Page 4 - GlobalEyes Edition 1 Feb 2011

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4
globaleyes / edition 1
Ipswich casts
bright future on
broad capabilities
Charene Clark takes participants through a practical lesson on day 2
of the undercarriage conference.
Bradken has made crawler shoes in its
Runcorn facility since the 1980’s. Over the
years, many thousands of Bradken shoes have supported the
biggest tracked machines in mining regions around the globe.
These large shoes have been a highly successful product line
for Bradken and today our brand is known around the world
for quality and reliability.
NACG Contractors of Canada purchased a complete set of
undercarriage components for their Hitachi Ex2500.
I
n order to realise that potential,
the Ipswich manufacturing
operations have become an
integral part in the strategic
plan. The very diversity of the
capabilities at Ipswich places
it centrally in the frame for
manufacture of key crawler
system components:
>
Ipswich Foundry casts
sprockets and idlers which are
finished in the heavy machine
shop. We are currently in the
process of transferring new
patterns to the foundry which
will eventually make Ipswich
a source of these parts for
Bradken’s regional markets.
>
BEP machines roller end
blocks and idler sliders. These
castings are cast at several
other foundries within the
Group and sent to Ipswich for
finishing;
>
Ipswich fitters assemble
rollers and idlers in dedicated
batch processing cells;
>
The Ipswich Robotic Pin
and Bush Cell completes
all current requirements for
the crawler shoes made at
Runcorn. We expect to have to
add more equipment to keep
up with increasing demand;
>
Boilermaking cells are set up
to rebuild tracks for domestic
mining customers. We have
completed a number of sets
of remanufactured shoes at
Ipswich;
>
Aftercast processing of
Runcorn overflow in the old
wagon bays has alleviated
bottlenecks within the foundry
to help satisfy burgeoning
customer demand.
Despite the recent downturn
in rail work, the broad
capabilities of Bradken’s
Ipswich facility align well with
the Crawler Systems product
range. The site has a strong
future by further developing
its capabilities to process
undercarriage components
and benefit from the significant
growth in demand expected
for years to come. With this in
mind, Product Development
convened an Undercarriage
Conference in Ipswich in
April to familiarise participants
with the customer needs, the
product requirements, and
the strategic direction of this
business. Further investment
in the plant and training will
continue in order to achieve
this potential.
So far, Ipswich rollers,
sprockets, and idlers have
found their way to North
America, Africa, Indonesia, and
Australia. We foresee a time
in the not too distant future
when the business generated
from other undercarriage
components will equal our
business for tracks.
In recent times, more and more
customers have asked us to
develop a complementary
range of products to go
alongside our crawler shoes.
So in 2007, we built a business
case to justify the investment.
Soon after, our product
development group set to work
to design a range of rollers,
sprockets, and idlers.
In 2008, Bradken sold its
first set of undercarriage
components. Our engineers
and sales representatives
worked together with
customers to come up
with a competitive range of
undercarriage parts to support
mining operations around the
world. From these humble
beginnings, we expanded
the range of products to
support all of the major target
excavators.
This expanded
product line now
has strong potential
to become one of
the fastest growing
parts of the Crawler
Systems Business in
years to come.
Assembled rollers awaiting final crating prior to despatch.
MANUFACTURING