Building bespoke solutions

Building bespoke solutions

Waste Management Review talks to Jay Chirnside, General Manager at Kerfab, about the potential benefits of customised wheel loader attachments.

Around six years ago, manufacturing materials handling company Kerfab began working with the growing  waste industry.

To prepare for the expansion, the company underwent multiple site visits to learn more about the industry as part of the design process behind the company’s wheel loader attachments.

What the company found was an industry that was a buzz of activity, requiring equipment that was able to stand up to the tough requirements of the job.

Jay Chirnside, General Manager at Kerfab, says the waste and recycling industry is a demanding one that requires a lot from the people and machinery that work in it.

“When we visit sites, you can see the energy and movement in the air. Trucks are dropping off a steady flow of waste that need to be processed. With mountains of materials requiring movement, Kerfab needs to be at the top of its game to provide attachments and materials handling solutions to match the growing needs of the industry,” he says.

The industry continues to present Kerfab with challenges, which the company endeavours to solve by working with the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and the waste industry to meet the demands.

This process involved visiting client’s sites to ensure Kerfab could design a customised attachment that fit the site’s individual needs. Extensive research and development is part of this process, with concept drawings and conference calls to foster as much communication between all parties to present the best solution.

Kerfab then applies a finite element analysis process to stress test the attachments to make sure it can handle everything the waste industry can throw at it.

The result is a bespoke design that has been created with a mix of industry knowledge and the details of how the machine will be used on site.

Jay describes a product that was created for a large waste client to help it compact as much waste as quickly as possible into waiting trucks.

“With a standard bucket, waste would be scooped up and be then dumped into a truck. To ensure the client was able to get the right axle loading and weights required into the trucks, they sometimes had to compact it in,” he says.

“We designed a protrusion on the front tip of the bucket lip that was shaped like a penguin’s beak, so the operator could compact the material into the truck correctly. Without this, a large standard shape bucket would not be able to do so.

“Once we designed the attachment, it was then used in sites across the country in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth,” Jay says.

Another large Australian recycling company was also able to custom design a bucket attachment. Kerfab created a special design of bucket with the client’s full specification which provides extra capacity and volume without sacrificing visibility.

Jay says that meeting the demands of the waste and recycling industry is a challenge as there is always a need to need for more efficient use of machines and attachment combinations.

“With the growth in the industry, there is a need for bigger buckets and handling attachments, but this is easier said than done. We often need to find the balance between machine and attachment size, taking into consideration fuel efficiency, space, loader capacity and volume of product to be moved in the allotted time frame,” he says.

“The size, weight and shape of the bucket all contribute to how much a design will provide a return on investment or savings to the client. There’s quite a science to the process about matching the right attachment with a machine.

“It is critical to have open communication between all three parties involved: Kerfab, the client and the OEM. Harmony between the three ensures a solution that satisfies the client’s needs,” Jay says.

One aspect Kerfab prides itself on is the company’s after-sales support network to make sure work can continue in the event of a failure or breakdown.

“When a machine breaks down, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible because the trucks won’t stop coming,” Jay says.

“That’s why we design our attachments to be durable enough to withstand the pressures of the industry but are also quick to support our clients if there are any issues.”