News, Technology

Leading wire rope innovation

With over 100 years of specialised experience in steel wire and synthetic rope manufacturer, Bridon-Bekaert serves thousands of customers globally. Bridon-Bekaert has been manufacturing rope in Newcastle NSW for 98 years.

Bridon-Bekaert’s rope is designed for some of the world’s most demanding applications in numerous industries – all of which call for specific rope requirements.

Brad Reed is the sales and marketing manager and Rhys Hughes is the technical sales manager for Bridon- Bekaert in Australia. Hughes focuses on technical support for underground mining, cranes, industrial and oil & gas market sectors. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and with Bridon-Bekaert for more than five years.

Reed explains the company has a long and distinguished pedigree that extends further back than 2016, when Bekaert acquired the Australian business from Arrium/OneSteel. “Bridon-Bekaert’s predecessor, Australian Wire Rope Works, was formed in 1923 at the steelworks in Newcastle. By 1933, the company was a fully owned subsidiary of BHP. In these early years, the company was involved in major nation-building projects, such as the Snowy Mountain Scheme,” he said.

Today, Bridon-Bekaert provides rope solutions for every industry, including onshore and offshore oil & gas, underground and surface mining, cranes, industrial, structures, fishing, marine, cableways and forestry.

Bridon-Bekaert’s business in Australia is the world leader in the manufacture, supply and technical support of wire ropes in surface and underground mining applications.

“As an Australian manufacturer, Bridon-Bekaert is able to offer a broad range of high-performance wire rope products. We not only manufacture the rope, we also custom design rope solutions, provide rope inspection services, and have a NATA accredited testing laboratory. Our customers include some of the world’s largest mining companies, including BHP, Glencore, Anglo American and Yancoal,” said Reed.

Hughes role is based around technical solutions. “I typically get involved with projects at the specification level and at a trouble shooting level. I am involved if the customer is looking to achieve better performance in a certain rope application or if there is a problem.
I will visit and assess the customer’s application and devise a rope strategy that is going to minimise the customers cost associated with ropes,” Hughes said.

Hughes explains how this is achieved and what the end result can look like for a customer.

“The biggest differentiator between Bridon-Bekaert and other rope companies, is that we will spend the time to do the analysis, whether that’s during the pre-installation phase or through trial or post life analysis, carefully manage each step throughout the design and manufacturing process of the rope to ensure it is right first time. Let’s say there has been a troublesome part in the ropes’ life on the crane or in the mine, we’ll design the rope around combatting that as opposed to enforcing customers to change the way they operate. This can apply to a reeving system or a winch, we’ll try our best to adapt a rope to make it work in the customers’ current situation,” he said.

Hughes explains that Bridon-Bekaert can do this because they are both a local manufacturer and because they draw on the global experience of the business.

“In certain applications such as mining we provide the technical leadership globally, but for other applications we will draw on our main strength which is our global footprint and our position in the market. Our business globally has a vast amount of experience and industry experts.”

“We can be running similar applications in South America through to the North Sea and this enables us to draw on our experiences and the performance of our ropes in numerous applications. We have testimonials include some of the world’s largest mining companies, including BHP, Glencore, Anglo American and Yancoal,” said Reed.

Hughes role is based around technical solutions. “I typically get involved with projects at the specification level and at
a trouble shooting level. I am involved

if the customer is looking to achieve better performance in a certain rope application or if there is a problem.
I will visit and assess the customer’s application and devise a rope strategy that is going to minimise the customers cost associated with ropes,” Hughes said.

Hughes explains how this is achieved and what the end result can look like for a customer.

“The biggest differentiator between Bridon-Bekaert and other rope companies, is that we will spend the time to do the analysis, whether that’s during the pre-installation phase or through trial or post life analysis, carefully manage each step throughout the design and manufacturing process of the rope to ensure it is right first time. Let’s say there has been a troublesome part in the ropes’ life on the crane or in the mine, we’ll design the rope around combatting that as opposed to enforcing customers to change the way they operate. This can apply to a reeving system or a winch, we’ll try our best to adapt a rope to make it work in the customers’ current situation,” he said.

Hughes explains that Bridon-Bekaert can do this because they are both a local manufacturer and because they draw on the global experience of the business.

“In certain applications such as mining we provide the technical leadership globally, but for other applications we will draw on our main strength which is our global footprint and our position in the market. Our business globally has a vast amount of experience and industry experts.”

“We can be running similar applications in South America through to the North Sea and this enables us to draw on our experiences and the performance of our ropes in numerous applications. We have testimonials and real world examples of our ropes performance. Our level of service is a big differentiator for our customers,” said Hughes.

Reed goes on to explain how Bridon- Bekaert services the local industry sectors.

“From the Australian markets’ perspective, we have the wire rope manufacturing facility in Newcastle.
This employs over 100 people, we manufacture rope, pendants and
strand for the Australian and select international markets. Traditionally,
the Australian business focused on manufacturing rope and pendants greater than 40mm in diameter to service the surface mining sector”.

“We are proudly the world leaders in this market sector from a technology and performance perspective. Our wire is sourced locally from InfraBuild Wire who are literally down the road from our facility. Our primary points of difference are our in-house engineering team and the Technical people that are embedded into our customers mining operations. The engineering team lead the process from design right through to post life analysis. They also oversee the manufacturing facilities QA and the operations of our 300t test bed. The objective is to ensure our customers have the Total Lowest Cost of ownership associated with the ropes.,” said Reed

Hughes explains the growth plan.
“To continue to grow and diversify our business we recently installed equipment that is capable of cutting, terminating, testing and inspecting ropes less than 50mm in diameter. These ropes are sourced from Bridon-Bekaert Plants globally and stocked in Newcastle in our Service Centre. Now from one facility, we can offer a complete range of products covering the birth to the death of the wire ropes,” Hughes said.

Hughes explains the relevance of the development specifically to the crane sector.

“We are the OEM for some of the largest crane manufactures in the world and we are targeting the crane sector with these new services. Our services
are ideal for businesses running large fleets of cranes and for the management of these businesses that see a need for consistent high performance rope. This expertise is backed by local technical support available at any given moment.”

“We will be working closely with our partners to help enhance the performance of the wire ropes,” he said.

Hughes explains what a heavy lift and shift businesses can expect from Bridon-Bekaert, with a renewed focus on the sector, and how they will engage and what levels of service to expect.

“We engage customers through our network of key business partners; they are our feet on the ground. We aim to offer the technical support to help our partners and ultimately to encourage end users to better utilise our services and global expertise. This will help them reach peak performance with their assets.”

Hughes elaborates more on the latest initiative recently launched by Bridon- Bekaert, the Service Centre.

“Bridon-Bekaert has Service Centre locations strategically placed globally, our team identified Australia as being the next expansion opportunity. The market and our distribution network have been asking for access to cut and terminate rope across the full diameter range.”

“There is definitely an increase in confidence in the market place, once a manufacturer cuts, terminates, tests and delivers their own rope. Our Service Centre is world class with a high level of automation, including a 1000t Talurit press, a Talurit annealing machine, take- up and pay off. In our opinion it’s the safest and the smartest Service Centre of its kind globally,” he said.

Hughes explains what the new Service Centre adds to the business proposition from Bridon-Bekaert and its key network.

“What we were unable to do before is cutting, terminating and testing ‘in house’, less than 50mm in diameter, so the new Service Centre provides our network with a fall-back position for when they might not have the stock and when they don’t have the availability to cut and terminate in their satellite facilities, we can now do that.”

Centre adds to the business proposition from Bridon-Bekaert and its key network.

“What we were unable to do before is cutting, terminating and testing ‘in house’, less than 50mm in diameter,
so the new Service Centre provides our network with a fall-back position for when they might not have the stock and when they don’t have the availability
to cut and terminate in their satellite facilities, we can now do that.”

“For our critical off-shore oil & gas customers if they get into trouble and they are not producing, it can cost incredible amounts of money in lost production. They can now have the confidence that we can get ropes turned around in hours or by the next day and sent to their key asset,” he said.

“We weren’t able to do this before. We could hold full reels but the Service Centre provides us with full flexibility across our full range of Bridon- Bekaert high performance products,” said Hughes.

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