Partnership solution comes through for Austral pump maker, M&Q Equipment

When Queensland-based original equipment manufacturer, M&Q Equipment, was looking for a reliable local supplier to provide a range of bearings and bearing assembly components for their flagship slurry pumps, they turned to their trusted suppliers at BSC’s Wacol branch; which resulted in a partnership with Timken.

For over 25 years, M&Q has been a trusted manufacturer and supplier of high-performing equipment and the name behind the industry-recognised Austral slurry pumps.

The pumps are built in Brisbane, shipped around Australia and globally for use across a range of applications including mining and mineral processing, water and wastewater, sand processing, dredging, dewatering and more.

Among other uses, Austral pumps are fitted into wastewater processing facilities at bioenergy power plants around Queensland and New South Wales – where organic renewable materials are processed to produce heat, electricity, biogas and liquid fuels.

Adam Robson, Sales Manager at M&Q Equipment, says his company was looking for a local supplier that could help them meet their ongoing requirements for the refurbishment work done on site.

“Timken is a well-known brand already used in the industry and with their reputation for a high-quality product and excellent product availability, they were the preferred choice of brand for our bearings,” says Robson.

“Our local bearing supplier BSC has a close working relationship with Timken and we continue that today.”

BSC’s Wacol branch manager, Aaron Pickersgill says his branch had been working closely with M&Q over the years, supplying a range of products as and when required.

“Reliability and stock availability were very important factors for M&Q Equipment. They always really liked working with BSC because of our quick turnaround whenever they needed something and we wanted to make sure that we delivered on those expectations,” says Pickersgill.

M&Q was looking for a supplier that was not only well-recognised for quality excellence, but that could also guarantee regular supply and availability.

Moreover, M&Q was interested in working with a single supplier that could meet all of its requirements for different types of bearings, including tapered roller bearings, spherical roller bearings and cylindrical roller bearings.

To tick all those boxes, the BSC team recommended that M&Q work with Timken – who are a globally recognised bearing manufacturer with a strong local presence in Australia.

“The Timken products fit the bill perfectly,” says Pickersgill.

“The Timken brand obviously has a very good reputation in the market. They are a single brand with a wide portfolio of well-engineered and high quality bearings. More importantly for M&Q, the Timken company is great at stock management.”

Pickersgill and Brett Ayerst, Timken Regional Sales Manager then worked together to arrive at an optimum level of safety stock to ensure the required parts and components were available when an order came through.

“Safety stock is what we agree upon based on the feedback that we receive from customers. For example, if a customer says that they need 12 pieces of a certain component each month, we might decide to stock 24 of the product with our distributor to account for the safety stock, says Ayerst.

“Every time a new business arrangement comes into the equation, we then make adjustments in our inventory to account for that,” he explains.

Apart from having the assurance of regular supply of quality products, Robson says the partnership with BSC and Timken has also brought more cost-competitiveness to the Austral brand.

“The Austral pump is one of the handful of pump brands in the slurry pumping industry that are still built in Australia. We pride ourselves on being able to supply a product that is not only of top quality, but that is also extremely competitive pricewise. This is only possible with suppliers like Timken and BSC,” Robson says.

Pickersgill and Ayerst both made sure that the prices offered by both Timken and BSC enabled M&Q to compete in the market.

“Working with Timken and BSC allows M&Q to offer its flagship pumps at very competitive prices. As the supplier, we also wanted to make sure that our rates were competitive in the market to bring maximum cost benefits for our customer,” says Pickersgill.

Ayerst says the partnership between Timken and BSC is particularly successful as the two partners share the same vision in terms of customer service and integrity.

“It was very important for us that M&Q as the end user could reach out to us directly to talk about their requirements. It is this sort of open and trust-based relationship that we share with BSC that enables us to achieve the best outcome for customers,” he says.

“It’s a relationship that’s based around trust. We trust that BSC always does the right thing by us as well. It works. We have the same focus and same direction, so the chance of success greatly improves.”

Ten years since the partnership took off and M&Q started deploying the Timken bearings in Austral pumps, Robson says they have not experienced any product failures.

“M&Q has received multiple positive feedbacks from clients across all industries saying that Austral pumps have exceeded performance required and outlasted any other brands. We pride ourselves on our Australian-built pumps for the Australian market,” he says.

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One-stop-shop services for the Recycling Plant sector

Australia’s recycling plants are working harder than ever. A number of factors are contributing to the “24/7, 365-day” operating service recycling plants are having to provide, including the restrictions of recyclables imported to China imposed in 2018.

Up until the ban, Australia had sent 619,000 tonnes of recycling waste to China annually. This caused a strain on local recycling plants. Enabling seamless 24/7, 365-day operations was first and foremost on its mind when BSC Australia targeted its house-brand supply of industrial consumables to recycling plants.

Marlin offer a range of products which include chemical cleaning, materials handling goods, and lifting and hoisting equipment. The industrial consumables stream, secondary to BSC’s core business of bearings and power transmission solutions, was established with the intention of providing a one-stop-shop service to the industries they look after, according to National Accounts Manager Wayne D’Souza.

“The extensive range of industrial consumable products that BSC has to offer outside of bearings and power transmission is an attractive proposition for our customers. Ultimately, they’re looking at reducing their tail-end spend, and including these product ranges in their overall scope of purchases from us,” says D’Souza.

“Generally, our customers haven’t thought about us for this and they’re quite impressed when we start demonstrating the range we’ve got.”

“The industrial consumables range is really a valued-added solution for our customers. Many of our customers and contracts are looking to rationalise their supplier base to save valuable time and money and our BSC valued-added solutions go hand-in-hand with increased efficiencies in procurement and supply chain strategies,” says Industrial and Engineering Consumables Category Manager, Dominic Arena.

BSC uses international and local suppliers for the Marlin range of products, with full control of the sourcing and supply chain, allowing for full traceability from the manufacturing stage through to the end user.

“Through this distribution method we can also offer customised solutions for real-world problems that our customers may face with product development and technical engineering at the forefront of what we do,” says Arena.

BSC also has the technical capabilities to be able to customise its products to suit the different industries it supplies.

“We can offer customised solutions as well, because we have that technical engineering product development capability, which differentiates us from the standard distributor who just walks in and sells right off the catalogue. We’ve got eyes and ears in the field that pick up on feedback and customer needs, and we’re able to develop products and product ranges that suit their requirements,” says Arena.

Through this field experience, BSC saw the challenges to recycling plants that Marlin can alleviate.

“In these recycling plants, there are a lot of extremely heavy, awkwardly-shaped products moving around at a high velocity,” says Arena.

“You’ve got lots of equipment and lots of operators. Having the correct load restraint equipment that’s properly labelled for the weight and the dimensions is essential to ensuring best practice for how things get moved around.”

By improving visibility and enabling a better flow of movement throughout the plant, the materials handling products ensure safe practise as well as preventing the loss of time that results from on-site injuries. One of the most important factors to keeping recycling plants and their machinery operational is keeping them clean.

“If contamination or foreign matter were to get into bearings or critical pieces of equipment, it could cause catastrophic failings,” says D’Souza.

“It could just be something as simple as dust, or it could be heavy, chunky grease that forms over time; that’s just as dangerous as having dust. You’ve got to remove that because that can not only contaminate the recyclables, but it can get into some of the equipment that we provide, such as bearings, and lead to stoppages. It can also cause an OH&S issue when its dropping on factory floors, making it unsafe at the workplace for traffic to go through.”

The chemical cleaning products Marlin supplies can be used while the machinery is running. To break down contaminants, such as built-up dust, oils, and thick chunky grease, users can spray and wipe down machinery components and equipment without needing to slow down operations. Best practice, however, says D’Souza, means sometimes having to shut the equipment down now and then. However, Marlin enables this down time to occur less often.

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Packaging belt life to capitalise on industry growth

As the 2025 National Packaging Targets deadline approaches, resource recovery facility operators are presented with an opportunity to capitalise on expected throughput growth.

Between 2017-18, Australia generated 4.4 million tonnes of packaging waste, with only 68 per cent collected. Of that 68 per cent, 56 per cent was recovered via recycling.

In contrast, the national packaging targets aim to ensure 70 per cent of all plastic packaging is recycled by 2025. In addition to delivering significant environmental outcomes, the targets are set to grow economic opportunity in the sector through increased material availability.

To capture this potential, Mark O’Brien, BSC Product Manager, says recycling plant operators need to invest in streamlined equipment processes to ensure consistent throughput levels and quality recyclate. He adds that this includes the installation of durable and high efficiency belt drives.

While belt drives might not represent the most high-tech or glamourous component of an average recycling plant, Mark says superior strength and high grip belts are critical to maintain operations and minimise downtime.

“Sorters, conveyors and crushers are all central to the recycling process and are typically belt driven by an electric motor,” he says.

“BSC provides a wide range of belt drives to facilitate recycling applications, from our economy range right up to high performance V and Timing Belts.”

To provide a complete power transmission package, Mark says BSC works closely with American manufacturer of Carlisle drive belts by Timken.

Carlisle belts have been manufactured in the USA since 1905. The billionth Carlisle belt was sold in 2015. Recently acquired by The Timken Company, Carlisle belts are backed by a long history, yet continue to innovate and introduce new belt lines and products to market.

New lines include the Panther XT synchronous belt which acts as a powerful alternative to chain and polyurethane belts. Timken also launched its Drive Engineer mobile web app to assist in the design and maintenance of Carlisle belt drives in 2017.

“We have been working with Carlisle since the early 90s and have developed a very strong working relationship, which will continue to grow under The Timken Company for the marketplace,” Mark says.

BSC is the sole distributor of Carlisle belts in Australia and offers a range of Carlisle belts including Raw Edge Cog Belts. Super II, Blue Label, Power-Wedge, Wedge-Band belts, Super Vee-Band belts, Double Angle v-belts, Poly-Rib belts and Panther timing belts.

With over 15,000 different industrial belt combinations available, Mark says BSC are able to handle most power transmission applications; notably packaging recycling facility conveyor belts. He adds that different application requirements insist on varied and specific belt drives.

“In applications that require some level of slippage, a V belt is the best solution and you have variety of options within the Carlisle range” Mark explains.

“For applications with no slip requirements and synchronised drives however, I’d recommend a timing belt such as the Panther synchronous belt.”

According to Mark, correct installation and tensioning is necessary to ensure the proper operation of the entire belt drive and will guarantee long service life.

“When a drive is set up correctly and still failing, it likely points to something else incorrect in the system, belts act as a safety fuse in the system” he says.

“In that case, our engineering service can work on the machine to identify incorrect maintenance practices and drives or detect issues with other components that are affecting the belt life.”

Mark adds that by upgrading their belt drives, facility operators can reduce energy consumption, pulley sizes and hub loads through a lower quantity of belts required.

Additionally, he explains that belt drive construction and design can influence overall lifespan, power transmission and efficiency.

“The longevity of belt drives equates to less downtime, greater motor efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. Carlisle belt efficiency can be as high as 98 per cent,” he says.

“BSC recognises the positive impact its specialised products and services can, and do, have on helping customers become more sustainable across economic and environmental objectives.”

With the functionality of Carlisle belts specifically designed for the harsh environments of resource recovery, Mark says BSC is perfectly situated to assist capacity upgrades in the growing packaging recycling sector.

“BSC has extensive experience working with numerous companies in the packaging industry across Australia,” Mark says.

“That experience enables us to understand the special needs of those businesses and product processes, including energy conservation, high sustained speeds, continuous production, heavy leads and wet and dusty environments.”

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