Monday 16th Dec, 2019

LINAK protects local farm equipment builder’s brand

To live up to its customers high standards for safety and efficiency, Brookfield has implemented LINAK linear actuators on its remote-controlled OmniBin technology.

To live up to its customers high standards for safety and efficiency, Brookfield has implemented LINAK linear actuators on its remote-controlled OmniBin technology.

Australian farms are consolidating and reallocating resources from smaller, less efficient farms as they transition to larger scale operations, according to ANZ’s The track ahead report.

The research, released in November 2018, found that while increasing the scale of farming operations had led to increased productivity, 62 per cent of the agricultural output since 1995-96 could be attributed to these enterprises having greater access to technology.

Steven Wallace is the Research and Development Manager at Brookfield, which designs high-end agricultural equipment for such farms. He explains that this target market is one that is prepared to pay for quality, so it is important anything they sell can live up to their high standards.

“When it comes to components, we need to make sure we’re buying the best to protect our brand,” Mr Wallace says.

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“We have a money-back guarantee, meaning we will provide a complete refund for our customers if any of our machines don’t perform to the standard they expect.

“This industry has a lot of respect for brands they have come to trust, which is why we want to offer that level of certainty.”

As such, Brookfield decided to use actuators from Danish equipment manufacturer LINAK (short for Lineær Aktuator) for its OmniBin.

The OmniBin is a commodity bin used for handling seed and fertiliser at sowing time, stock feed and general grain handling, including to silos, during the harvest. Actuators are used to open and close the doors on the underside of the OmniBin, allowing the grain to flow freely onto a variable-speed conveyor belt.

Mr Wallace says the alternative for a bin is to use a tipper trailer, which can present potential safety risks.

“Tip trucks are great, but on uneven ground like a paddock, it can be easy for them to roll over,” he says.

“Not only does that risk damage to equipment but has a higher chance of people getting hurt. Farm accidents can be dangerous, and safety is a major consideration for the bigger farmers.”

Safety is one of the key benefits of the LINAK actuators. Previously, operating a mobile grain bin would have been a multiple-person operation as most of the control systems were manual.

Not only did this lead to increased labour, but also meant there were more risks involved in operating the machinery. Operators would potentially need to be closer to moving parts, which can result in pinching or falls.

“Some people were using hydraulic rams to do the job,” Mr Wallace says. “But these are expensive and can be difficult to run.

“Not only that, but you have to include pumps and oil tanks which just adds more costs, just to get the doors to open automatically.”

LINAK’s actuators have allowed the OmniBin to be controlled remotely, removing much of the moving parts on the machine and making it easier to operate.

In addition, they have also been designed specifically for grain handling. Each actuator is a compact system that is certified to work in very dusty environments for years, has durable components with no leakage or weak spots, and are energy efficient.

There are no hoses, pumps or compressors, which means no chance of spilt oil or need for maintenance. Included within the actuator is intelligent technology that can help monitor and adjust doors and valves remotely.

Mr Wallace says the simplicity of the actuators are their greatest asset.

“They’re easy to use – there’s nothing complex about them. It makes them great to maintain and easy to explain to our customers,” he says.

Overall the feedback has been very positive, Mr Wallace adds. Customers usually report being very happy with their purchase, often citing the OmniBin’s remote control operation making processes easier and more efficient.

“We haven’t had anyone sell one because they didn’t like it. From an actuator perspective, we’ve used hundreds and hundreds, and I can count on one hand how many have come back for repair.”

When Brookfield was looking to implement more features on the OmniBin, LINAK’s technicians visited the company to discuss potential additions.

Mr Wallace says LINAK operates more like a business partner than just a supplier and is quick to offer professional support.

“When assembling the OmniBins, if something doesn’t seem right with an actuator, all I have to do is get on the phone to LINAK and they’ll send me a new one straight away,” he says.