Bulk Handling – A Case of Partnering Rather Than Supply

With the ever increasing mechanisation of bulk handling, large-scale manufacturers, processors and logistics providers can have their feet so hard on the pedal they fail to step back and to take some important operations points into consideration.

Large-scale materials handling is increasingly becoming a 24/7 requirement. This means it can also be a costly minute by minute disaster when parts wear out. Not that there is poor quality of maintenance in Australia New Zealand; the real issue is potential downtime when operators have to rely on imported parts and intellectual property supply lines.

Large-scale manufacturers, processors and handlers never really want to stop production, but that becomes the case if one can’t access a replacement part immediately. This problem is heightened in the food handling industry when dealing with perishable product. Even in resource related processing, encompassing heavy industries such as mining, quarrying, crushing, blasting/screening and container and drum handling, businesses have for even longer relied on imported bulk handling technology, unaware of the inefficiencies in cost management.

A general shift is beginning to emerge, one that has evolved from necessity. Australian company Industrial Conveying Australia (Aust) Pty Ltd is one organisation that has developed to the point where it now manufactures a plethora of products and systems to facilitate a fast supply line, extensive technical support, and generally more affordable solutions than imported alternatives.

Not that there is any suggestion of problems with imported parts, it is simply a case of natural progression where partnering, rather than merely parts supply, is now a necessity.

Because Industrial Conveying itself has a sizeable export component, its management recognises first-hand how accessible supply lines effectively negate costly downtime. Managing Director of the company, Mr Don Erskine, is quick to point out that the call for guaranteed, ongoing, technology supply has grown into an expectation of complete turnkey solutions right across the bulk handling market.

"Turnkey expectation is a direct result of the migration of Australian companies into a global business as well as faster time-to-market expectations right across the fields of industry," said Mr Erskine.

In mass food processing and general manufacturing, many businesses are operating a round-the-clock business and handling even larger amounts of product, so they want entire automation as well as automation systems that can keep control in the hands of management and allow so much more room to expand. Even heavy industry bulk handling (minerals, sand processing, excavation and earth movement) which uses immense conveying systems, gains a huge advantage from domestic based supply lines and integrated technologies that are on hand when required.

More often than not, delivery times of locally sourced handling technologies are far better than imported options and quality in this part of the world ensures it is to appropriate ISO standards.

Products include mining conveyors, bulk hoppers, crusher plants, roller conveyors, heavy support steelwork platforms, stacker-retrieval systems, heavy duty incline belts, radial stackers, feeder conveyors and overland bulk conveyors.

"Nowadays, items such as these are classed as standard products, so in effect we have developed our national manufacturing plant in Bendigo dedicated to these demands as the supply platform," said Mr Erskine.

Industrial Conveying Australia has matured with the market in the development of IT and PLC integration, as overseas technical support and supply lines may not properly meet the evolving challenges in Australia.

In situations when clients need to expand their materials handling needs on an ongoing basis, the integratability of standard products needs to be seamless with little or no inconvenience. Local involvement is now crucial so that engineers can configure any materials handling system to work efficiently and in synchronicity with transport vehicles or other extraneous materials handling components.

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