markland adds that CBC prides itself on its quality support, both in person and online. Customers are able to go to the Diamond Chain Company website and access a series of case studies, frequently asked questions, and ask dedicated engineers for help to solve any problems, while CBC can provide local expertise.

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LOCTITE rubber repair resin cuts curing times

Plastics and rubber play an important role in getting food and food products to our plates. Rubber conveyor belts and rubber/plastic lined chutes, hoppers and grinding mills are all part of the farm produce’s journey from farm to processing plants and to the trucks for transport.

When a rubber conveyor belt gets damaged, whether from wearing out against abrasive grains or an accidental impact, the race to get it fixed starts immediately to make sure minimum time is lost in downtime.

As a key distributor of adhesive products in the Australian market, CBC has had years of experience advising end users about the repair and maintenance of their conveyor belts.

Michael Rowe, CBC’s Product Manager for Adhesives and Sealants, says when a section of the conveyor belt gets damaged, more often than not repairing it is a wiser decision than replacing all or even parts of it.

“If you look at the overall cost of full replacement of a conveyor belt, it can be quite costly. Another option is to repair or replace the damaged section,” he explains.

Traditional methods of repairing conveyor belts vary from hot splicing to mechanical fastening using steel clamps. But, according to Mark Casotti, Henkel’s state manager for Western Australia, each of these methods have limitations, including being time- and labor-intensive.

“The hot patch repair requires heavy equipment and specialised people. Moreover, the repair can create protrusions on the surface of the belt which later create problems with cleaning,” Casotti says.

“Mechanical fastening also has certain shortcomings. The steel bolts can get corroded over time. The technique also puts excessive loads on the bolted section of the belt, where it can get torn again under tension. The belt is also not completely sealed, which means you can lose products through the hole in the belt,” he explains.

However, it’s also possible to use rubber repair PU resin, such as LOCTITE PC 7350, which is easy to apply, cures fast at room temperature and is resistant to chemicals and abrasion.

“By repairing the gouges on the conveyor belt using the right repair product, you can get the operation back on track with minimum time loss and at far less costs,” Says Rowe.

Casotti says the LOCTITE PC 7350 was introduced by Henkel a few years ago to offer better adhesion to rubber, faster curing and better flexibility compared to its predecessors.

“As the conveyor belt bends around the pulley, the repair product should be flexible enough to withstand the forces in the belt. The LOCTITE PC 7350 cures within just two hours to tolerate those forces,” he explains.

“The LOCTITE PC 7350 also comes in easy-to-mix cartridges, making it easy even for non-specialised persons to apply the adhesive on the damage area,” he adds. “It only requires a few simple steps, as long as the correct process is adhered to.”

CBC has a long-standing relationship with Henkel that goes back to over 40 years. Rowe says the CBC and Henkel teams work closely together to offer the best repair and maintenance solutions to customers.

“The CBC sales and engineering team have a deep understanding of the customers’ requirements and we work with the Henkel team to bring customers the best repair solutions,” he says.

While the primary market is operators of conveyor belts, Casotti explains that the PU resin repair product can also be used in other applications.

“Apart from conveyor belts, the same product can be used to repair rubber parts on liners in mills, hoppers, chutes and feeder bowls,” he says.

In a recent example, Casotti says, the LOCTITE PC 7350 was used to repair HDPE liners inside a grain chute.

“The large HDPE sheet was damaged in a small area. Rather than having to deal with the cost and labour time of replacing the whole sheet, the customer was looking for a solution to just repair the damaged area. With the use of the correct primer for surface preparation and the use of LOCTITE PC 7350, they could fill the gouge and have it cured within two hours and go back into operation,” he explains.

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Poultry producer gets a set-and-forget lubrication solution

When a food processing and packaging customer within the poultry industry sought the expertise of CBC Australia to set up a new lubrication store solution for their facility, the CBC team collaborated with Alemlube and CRC Industries to meet and exceed the customer’s requirements.

CBC Australia Sales Representative, Debra Fitzpatrick, says their customer was required to meet stringent government regulations for food safety standards and environment protection.

“Understanding these requirements, we worked with our trusted partners, Alemlube and CRC Industries, to offer a set-and-forget solution that made regulatory compliance much easier for our customer,” she says.

The new lubrication store was equipped with the help of oil containers, lids, pumps and hoses provided by Alemlube, as well as a whole range of food grade oils, sealants and greases from CRC Industries. Adding a CRC SmartWasher also provided additional safety to the plant.

“CRC Industries offers a wide range of NFS H1 approved lubrication products. All of CRC’s food grade lubricants comply with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements so the customer can be assured of the highest degree of safety,” says Fitzpatrick.

Cross contamination was another concern for the plant. The lubricants needed to be categorised and stored properly to avoid the risk of someone using a non-food-rated product in the food manufacturing process.

Fitzpatrick says using the Alemlube iCan range of products overcame this risk completely.

“The Alemlube products are designed to make the maintenance and upkeep of equipment easier. The lids are color coded to avoid any confusion and minimise the risk of cross contamination. The quick fill ports also help avoid foreign particle ingress during refilling,” she explains.

To further simplify the quality assurance audit processes, CBC also recommended that the customer gets on board with CRC’s Greenlight Food Safety Program.

Iain Faber, National Channel Manager at CRC Industries, says the CRC Greenlight Program incorporates extensive training with the staff in maintenance and quality assurance departments to help them achieve a high level of regulatory compliance within their plant.

“As part of the Greenlight Program, CRC offers on-site training to maintenance for use and storage of food grade lubricants and cleaners to ensure NSF certification compliance. CRC also provides the customer with an audit compliance folder, which contains TDS, SDS, Allergen certification and global NSF certification,” he says.

“As well as this, the SDS certificate is printed on the underside of the label on CRC’s Food Grade aerosols. They also come complete with the CRC Permalock straw which is a locked in straw and spray actuator that reduces the risk of contamination.”

“Moreover, CRC helps customers with product swap outs based on their technical requirements and aligns the program with the customers’ current on-site audit and inspection programs. We also offer on-going support to technical staff, chemists and field support staff via online or on-site visits.”

Representatives from CRC Industries met with the technical team at the poultry plant to take them through the required trainings and demonstrations.

The CBC team also recommended adding a CRC SmartWasher to the lubrication store as an environmentally friendly parts washing solution.

“The CRC SmartWasher has a compact design and uses the Ozzy Juice cleaning/degreasing solution for washing parts as an environmentally-friendly alternative to solvent and aqueous-based parts washers.  The Ozzy Juice is also NSF compliant as well as certified AsureQuality” says Faber.

“The SmartWasher Bioremediating Parts Washing system is both self-cleaning and safe for the user. Through the process of bioremediating, the SmartWasher constantly maintains the cleanliness of the Ozzy Juice cleaning/degreasing solution without the need for hauling away of used fluid,” he adds.

CBC’s Food and Beverage Business Development Specialist, Matthew Byrnes, says the successful delivery of the required products, as well as the subsequent recommendations by CBC for additional services to the customer, came at the back of a long-standing relationship between CBC and their customer.

“Our customers trust us to meet their operational needs for quality parts and services and we deliver that by understanding their needs – sometimes even before they arise – and always being ready with the most suitable solution,” he says.

“We have built up this reputation over many years of service to the industry and working with reliable partners. When customers ask for certain products, we don’t just deliver that particular product to them. We look at their overall process and see what can be further added to help them achieve their objectives,” he concludes.

                                                 

Poultry producer gets a set-and-forget lubrication solution

When a food processing and packaging customer within the poultry industry sought the expertise of CBC Australia to set up a new lubrication store solution for their facility, the CBC team collaborated with Alemlube and CRC Industries to meet and exceed the customer’s requirements.

CBC Australia Sales Representative, Debra Fitzpatrick, says their customer was required to meet stringent government regulations for food safety standards and environment protection.

“Understanding these requirements, we worked with our trusted partners, Alemlube and CRC Industries, to offer a set-and-forget solution that made regulatory compliance much easier for our customer,” she says.

The new lubrication store was equipped with the help of oil containers, lids, pumps and hoses provided by Alemlube, as well as a whole range of food grade oils, sealants and greases from CRC Industries. Adding a CRC SmartWasher also provided additional safety to the plant.

“CRC Industries offers a wide range of NFS H1 approved lubrication products. All of CRC’s food grade lubricants comply with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements so the customer can be assured of the highest degree of safety,” says Fitzpatrick.

Cross contamination was another concern for the plant. The lubricants needed to be categorised and stored properly to avoid the risk of someone using a non-food-rated product in the food manufacturing process.

Fitzpatrick says using the Alemlube iCan range of products overcame this risk completely.

“The Alemlube products are designed to make the maintenance and upkeep of equipment easier. The lids are color coded to avoid any confusion and minimise the risk of cross contamination. The quick fill ports also help avoid foreign particle ingress during refilling,” she explains.

To further simplify the quality assurance audit processes, CBC also recommended that the customer gets on board with CRC’s Greenlight Food Safety Program.

Iain Faber, National Channel Manager at CRC Industries, says the CRC Greenlight Program incorporates extensive training with the staff in maintenance and quality assurance departments to help them achieve a high level of regulatory compliance within their plant.

“As part of the Greenlight Program, CRC offers on-site training to maintenance for use and storage of food grade lubricants and cleaners to ensure NSF certification compliance. CRC also provides the customer with an audit compliance folder, which contains TDS, SDS, Allergen certification and global NSF certification,” he says.

“As well as this, the SDS certificate is printed on the underside of the label on CRC’s Food Grade aerosols. They also come complete with the CRC Permalock straw which is a locked in straw and spray actuator that reduces the risk of contamination.”

“Moreover, CRC helps customers with product swap outs based on their technical requirements and aligns the program with the customers’ current on-site audit and inspection programs. We also offer on-going support to technical staff, chemists and field support staff via online or on-site visits.”

Representatives from CRC Industries met with the technical team at the poultry plant to take them through the required trainings and demonstrations.

The CBC team also recommended adding a CRC SmartWasher to the lubrication store as an environmentally friendly parts washing solution.

“The CRC SmartWasher has a compact design and uses the Ozzy Juice cleaning/degreasing solution for washing parts as an environmentally-friendly alternative to solvent and aqueous-based parts washers.  The Ozzy Juice is also NSF compliant as well as certified AsureQuality” says Faber.

“The SmartWasher Bioremediating Parts Washing system is both self-cleaning and safe for the user. Through the process of bioremediating, the SmartWasher constantly maintains the cleanliness of the Ozzy Juice cleaning/degreasing solution without the need for hauling away of used fluid,” he adds.

CBC’s Food and Beverage Business Development Specialist, Matthew Byrnes, says the successful delivery of the required products, as well as the subsequent recommendations by CBC for additional services to the customer, came at the back of a long-standing relationship between CBC and their customer.

“Our customers trust us to meet their operational needs for quality parts and services and we deliver that by understanding their needs – sometimes even before they arise – and always being ready with the most suitable solution,” he says.

“We have built up this reputation over many years of service to the industry and working with reliable partners. When customers ask for certain products, we don’t just deliver that particular product to them. We look at their overall process and see what can be further added to help them achieve their objectives,” he concludes.

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Compressing the right information for customers

The food industry needs to operate efficiently to ensure quick delivery of produce, so it is as fresh as possible for customers. To meet this standard, reliable air compressors with a proven track record of success are required.

Air compressor faults take time to repair and that downtime also threatens required delivery objectives, especially for fresh produce going to market.

It is for this reason David Malthouse, BSC Product Specialist, says the company only works with leading air compressor manufacturers.

He says the BSC teams’ product knowledge combined with proven products, enables BSC customers to get the best outcome for their processing plants.

One such air compressor manufacturer is Peerless. Troy Jamieson, Peerless National Sales and Marketing Representative says every machine the company supplies comes with a recommended service guidance.

“At each factory we also run and test everything so that when we supply the product to BSC we know we have tested it for a good two to three hours or more,” Jamieson says.

He says in the food industry it is really important to have both the right compressor and the right filtration.

“Air compressors can start delivering air from 1 litre to 6500+ litres, that is why it is very critical we talk to the consumer about what their air requirements are and how that can be best serviced,” Jamieson explains.

This is where BSC and Peerless’ close relationship becomes a critical factor in customer service.

“We work very closely with our partners in the market. They might contact us and say they have a consumer and they want to get advice from the manufacturer. In these circumstances we try and work as a unit to ensure we are quoting the right compressor for the right application,” Jamieson asserts.

David Malthouse at BSC agrees, saying the company use staff knowledge to ensure customers end up with the best suited product.

“Our team have the practical knowledge and expertise to make educated industry relevant recommendations for air compressors, and a vast array of other products, to benefit customers,” Malthouse enthuses.

BSC can supply air compressors to suit various food and manufacturing plant applications from their range of branches throughout Australia.

“BSC can offer customers same day delivery, based on their location, in order to get any processing plant up and running as soon as possible,” Malthouse says.

When purchasing an air compressor, the BSC team are there to support and advise the customer for any application.

“We can calculate and recommend the correct size and volume of air required to service a site. We can also interchange and identify the difference between compressor brands, so the customer is supplied the right one,” Malthouse adds.

“We also recommend service agents for all brands and can offer engineering support through our own engineering section.”

One BSC customer is a major Australian horticulture company, Costa Group, and in May of 2019 they approached BSC in the search of a new air compressor requirement for its Monarto mushroom farm site expansion.

The compressor was required for two new Evolable machines, capable of labelling 240 punnets of mushrooms every minute. In addition to labellers, the compressor also needed to provide air to Costa’s Ishida machine, indexing conveyor and bucket elevator.

The team at BSC Lonsdale, which service the Monarto site turned to Peerless to relay the customer’s needs.

Costa, Peerless and BSC then worked together to determine a suitable screw compressor unit to best suit the Monarto site.

This was the Peerless HQ10/8, capable of delivering 1200LPM or air at 116PSI (8BAR) which can be fully regulated down to the desired PSI settings. It was also fitted with an oil separator and flow meter.

Costa initially had concerns around the oil separator and filtration on the Peerless HQ10/8, which Peerless quickly confirmed exceeds the requirements of the AS/ NZS1715 with regards to particle removal and oil carryover.

After negotiation with pricing and delivery, Costa were satisfied with the end result and proceeded with the order.

Finding the right solution for customers like Costa is what Malthouse likes most about his job.

“The best part of my job is the people,” he says. “My drive is to help all the people I deal with and do my best to solve any issues they have locating required products, to service their efficiency needs.”

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Volt belt leads the charge in ATEX environments

The explosive nature of grain and flour dusts is well-documented, with some of the worst industrial accidents in the world caused by explosions from dust clouds. Research published in the United States additionally reveals that 50% of all explosions from combustible dusts in the 20th century occurred in grain silos and flour mills1.

Dusts from wheat are particularly dangerous, as the source of heat required to ignite them is minor. Not only are accidents relating to static electricity common, and can cost businesses millions of dollars in equipment and production losses, they also pose significant risks to workers.

This is why it is so important that the componentry on food and beverage (F&B) applications that involve the handling of grain and flour, are designed to dissipate static electricity. Just as recently as May 2018, a flour mill in New South Wales experienced an explosion that left one worker injured and a whole section of the mill seriously damaged2.

Moreover, safety codes for the avoidance of hazards due to static electricity are vital and are constantly updated in industrial environments3. The international standard ISO 9563:2015 defines the requirements for antistatic synchronous belts in the workplace, specifically for new belts intended to be used in an explosive atmosphere or in situations where there is a fire risk4.

According to Steve Hittmann, who is the National Product Manager for Mechanical Drive Systems and Belt Drives at CBC Australia, the electrical resistance of synchronous belts used in F&B applications that handle grain or flour in their processing, cannot be understated.

“Components like roller chains simply cannot be used in these environments. A roller chain is metal to metal and produces sparks. But even a standard timing or V-belt will produce static electricity,” he explains. “Combustible dust in any food and beverage plant that involves baking or the handling of grain is a real hazard. And while there are a number of synchronous belts available for power transmission in these applications, the industry-leading Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt is by far the safest on the market.”

Importantly, Hittmann points out that the ISO 9563:2015 is limited to new belts only. Despite this, the Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt holds to the standard over the entire lifespan of a belt.

“Antistatic power transmission belts should not just be meeting this standard when they are new. That poses a significant risk to any ATEX (ATmosphere EXplosible) environment,” Hittmann states. “To ensure the highest level of safety, their capacity to safely dissipate static electricity should meet those ISO 9563:2015 requirements over the lifetime of the belt.”

Iain Street, the Business Development Manager of Power Transmission for Gates Australia in NSW, concurs with Hittmann’s statement. He further acknowledges that the Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt is the only belt to actually meet this level of safety.

“The Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt is the only belt on the market that meets the ISO 9563:2015 standard over its complete lifespan,” he explains.

“Industry standards don’t define the used belt conductivity, and typical rubber belt conductivity declines rapidly with use. The safety risks of this in volatile environments – such as those common to F&B applications that involve the handling of grain or flour – are very significant.”

The Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt features patented static-conductive fibers that safely transfer static electricity to carbon tensile cords – away from the driven side of the application. According to Street, this makes it the “safest and strongest option for applications in ATEX environments.”

“No other rubber or polyurethane belt can match it,” he further asserts. “As part of the world-recognised, industry-leading Poly Chain belt system, the Carbon Volt also offers the advantage of higher horsepower, reduced drive size and lowered component costs.”

As a national distributor of Gates Australia, CBC also work together with the Gates engineering team to ensure that Volt belts are properly installed and working at their optimum.

“It’s a partnership through and through,” explains Hittmann. “We’ll consult with Gates engineers on the correct design and tensioning of the Volt belts, using the Gates DesignFlex Pro software. We’re also committed to the safety of our customers in their workplace, so making sure these are set up right is of utmost importance.”

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References:

  1. Cause and prevention of dust explosions in grain elevators and flour mills
  2. Manildra Australian flour mill restarts operations after explosion
  3. Accidents and Losses Caused by Electrostatic Discharge
  4. ISO 9563:2015
  5. Gates Australia Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt brochure

Foodlube for the machine masses

With food production ramping up as people stockpile in the midst of the coronavirus, reliability has never been more important – both in terms of product performance and the supply chain.

And it’s not just the supply chain of the goods themselves that is in the spotlight, but the products and services that keep those products in full production – the plants, machinery and back up service.

In order to keep everything running smoothly, a high-quality food-grade lubricant is needed, and the ROCOL FOODLUBE range is designed to keep plant and machinery in top shape. Distributed by industrial products specialist, BSC, ROCOL fits the bill in many ways, according to BSC national key account manager, Steve Keown.

“ROCOL FOODLUBE has NSF accreditation, which is globally recognised, and it is also HACCP certified and the products are made using registered ingredients by the USDA and FDA,” he says. “They’re free from nut and soy oils. Free from genetically modified ingredients as well. For a certification approval level, they’ve certainly got all the global checks in place.”

Most importantly during these times, BSC has a large amount of stock of the range in its various warehouses around Australia. Not only that, but it has engineering staff that are on call and available 24/7 to help. Being Australia wide, the company can get product to customers very quickly. This is important – not only for planned maintenance – but in situations where unexpected downtime might occur due to the heavy use of machinery.

Emilio Seballos is the Channel Manager for Heavy Industry at ITW Polymers and Fluids (ITW P&F), the company that owns the ROCOL brand. Based in New South Wales, Emilio knows from first-hand experience how well BSC comes to the party in terms of support, and even helping open up new markets for products.

“Working with BSC is very good. Over the years our relationship has grown significantly,” he says. “They are really easy to work with because they are able to add value on top of providing products. Not only are they able to provide the bearings, the chains etcetera, we can then come in and help from a specialist lubrication standpoint.”

He even goes one step further when it comes to what BSC can do for those running the plant and machinery that keep the food and beverage industry chugging along.

“BSC are definitely solution sellers he says. “BSC offer solutions because they are already providing a technical service from the standpoint of bearings, belts, chains, lubrications and those sorts of things. They are already dealing with customers of our products on a technical level so there is an excellent synergy between what they can do and what we can supply to industry.”

An example of this collaboration can be seen through both BSC and ITW P&F working together to conduct site assessments at a Global food manufacturer’s operations based in NSW. As a result of the site assessments, BSC and ITW P&F identified that the plants had an excess of stock holdings and were able to brand rationalise to the ROCOL brand and cut their stock holdings by up to half.

The experience from the NSW site was then transferred to the global food manufacturer’s Tasmanian sites. The team at WebsterBSC – BSC’s sister company – were then able to conduct a thorough lubrication survey of two of its food processing sites.

The WebsterBSC team worked in conjunction with ITW P&F, and analysed the lube stores in both operations. Similar to the NSW sites, the result, according to WebsterBSC Sales Representative Rick White, was a rationalisation in the number of lubricants that the factories had on site from 25 different lubricants down to only 10 products.

“ROCOL products are very versatile and can be used in a range of applications. By using ROCOL lubricants, the factories were able to reduce their lubricant inventory considerably – which made stock management a lot simpler and more efficient,” White explains.

To elaborate on the versatility of the ROCOL products, White introduces some of the products that WebsterBSC and ITW P&F recommended as part of the survey program.

“For example, the ROCOL FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is an all-round grease that can protect ball, roller and plain bearings, slides and bushes in water wash offs,” he says.

“The FOODLUBE Hi-Power hydraulic oil and FOODLUBE Hi-Torque gear oil also have some great features. We’ve supplied them successfully to major food manufacturers in Tasmania and nationally, with great customer satisfaction,” he adds.

White, who works at the WebsterBSC Burnie branch and has been involved in the sale of industrial and engineering products for over 47 years, says continuous support is BSC’s secret to maintaining a lasting relationship with customers.

“When the same food manufacturer required hydraulic gear oils as part of their scheduled annual maintenance shut down, WebsterBSC was able to supply the order within just one day to avoid any unwanted delay. Our customers know that they can trust us to support them when they need it most.”

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