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SouthMach Manufacturing and Electronics Exhibition

24 - 25 May 2017

Wednesday 24th 9am-6pm
Thursday 25th 9am-4pm

Horncastle Arena Christchurch

Exhibitor Enquiry







Work Safe New Zealand
University of Canterbury
NZ Manufacturer
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
DEMM engineering & manufacturi
Warehouse stationary
Work Safe New Zealand
University of Canterbury
NZ Manufacturer
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
DEMM engineering & manufacturi
Warehouse stationary


SouthMACH 2017

SouthMACH 2017

With a little under three months to go until kick-off, the South Island’s premier technology trade show for the manufacturing, engineering, machinery and electronics industries is well on its way to being a sell-out event making it one of the largest for many years.

The show organisers are estimating 100 national and international exhibitor companies, all set to showcase the latest technologies, products and services – demonstrating that the heartland of NZ manufacturing is very much alive and well. The organisers are keen to further capitalise on a strong 2015 prior event which enjoyed strong growth in industry visitors. With new features and a focus on high-tech manufacturing SouthMACH 2017 is once more shaping up to be the region’s leading event for the engineering, manufacturing, machinery, electronics and technology industries.

The latest technology and innovative equipment will be showcased at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on May 24-25.

Companies such as Design Energy, Scott Machinery, CADPRO, Fuji Xerox 3D and many others will be bringing to the event the very latest innovations in cutting-edge products and technology. In addition, we’re excited to welcome to SouthMACH two of New Zealand’s most innovative product development consultancies – Caliber Design and Locus Research. They’ll be showcasing some exciting projects they’ve been involved with, including the Stabicraft 1600 Fisher trailer boat and the Ubco 2×2 electric offroad motorbike.

‘Celebrating the Heartland of Manufacturing’ will continue as a dominant theme across the two days through live product demonstrations, special features and a very full schedule of industry-led education and learning Seminars. The schedule will cover a variety of topics such as ‘Additive Manufacturing’, ‘Energy Efficiency’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ and will also include a Competenz industry training workshop and a panel discussion and networking session with NZMEA. A full seminar schedule covering the hottest industry topics will be published later this month so be sure to keep an eye out at and plan your visit early.

“There is very strong industry support for SouthMACH 2017,” says SouthMACH exhibition manager, Aad van der Poel, “Which, I believe reflects the current industry and economic sentiment. We see many exhibitors returning after a more challenging period keen to keep abreast of new technology. It is clear the industry is gaining confidence and adopting a more positive outlook and SouthMACH 2017 will only reinforce this with amazing examples of successful hi-tech Kiwi manufacturing capability.

“Every SouthMACH, the buzz grows. With world-class seminars, the cream of suppliers, a myriad of opportunities to network and learn. All of this helps position the South Island as a high-tech manufacturing hub of the South Pacific. This SouthMACH is the not to be missed event for 2017.”

The post SouthMACH 2017 – ‘CELEBRATING THE HEARTLAND OF MANUFACTURING’ appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

New Zealand construction sector boom still has years left

The New Zealand building boom is set to continue, according to leading industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel.

The New Zealand building boom is set to continue, according to leading industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel.

The New Zealand building boom is set to continue, according to leading industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel. Boosted by surging net migration, accommodative monetary policy and robust economic growth, residential construction is set to rise further over the medium term, even as growth in the non-residential sector tempers.

According to the latest Building and Construction in New Zealand 2017-2022 report, the total value of building authorised (including residential and non-residential) is expected to peak in the financial year ending March 2017 and will remain above $10 billion in the next two years before activity levels off.

The slight decline in 2017/18 is expected to be the first year of negative growth in the overall sector for five years, while dwelling construction is forecast to continue growing until 2019/20, representing seven years of consecutive growth. Following a period of cyclical adjustment, construction activity is forecast to once again rise above $10 billion at the end of the outlook period in 2021/22, back near the record high reached this year.

The dynamics of population growth is a major driver of construction activity and a key determinant of medium and long term trends. Reflecting this, exceptionally high net migration in recent years has been a major contributor to strong growth in dwelling building activity. Net migration continued to surge in 2016 and the latest indication is that these high flows are likely to continue, with the 2017 year ending June set to be another record year of inflow according to estimates.

The construction sector will also be supported by the promising outlook for the economy over the medium term. A healthy labour market and persistent accommodative monetary policy settings are expected to provide a boost to domestic consumption and business investment while the strong tourism sector will continue to lend support. Building activity in the coming year and beyond is likely to still be led by Auckland.

Several factors that will contribute to the Auckland dwelling sector include strong population growth through migration inflows, housing stock deficiency and the implementation of the Auckland Unitary Plan. Furthermore, still tight supply in the office, retail and industrial sectors in particular will see non-residential building activity in the Auckland region running at fairly high levels over the forecast period.

Building activity in other regions is also improving, backed by positive underlying economic fundamentals that have underpinned investment growth. It is worth noting that these fundamentals have been facilitated by the strong economic performance of the Auckland region, with the fastest growing smaller regions – Hamilton, Waikato and Tauranga – mostly located within close proximity.

Leasing activities for commercial and industrial property are expected to remain strong amid tight supply in the coming years. Positive business and consumer sentiment on the back of continued strength in the domestic economy will drive demand for office, retail and industrial buildings in the coming years. However, new supply coming online in the near term is likely to result in slower growth in commercial property rentals, and higher vacancy rates that would bring the market back to an equilibrium. Forecasted strong population growth is expected to generate greater demand for social and institutional, as well as retail and office buildings over the longer term.

The total value of non-residential building authorised is forecast to move into a downturn over the outlook period, mainly because the majority of developments in the Canterbury rebuilding effort are now underway. As is the case in the dwelling sector though, fervent building in Auckland will provide a floor to building activity.

It’s expect that civil engineering construction will expand moderately over most of the forecast period. Road related infrastructure spending will benefit from government initiatives including funding for the National Land Transport Programme, while rail and communications related expenditure will be more modest.

The post New Zealand construction sector boom still has years left appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


yelling_manOpinion by profile manager at Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ (MESNZ), Craig Carlyle

The fact that you have read past the title suggests that a nerve is already twitching when maintenance and chaos is used in the same sentence.

Let’s just leave it out there that perhaps the non-performance (in actual, management or political terms) of your maintenance department has irked you at some time.

So, why is it that so many maintenance departments in industry become embroiled in stress, finger pointing and sweaty KPI’s? What makes plant reliability so difficult to manage? Simple, humans.

Even more than that, maintenance engineering humans. We will come back to that thought later.

I have spent many years guiding sites and companies towards maintenance excellence and have been fortunate to be involved in success stories measured in reliability, profits and satisfaction. But I have also seen efforts doomed to failure from the outset or railroaded by changes in management. So, what makes the difference? Systems and processes.

I have seen attempts, (some of them lauded internationally) that start out with the highest academic processes and the sexiest three letter acronyms. High priests and converts spout dramatic factors from on high whilst gathering their medals. The acid test is when you scratch the surface of the site 1-2 years later; are the maintenance plans really being actioned? Is life continuously learning and improving? Far too often the answer is a resounding ‘No’.

It is one thing to create fabulous maintenance plans and even better if you install a flash computerised maintenance management system to run them, but it is the systems and processes of running your maintenance management that true success will live and die by.

Back to the humans. After meticulous study of mislaid perfect plans, I have made an earth shattering psychological discovery. I will call it ‘The Carlyle Effect’ (all modesty intended).

Here it is… maintenance engineers do not like being systemised.

It’s true. If you work in a manufacturing process you get it; the need to have systems and processes to prevent chaos. Even tradesmen working in engineering manufacturing get it; there is a plan – I need to work to it.

But your average run of the mill maintenance department tradesman is hard coded to lean towards chaos. Leave him to graze naturally and he will devolve to firefighting and squeaky door priorities as quick as look at you. Give him a maintenance schedule and he will quickly shovel the hard jobs to the backlog and wonder off to do the favoured jobs.

And when something does break, watch him squeal onto the job, sirens and lights blazing, to save the day with his mission critical skills.

Smaller sites will display the ‘irreplaceable engineer’ syndrome; Mr Fixit who may appear to have the site running perfectly, but has all the info locked in his head. What value does he really offer you?

By the same genetic path that drew him to like fixing broken things, he is averse to being told what to do and when to do it. He wants to make his own choices.

Sound familiar?

Let me elucidate further by couching maintenance management in manufacturing (widget) terms:

• You manage a team of blue (maintenance) widget makers.

Your customers don’t really understand blue widgets but they do like red (non-maintenance) so they flood you with    red widget orders.

No one seems to care that you make more red widgets than blue.

You have a backlog of widgets that you will never achieve.

Your customers don’t have a lot of faith in your widget making ability and would go elsewhere if they could.

There is no formal widget making schedule. It pretty much works on who’s yelling at you the loudest.

You spend most of your time explaining to customers why the promised widgets were not made or why they broke straight away.

Your widget makers spend most of their time waiting for widget parts or access to the widget making machines.

You need a massive store of widget parts because you never know which widget you might need to work on next.

If you did give your widget makers a list of widgets to make they would pick out the nice-to-do widgets and leave the rest for the ‘back log’.

Some widget makers ignore the widget schedule and just make what they think is best.

Some widget makers have learnt lots about making widgets over the years but they keep it all in their heads as their own little insurance scheme.

Your budget is grossly overspent and you are unable to make all the blue widgets you need.

You seem to be forever repeating the same widget making mistakes.

The chief widget maker can never retire as the place won’t run without him.

This is the Chaos Theory of Maintenance Management and, unfortunately, I bet you recognise it. You certainly wouldn’t last long in business running processes like this. So why do we accept it in maintenance management? If you are happy with chaos theory in your process, stop reading now, I am happy for you. Maybe not happy for your shareholders, but you go for it! While it lasts. My apologies to our maintenance engineering humans. There is nothing wrong with them, not in the slightest. It’s just that the very skill set that makes them good reactive maintenance engineers almost precludes them from accepting proactive systems and processes.

There is however absolutely no reason in the modern environment that the maintenance function cannot be run with the same accuracy, predictability and transparency as a manufacturing process. The good news is that it also does not require expensive resources and is simple to achieve.

The reason why even the holiest systems will devolve to this level is the lack of formalised systems and processes. All it takes is negative culture and weak management to quickly undo years of positive work.

In order to improve maintenance management performance for the long term, the site must develop the maintenance scheduling systems and processes as a primary step before attempting to introduce maintenance planning disciplines. Put another way, why have a plan if you are not going to action it?

Put in the simplest terms, a truly successful maintenance management system will aim to put the right man on the right job at the right time with the right resources. This is the essential difference between Maintenance Planning and Maintenance Scheduling.

Let me describe a healthy maintenance management system:

It has well developed maintenance plans utilising just-in-time resourcing instead of high inventory stores.

Maintenance plans are fully optimised and bankable, based on evolved condition prediction and trades-confirmed resource requirements.

Maintenance is the priority because our maintenance plans have evolved away from feel good periodic checks to optimised invasion points.

The maintenance scheduling function adds approved non-maintenance and corrective maintenance tasks to the existing planned maintenance schedule.

The schedule is a reality driven rolling document that reflects the real site capability (reality schedule), (normally on a week by week basis). The reality schedule does not have nice-to-do tasks but only tasks expected to be auctioned.

The tradesmen understand and work to a 100% schedule achievement. Non-achievement is the exception, not the rule.

There is no backlog. How can you do a job last week? Unachieved tasks are put back into the forward schedule.

The operation understands the professionalism of the maintenance plans and processes and considers the schedule as bankable. They strive to make the plant available as the consequences of deferral are understood.

Sound wacky? Think about it in terms of running a manufacturing process. Strangely, the hardest thing to achieve above is the man management, which is where your systems and processes meet culture and management. It looks hard so it must be. Damn right. Moving site cultures away from comfort points is always going to stand on some toes. This may sound like total fantasy on your site but the challenge to you is to stand up and make it happen.

If making the journey to maintenance excellence appeals to you, here are my top five foundation steps to success:

• Publicly state that you are going to create a professional and proactive maintenance function.

• Define the difference between maintenance and non-maintenance tasks (what are you here to do?)

• Engage support for your processes from the highest level of your operation.

• Make sure you are rewarding your staff for success, not failure.

• Engage the entire operation in your systems and processes. Formalise it, live it, breathe it, back it.

The journey from ‘OK’ to ‘excellence’ is not that difficult and does not take a lot of expense, training, resources or tools. It takes the cheapest, most effective resource out there, attitude. There are some distinct steps along the way and embedded cultures that you might have to stomp on, but the rewards are enormous, in dollar and self-esteem terms. If I haven’t touched a nerve, then good on you. You either have your act together and are already a white knight of engineering, or are blissfully unaware of a world outside of the trench.

If you work in isolation, a great starting point is by talking to your peers and mentors at the Maintenance Engineering Society (MESNZ).MESNZ strives to support and lift the game of maintenance engineers in New Zealand. That is why MESNZ receives my full support. MESNZ seeks to encourage engineers to share their experience and achievements. The society achieves this by recounting its collective experiences and inspirations to maintenance engineers throughout the country, via print, mentoring, the National Maintenance Engineering Conference or connecting companies with practitioners.

The post THE CHAOS THEORY OF MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Gates celebrates 30 years of Aussie business

Members of the field sales team (left to right): Leon de Waard, Gene Halden, Tony Castellino, Neil Thomson, John Wilson, Garry Handke and Matthew Cook NEWS

Members of the field sales team (left to right): Leon de Waard, Gene Halden, Tony Castellino, Neil Thomson, John Wilson, Garry Handke and Matthew Cook

Customers, staff, industry partners and supporters celebrated in style to mark Gates Australia’s 30 year anniversary on February 17.

The event gave attendees the opportunity to reconnect with industry colleagues and put a face to the email signature in the beautiful surrounds of Melbourne steak bar, The Cut.

Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres and drinks on arrival, before moving to the dining room to enjoy an array of delicate entrees, sumptuous steaks and petite desserts, all set within the dark wood paneling and old-world style of The Cut.

“Gates has gone from strength to strength over the years. Thanks to the support of our customers we’ve grown out of two offices already and we’ve got a really enviable position in the market. This event was really an opportunity to celebrate where we’ve come from and thank all of those who have helped Gates Australia to get to where we are today,” said Gates Australia marketing manager, Priscilla Robb.

The night was also a chance to look back on some of the exciting moments that have decorated Gates’ three decades in the country, and relive memories of years gone by.

Throughout the night, a video played on screens behind guests, featuring images of past events, Gates products and facilities, and customer testimonials that echoed the feelings being expressed around the room.

Managing director of Gates Australia, Carl McGowan, said on the night, “30 years in business for any type of company is an excellent effort. It is pleasing to say that a number of distribution partners have been with us for the whole journey; some even used the Gates product before we officially entered the Australian market in our own right!”

Managing director, Carl McGowan, making some opening remarks

Managing director, Carl McGowan, making some opening remarks

It wasn’t all about dwelling on the past though, with Gates leaders looking to the future in their formal speeches. Many of the comments centred on what makes Gates such a stable face in the automotive industry, durable despite the challenges abounding in the current market.

Teng Seen Khoo, vice president of East Asia, said many of those he had spoken to described Gates as offering “quality”. It was a theme that ran throughout the night, with many Gates distributors and partners highlighting the quality of Gates parts as a reason to continue using its belts, hoses and other products – ensuring Gates Australia’s success into the future, for another three decades and beyond.

“We’d really like to thank all of those who attended, those who couldn’t make it, and everyone who has been a part of the Gates Australia story so far,” says Ms Robb.

“Without your support, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We’re looking forward to another three decades of business in Australia.”

The post Gates celebrates 30 years of Aussie business appeared first on NZ Engineering News.

Core engineering kicks off in Canterbury

University of Canterbury students entered one of New Zealand’s most modern and exciting education facilities for the first time last month.

University of Canterbury students entered one of New Zealand’s most modern and exciting education facilities for the first time last month.

University of Canterbury students entered one of New Zealand’s most modern and exciting education facilities for the first time last month.

At the centre of the major modernisation of all UC Engineering facilities, the Core is a place where staff and students will learn and socialise together in a modern teaching and learning environment for years to come, UC vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr says.

“We are celebrating a major milestone in our Canterbury Engineering the Future (CETF) project, as the UC Engineering Core, located at the very heart of the engineering precinct, opens for business,” Dr Carr says.

“The Core is a key component of the state-of-the-art, $144 million CETF project and the University would like to acknowledge the significant Government contribution of up to $260m for this project and the Regional Science and Innovation Centre. We are looking forward to several openings in 2017, as more than $400m of major projects reach completion.”

In the Core, what was once essentially a thoroughfare, enclosing a little-used courtyard, has been transformed into a modern, expansive, inviting space that provides students with a dynamic mix of social and flexible learning spaces.

Drawing offices, CAD suites, lecture theatres and meeting rooms located around the perimeter of the Core integrate seamlessly with attractive lounge areas, study cubicles and casual seating, all finished in the vibrant purple that is UC Engineering’s signature colour.

College of Engineering pro-vice-chancellor Professor Jan Evans-Freeman says she has been looking forward to bringing students and staff into the Core after an extensive, two-year remediation programme.

“We are very excited about the collaborative and learning opportunities that this magnificent new space presents.

“We will use the open areas to regularly showcase student achievements, projects and research, to host conferences, and to continue to attract students and staff to come here to study and work,” Prof Evans-Freeman says.

“Providing student learning and discussion areas, together with food options, close to major lecture theatres and research laboratories will ensure that the Core is a vibrant place at all hours of the day, every day.”

This year, teaching will also begin in two of the four engineering wings that connect directly to the Core. The Electrical and Computer Engineering wing and the Chemical and Process Engineering wing were completed last year, while 2017 will see the completion of the Mechanical Engineering wing and the Civil and Natural Resources Engineering wing.

Together with the new Structural Engineering Laboratory which opened in April 2016, the opening of these wings will mark the completion of the entire CETF project, ensuring future UC Engineering students have the finest facilities and technologies available.

The CETF development will be officially opened at a later date.

The post Core engineering kicks off in Canterbury appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


New Zealand is the second-best country in the world to do business with (Forbes 2016)

New Zealand is the second-best country in the world to do business with (Forbes 2016)

New Zealand is the second-best country in the world to do business with (Forbes 2016)

A little over two years ago I went to my first exhibition within the engineering industry – SouthMACH.

With eyes wide open, I was excited at what I would see while also very interested at just what sort of a trade show it would be. Having been to some over the largest shows on this planet with footprints of over a million square feet, I wondered at just what this one – at the other end of little ol’ New Zealand and scale – would be like.

The first morning gave me plenty of time to zip around and chat with a few suppliers to the industry… attendee foot traffic was low. Instead of any excitement the industry suppliers I visited might have had at meeting the new editor of Engineering News, I quickly got a feeling of just how much time and investment these companies put into their tradeshows. All of them were nervous with sweaty brows and eyes darting in all directions to catch the first glimpse of what they hoped would be a stampede of potential customers through show doors.

That stampede came… thankfully for exhibitors, with it just being a slow start and by the end of the event nearly all I talked to displayed high positivity at the show.

Combined with EMEX every other year, the industry has two ideal foils, particularly at a time that it hits yet another boon-like gear such as it is experiencing. I do get plenty of hardship stories at the expense to exhibit at these types of shows with stands to be bought and machinery that needs shipping, but what is mostly very nervous banter has always turned to accolades (and relief) post show as orders are taken and appointment books filled.

This issue features our second instalment of preshow coverage of SouthMACH (Page 16) and some of the exceptional companies that will be there for you to see.

Another section of the magazine we have in our March issue is engineering in the food industry (Page 22) and this is one sector of the industry that has done plenty to turnaround people’s thinking on an international scale.

I picked up the phone and called 16 key suppliers to this industry – just for a chat – and a few I have featured within this section. But what was interesting was not only that the category is in full on explosion mode in terms of supply (which means there are plenty of you out there who are doing really, really well) but that the, “She’ll be right,” and ‘No.8 Wire’ perception from international businesses has largely dissipated. This is by no means a small feat.

The aforementioned mentalities which were once the cornerstones used by Kiwi companies to overcome problems has somewhat dogged us in the worlds of precision and hygienic standards. But, it seems, no longer.

The suppliers I chatted with told me that international companies are hunting down what is now a swag of locally made product that not only fits their needs but has been made better than what others can offer.

Furthermore, you can even isolate this excellence in manufacture to pockets. For example, more than one told me of how companies manufacturing dairy related machinery not only meet but far exceed standards and quality of those produced internationally, which makes sense considering our devotion to the dairy industry across the board. And those who seek our products are getting smarter, starting their search within areas such as the Waikato, where dairy is top dog and where the manufacture of products and machinery to the industry gets greater prominence.

Pats on many backs all round.

But it’s not just the food side of engineering I’m seeing doing well. Auckland based RR Bramley (Page 42) has bought another CNC machine from Okuma as it tools up to meet expanding needs, while Steel Rollformed Products (Page 40), a company that builds its bespoke machinery for use in production, has already doubled in size and looking to double again.

Then there is McClay Tooling in Christchurch (Page 30), a company that has also tooled up with a new CNC machine from Haas which has greatly contributed to its ability to keep its unmanned machines going around the clock. And with plenty of work on it needs to.

All these and more combine to partake in subsequent accolades from throughout the world, such as Forbes’ 2016 list which had New Zealand as the second-best country in the world to do business with.

Not bad for a small country that is ‘under’ Down Under. Or should that be ‘on top’?

– Greg Robertson, publisher

The post SOUTHMACH 2017 AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT AS KIWI RIDES HIGH appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


Hypertherm has announced the introduction of FlushCut consumables for select Powermax air plasma systems.

Hypertherm has announced the introduction of FlushCut consumables for select Powermax air plasma systems.

Hypertherm has announced the introduction of FlushCut consumables for select Powermax air plasma systems. 

Available for Powermax105 and 125 systems.

FlushCut provides users with the ability to cut closer to base materials than ever before.

They feature an angled nozzle bore that delivers the plasma arc at a 45 degree angle ideal for challenging removal applications. Instead of locating the nozzle opening at the tip as is typically done, the FlushCut nozzle orifice is located on the side. This essentially bends the plasma arc, causing it to exit the torch at an angle nearly parallel to the workpiece. As a result, Powermax users can cut closer, or more flush, to the base metal than ever before, significantly reducing grinding work and increasing the opportunity to reuse lugs and attachments.

The new flush cutting process is ideal for a number of applications including jobs that require the separation of two metals. The consumables allow users to easily remove lugs, temporary weld supports, and pad eyes without damaging the base material holding the piece in place. In addition, the flush cutting process simplifies the cutting of weld access holes in I-beams, and also makes it easier to remove bolts or other parts from metal plate.

“Strong investment in research and development along with a drive to continuously innovate has led our engineering team to develop a truly groundbreaking consumable design,” says Brenda Mahoney, a product manager for Hypertherm torch and consumable products. “This new process has the potential to save companies a substantial amount of time while reducing operator fatigue and increasing safety on the jobsite.”

She says that the introduction of FlushCut consumables is just one more example of how Hypertherm is helping customers address challenging metal cutting and removal applications. The company’s engineers have developed numerous torch and specialty consumable options including consumables for gouging, extended reach cutting, marking, and fine feature cutting.

Hypertherm designs and manufactures advanced cutting products for use in a variety of industries such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Its product line includes plasma, laser and waterjet cutting systems, in addition to CNC motion and height controls, CAM nesting software, robotic software and consumables. Hypertherm systems are trusted for performance and reliability that result in increased productivity and profitability for hundreds of thousands of businesses. The US-based company’s reputation for cutting innovation dates back nearly 50 years to 1968, with Hypertherm’s invention of water injection plasma cutting. The 100 percent associate owned company, consistently named a best place to work, has more than 1,400 associates along with operations and partner representation worldwide.

The post FLUSHCUT ADDS STRENGTH TO POWERMAX105, 125 appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


The newest of what are now three channels in the century old Panama Canal eliminates a bottleneck for global commercial shipping.

The newest of what are now three channels in the century old Panama Canal eliminates a bottleneck for global commercial shipping.

The newest of what are now three channels in the century old Panama Canal eliminates a bottleneck for global commercial shipping. Schaeffler has supplied more than 3,400 rolling bearings for the lock technology and for water management. Panama hopes to benefit from the burgeoning trade between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia and New Zealand.

After a nine-year construction period, the new, third channel of the Panama Canal opened recently. Starting immediately, ships with a maximum length of 366 metres (984 feet) and a width of around 50 metres (164 feet) can travel this shortcut between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Until now, the passage was restricted to ships that were no more than 290 metres (951 feet) long and 32 metres (105 feet) wide. Bearing solutions from Schaeffler, that are also widely available throughout the Asia-Pacific region, keep lock gates and valves moving.

Bearings for reliable lock operation

Components made by Schaeffler play a key role in the operation of the lock gates. The locks are necessary both on the Atlantic and on the Pacific side so that ships can overcome a difference in height of 26 metres and pass through the interior of the country. This is achieved by three consecutive locks that are flooded with water from adjoining reservoirs.

The lock gates are made of reinforced concrete and have enormous dimensions: They are 50 metres (164 feet) wide, 30 metres (98 feet) high and 10 metres (33 feet) thick. For safety reasons, two gates have been installed for each barrage that open to the side. The mechanism for opening and closing the gates was developed by Italian engineering company Cimolai Technology.

To open and close the gate, each has two main drive units that drive a cable winch. The drums of the steel cable winches are supported by spherical roller bearings made by Schaeffler. Since very high torques of up to 330,000 Nm are required to move the gates, there is also a gearbox on each that increases the torque of the electric motors by almost 280 times.

The gearboxes developed by PIV Drives, a company owned by the Brevini Group, are equipped exclusively with tapered, spherical and cylindrical roller bearings made by Schaeffler. Most of the bearings have been coated with Schaeffler’s Triondur C to prevent wear and ensure their operation for 35 years.

Both at the top and at the bottom of the reservoirs, two so-called ‘carriages’ guide the gates that weigh 3,100 tonnes. Here, guide pulleys are used that must be able to withstand not only the gates’ dead weight but also the pressure of 430 million litres of water per reservoir. The guide pulleys are equipped with spherical roller bearings supplied by Schaeffler.

“Global success stories like this showcase the reliability and performance benefits of our core bearing ranges, which are also in use throughout Australasia,” says Martin Grosvenor, industrial sector manager, Schaeffler Australia.

“Being part of the global Schaeffler technology network allows us to have access to the same knowledge, expertise and advanced technology that goes into projects like the Panama Canal,” he says.

Bearings for resource-conserving water cycle

One important feature of the new Panama Canal is its three reservoirs that are located next to each barrage. They ensure a resource-conserving water cycle: Several valves open in a channel below ground to drain the water from a barrage. The channel connects the water saving basins and the barrage. Due to the large size of up to seven metres (23 feet), the valves supplied by Hyundai Samho have also been designed as gates.

The steel guide pulleys for these gates are equipped with bearings made by Schaeffler. The bearings used here are chromium-plated, making them particularly resistant to corrosion. Different variants of the Durotect coating developed by Schaeffler are used for this application.

Challenging conditions

Schaeffler engineer Francesco Capittini describes the special challenges for bearing solutions for the Panama Canal as follows: “The slow motion causes a quasi-static load in the bearings with very high forces.” In addition, the operation of the Panama Canal must work reliably 24/7 due to its significance for world trade. Maintenance intervals are scheduled only every five years.

Schaeffler was able to develop some solutions based on standard products despite the tough requirements for technology in the expansion of the Panama Canal. The international network of engineers and application specialists also implemented project-specific solutions. Dr Stefan Spindler, who is a member of Schaeffler’s executive board and responsible for the company’s industrial business, explains: “Our sales team is made up of engineers all over the world. They work with Schaeffler experts from a wide range of disciplines, such as coating engineers and calculation experts, which helps them provide our customers with bearing solutions for even the most challenging applications.”

Matteo Maretto, member of the development team at Cimolai Technology, the Italian engineering company that developed the mechanism for moving the lock gates, agrees: “The bearings are a very critical component for the overall functioning of the lock. They have to work under any circumstances; otherwise the entire facility would stand still. Schaeffler provided valuable support to us during development.”



Suppliers to many industries are facing the same challenges world-wide, how to supply their products fast, economically and flexible while considering the individual demands of their customers at the same time.

Suppliers to many industries are facing the same challenges world-wide, how to supply their products fast, economically and flexible while considering the individual demands of their customers at the same time.

Suppliers to many industries are facing the same challenges world-wide, how to supply their products fast, economically and flexible while considering the individual demands of their customers at the same time. In order to increase the quality of their products and reduce costs at the same time, the Canadian supplier Deco Automotive replaced three existing older bending machines with three state-of-the-art automatic CNC 100 E TB MR VA pipe bending lines by Schwarze-Robitec. The company will profit from the integrated high-performance control system NxG by increasing its output and optimising cycle times.

The company, headquartered in Canada manufactures various automotive components including vehicle frames and structures, and engine cradles. Among the customers of the automotive supplier are international original equipment manufacturers. Deco uses a total of four production lines and manufactures more than 1,750,000 products per year.

Before being accepted by automobile manufacturers, steel pipes run through the fully automatic cold bending process at the production facility. Subsequent manufacturing steps include hydroforming, laser cutting and welding. The number of bending processes performed at Deco reaches 12 million per year.

Following an extensive consultation and planning phase three pipe bending lines tailored to the requirements of the automotive supplier.

Of the three CNC 100 E TB MR VA machines two machines are right- and one is left-bending. In addition, the multi-stack bending machines are equipped with a pipe magazine, a weld seam finding device, an automatic loading and a removal device. The electrically operated systems process round and oval tubes that are 2.8 m long and have a diameter of up to 76.2 mm including a wall thickness from 1.2 to 3 mm. The process is fully automated: The pipes to be processed are taken randomly from the tube magazine and fed to the integrated weld seam finding device. This device aligns the pipes in accordance with their weld seam position. Following the alignment, the pipe is passed on to the pipe bending machine. To do this, a mandrel is used which supports the tube on tight radii from the inside. A fully automatic loading arm then removes the finished bent tube from the machine and places it on a conveyor belt. From there, the tube continues to the hydroforming equipment. Another feature of the solution are the integrated raised, vertical travel routes. This allows pre-loading the pipe bending machine, while parallel to this function a finished bent tube is removed at another location.

The post HIGH-PERFORMANCE PIPE BENDING CELLS appeared first on NZ Engineering News.



It’s been a year since Machinery House moved into its new purpose built premises at 2 Waiouru Road, Highbrook, Auckland.

It’s been a year since Machinery House moved into its new purpose built premises at 2 Waiouru Road, Highbrook, Auckland and branch manager, Miles Donald says it’s been a great experience for the business and Machinery House’s customers.

It’s easy to see why customers would enjoy what the extra space entails – now all the machinery is on the showroom floor and it gives you the opportunity to get up close to it – “it’s really helpful for customers who want to see the machinery and touch it,” Miles says.

The move from their old premises was predicated on the need to cater for their customers’ desire to be able to see everything the company stocked and also to be able to hold greater numbers of stock and spare parts, Miles says.

“Before we were only able to show about a quarter of what we stock. Now we have one of every machine that we stock on the floor. We now hold much more stock and have a lot more pallet space. We have been growing each year and for the past four years there has been huge growth in our market and we want to be able to cater for it.

“If a customer wants to bring in a material they will use, our technicians will run it through the machine. So they know it’ll be the right machine for the right job.

“At the end of the day it’s all about the customer. If they want it, we have to have it ready to go. We are forever increasing our products. We are really here to make life easier for our customers. If we don’t have what they want here we can get it within three weeks from Australia.

“We do a shipment of spare parts weekly. We can do it efficiently and quickly – significantly reducing downtime,” Miles says.

Walking around the massive showroom floor it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer volume and choice of machines on offer. The whole place is very clean and incredibly well organised. Miles points out that that is the Machinery House way.

The extensive range of stock that Machinery House holds – all of which is available online through its comprehensive website – is part of the company’s strategy to increase its market share in New Zealand.

Its experienced sales team, solid and dependable back-up service and wide vast industry knowledge all enhance the professional image that has ensured Machinery House stays ahead of the game. Its dedicated sales team has decades of technical experience in all trades, which allows them to get the job done.

Miles says that they are in the process of growing staff numbers and at present have three technicians and four storemen onsite to help customers. In addition, the technical team pre-run and test all outgoing equipment. This results in fast onsite commissioning for customers, no matter where they are.

Keeping their customer base up to speed with the latest on offer is also achieved through their annual 212 page fully priced catalogue and in-house built and maintained website that is always kept up to date.

Customers can obtain all the information they require in machinery and other products – from technical specifications to shipping information – such as weight and volume, as well as pricing. This all enables customers to be fully armed with all the information they need to make the right choice. Miles also says that from early next year all of their pricing will be coming down – online and in the catalogue.

One of the popular features of the website is Machinery House’s mates offers, which has been growing steadily, year to year. Customers benefit with a free $20 voucher with purchases over $100 and $50 for purchases over $300.

Miles says one of the new additions to their product range has been Swiftcut plasma cutting machinery – which is fully CNC.

“it’s already becoming very strong in the market with excellent back-up service and technical support. The Swiftcut is made in the UK and the plasma is US made Hypertherm – so you know that it is high quality machinery,” Miles says. “it’s taken off really well and we have good stock and supplies ready to go.”

The wide range carried by Machinery House covers the whole spectrum of the engineering industry – from the enthusiast working at home to the engineering professional. The company sources and distributes both locally and imported equipment.

Euroquip is one of our biggest suppliers that we buy off locally,” Miles says. “We are one of the biggest distributors for Auckland based precision engineers and machine tools manufacturers, RR Bramley, which produces high quality metal cutting, forming, shaping, and grinding equipment under the Bramley, Linishall and Garrick machine tools brands and New Zealand made Bulldozer horizontal benders.

“We sell imported metalworking and sheet metal fabrication equipment from Hafco Metalmaster, Soco, Sunrise, Sahinler, Optimum, Powerbuilt Tools, and Rong Fu. We also distribute pwer tools, grease guns and Hitachi electric chain blocks.”

Machinery House really does have it all and with a fully air-conditioned showroom with all it stocks on display, customers get to touch and feel what they may wish to buy and make sure it’s the right tool for the job, every time. The other added bonus is a very roomy dedicated pick-up area outside.

For more information contact Machinery House,

Tel; 09 271 7234,


The post MACHINERY HOUSE HAS THE RIGHT MACHINE FOR EVERY JOB appeared first on NZ Engineering News.


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