Leading wire rope manufacturer Bridon Bekaert, the Ropes Group (BBRG) recently installed a state-of-the-art service centre in its Newcastle manufacturing facility. The service centre is designed to further extend Bridon Bekaert’s ability to deliver its range of high-performance wire rope products and services to the Australian market.
Stuart Coxon is the Technical Accounts Manager. He provides the background to the Service Centre and how it is designed to address changing market demands.
“Over the past years, Bridon Bekaert has seen a change in the demand for high performance wire ropes in the market. The trend has moved away from the rope manufacturer providing full reels of wire rope, towards a more specific requirement for cut rope lengths, rope assemblies with tested certified terminations and other special requirements. This trend, at least in part, has been driven by the significant cost associated with stocking a range of different rope construction types and diameters,” said Coxon.
When the business case for a service centre in Australia was presented to the BBRG chief sales and marketing officer, Luc Godefroid and the Australian lead team, the response was very positive says Coxon.
“The proposal received the full support of the BBRG local and global executive lead teams and the planning began for our new world class service centre at the BBRG manufacturing plant in Mayfield NSW.
“There is always a high confidence within the market when a manufacturer cuts, terminates, tests and delivers their own rope. BBRG has over 300 years of international industry experience and this has led to our position as the world’s leading rope manufacturer. We know ropes. With Australian and global knowledge to draw from, our customers can be assured they are getting the right rope for their application.
“When our customers engage BBRG they can expect the highest level of professionalism, advice and service. You are dealing with the OEM, who manufacturers the rope, performs the testing and quality assurance. Now, we have the capabilities to cut, terminate and proof load an extended range of high-performance ropes.
“We can proudly say the new BBRG service centre is a world-class Australian first. We assembled a team including industry subject matter experts, mechanical/electrical engineers and experienced plant operators. Together the team has ensured the facility is fully compliant with all the relevant Australian Standards,” he said.
No expense has been spared when it comes to the safety of the new plant and equipment. Examples of this include the custom LED light curtains that act as exclusion zones, an overhead hi- resolution camera and TV screen which allow our operators to monitor machine speeds, rope length, guiding and back tension on the rope, all with a live view.
Other key safety features built into the service centre include:
- All new plant and machinery comply with AS4024 – Safety of Machinery
- The press and winding lines are controlled using a Siemens PLC’s (programmable logic controller). All safety functions are controlled and monitored by a separate and dedicated safety PLC.
- The winding line uses perimeter guarding and custom designed light curtains to manage operator access to the rotating equipment. The take-up loading gate is interlocked to the machinery and locked using PLC controlled electric solenoid gate locks. The custom light curtain system allows the rope to pass through, but will e-stop the line if an operator breaks it whilst in service.
- Both the 10t pay-off and take-up have safety rated encoders on the drive shaft which monitor the
speed of rotation. The pay-off also has ultrasonic distance sensors to measure the how much rope is on a reel. This is used to limit the speed of rotation to ensure the brake can stop a reel rotating in 0.8 seconds, which is the time calculated in which a person could potentially breach the light curtain and engage the hazard.
The facility is designed around a Lock Out system that is used to isolate individual machines or the whole facility for various operational and maintenance activities.
- Two electric winches and an overhead chain hoist have been installed to reduce manual handling of ropes. One is on the winding line and is remote control operated to assist with paying off large ropes. The other is on the 1000t press and is used to assist with the setup of large ropes for the swaging operation.
It also features a Talurit AV45 annealing machine to fuse and taper rope ends complete with a mobile fume extraction unit. A Talurit 1000t swaging press with aluminium and steel swage die sets, a 150t Talurit tensile proof loading test bed, heavy-duty pneumatic belt style rope counter, mobile socketing stations and a cleaning and re-lubrication machine for rope inspection and maintenance.
“This Service Centre has been designed to be efficient, productive, safe and reliable. BBRG have a number Service Centres around the globe and we have leveraged their experiences
to build this state-of the art service centre,” said Coxon.
“Simply put, the new facility allows us to provide the Australian market with a complete range of Bridon Bekeart’s High-Performance Rope products, whether it be a cut length of rope, a manufactured assembly with a certified end termination or a bulk reel. Our customers can be assured this product offering is fully supported by a local and global team of wire rope professionals,” he said.