Measure twice, build once: Kinder’s mechanical engineering improves productivity

Kinder Australia has equipped its mechanical engineering team with specialised software to design systems with superior productivity and safety offerings.

Kinder Australia has equipped its mechanical engineering team with specialised software to design systems with superior productivity and safety offerings.

Problems in mechanical conveyors can start off as minor issues, but can quickly escalate to frequent, unscheduled downtime.

Flaws in a system’s design can lead to efficiency and safety issues, such as material spillage and dust emissions, which have hefty associated costs.

With profitability expectations and continuous productivity deliverables becoming more common in the bulk materials handling industry, ensuring a site is productive is even more important.

Often, the key to unlocking this productivity is found in the initial plant design. This is why Kinder Australia’s mechanical engineering specialists are equipped with dedicated technology to provide comprehensive recommendations on conveyor systems, accessories and lining materials.

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The company has invested in the conveyor engineering and design software Helix, SolidWorks and AutoCAD, which gives Kinder’s engineers the tools to create 2D layout drawings and 3D models.

Kinder’s engineering team, headed by Cameron Portelli, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Bradley Owen, Mechanical Engineer and Jack Cain, Undergraduate Mechanical Engineer, are trained to handle end-to-end processes that focus on productivity and safety.

Mr Portelli says the team can solve complex problems with precision, backed up with engineering qualifications and specialist tools.

“The use of SolidWorks has really streamlined our product development process,” he says. “Innovative, detailed and customised conveyor componentry designs generated to solve our customers’ everyday problems can now be fast-tracked with ease and efficiency.”

SolidWorks can also perform simulation finite element analysis, allowing the engineering team to accurately predict and design new products, testing how they would work in a real-life scenario. From there, the company’s engineers can analyse and optimise designs for further productivity improvements.

Helix is used when developing new full-scale conveyor componentry projects or troubleshooting existing programs. The software can potentially reduce costs and increase production of a design by helping the customer define more accurate specifications and requirements.

For example, if the system is designed, commissioned and installed to be larger than actually required, it can lead to higher initial and ongoing maintenance costs. On the other hand, if a system is underspecified, it can become overloaded and will be more likely to underperform, fail and experience bottlenecks.

With Helix, Kinder’s engineers provide comprehensive mechanical conveyor advice, helping customers select the right equipment for idlers, pulleys and shafts. Additionally, the engineers can calculate conveyor pulley and idler shaft dimensions, idler bearing lift and shaft deflection, and the size requirements for pulleys and drives to minimise capital expense and spares holding cost.

Neil Kinder, CEO of Kinder Australia, says the overall conveyor design and componentry can be checked with Helix software, to ensure the correct product application and design duty is in place.

“For our customer base spanning a multitude of bulk materials handling industries and applications, this expertise is crucial,” he says.

Mr Kinder adds that the company has customer networks on an international, national and local level.

By working closely in the field with its material handling customers, such as site managers, reliability engineers and plant supervisors, Kinder’s engineering team gains valuable insights on mechanical, maintenance and safety issues seen across the sector.

“This knowledge of on-site intricacies has inspired ideas for future engineering designs and innovations,” Mr Portelli says.

“The future is bright, with our team set to grow and take on highly technical custom projects, as well as the potential to design and install complete conveyor systems for our diverse customer base.”

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