Tuesday 30th Nov, 2021

Keeping the neighbours happy

New Zealand-based Page Macrae Engineering is hearing a common theme in the challenges port operators are facing with the overlapping of boundary interests impacting on their operations.

New Zealand-based Page Macrae Engineering is hearing a common theme in the challenges port operators are facing with the overlapping of boundary interests impacting on their operations.

It’s a situation common for many industrial ports. When they were initially developed decades ago, the sites were greenfield areas. However, as development sprawls outwards, the sites soon find themselves with new neighbours.

Often, this brings with it, environmental concerns, with environmental protection agencies around the world looking to reduce the amount of dust emissions released.

Peter Swan, the General Manager for Sales and Marketing at Page Macrae Engineering, says a pain point for ports is the need to maintain, if not improve, their productivity whilst operating within those parameters.

“There’s a clear need for efficiency gains in the industry, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the disruptions it has caused,” he says.

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“Whether it’s bulk materials or twenty-foot equivalent unit containers, there are unprecedented quantities of ships waiting to get into the ports all over the world.  These delays can come at a significant financial cost to multiple stakeholders.

On the bulk material side, to ensure efficient port discharge operations and avoid loss of product from wind carry off and spillage during the ship to shore transfer, effective solutions are required.

Based around their client’s challenges, Page Macrae has developed a new product range that aims to address these pain points – a great example of this is the new EDG hydraulic grab. The grab range has been designed to provide as much flexibility as possible, as customers can configure the capacity of the grabs to suit the type of material being handled.

If a change in product or capacity is advantageous in the future, these changes are as simple as purchasing the new buckets and fitting to the existing grab head.

The buckets have also been designed with a focus on dust and material containment. Dust control covers minimise dust emissions into the air and bucket seal system prevents spillage onto the wharf, enabling the port to keep its operation clean without impacting productivity.

Bruce Ennis, Port Products Solutions BDM at Page Macrae Engineering, says we are evaluating the global focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and how our future products can meet this challenge.

“To improve the system’s energy efficiency, we’ve optimised our new grabs digging geometry which has seen an increase in performance and a reduction in energy requirements,” he says.

“A lot of work has gone into the geometry of the grab operation to ensure the most efficient and economical outcomes are achieved.”

“Providing quality is what drives us. Our target market appreciates robust equipment with a long life. Case in point is our range of log lifters. The first one we ever made is still in the field operating as productively as when it was used for the first time 20 years ago”

While Page Macrae Engineering’s head office is based in New Zealand, it has equipment in most major ports around Australia. With such a large international customer base, its staff are constantly on the move, visiting sites and customers.

Prior to COVID-19, the company’s staff spent as much time as possible in Australia, having one on one conversations with operators about the problems they were struggling with.

Swan says these conversations were incredibly valuable to Page Macrae Engineering, as they helped shape the future development of its products.

“To take our client support to the next level, we are now launching a full-time presence in Australia. This in county presence will take the form of a Port Operations manager who will facilitate our product and operating spares in a timely, efficient manner, support our product commissioning efforts along with new product sales and development he says.