Bulk Equipment, Ports

Page Macrae Engineering: Guiding industry

Page Macrae Engineering, now with a full-time presence in Australia to support its significant port products footprint, has been touring across the country, engaging with ports and stevedores. ABHR finds out what it has learned.

Page Macrae Engineering, now with a full-time presence in Australia to support its significant port products footprint, has been touring across the country, engaging with ports and stevedores. ABHR finds out what it has learned.

Environmental protection authorities across Australia are currently reviewing air quality and dust emission level regulations

For bulk handling ports, this puts a limiter on dust emissions. Not only does dust pose a risk to those within the industry, but it can also pollute the environment and lead to significant fines for non-compliance.

Peter Swan, general manager of sales and marketing at Page Macrae Engineering, said the industry is aware of the issue and are proactively seeking out best practice and the latest technology equipment to minimise the effects of handling dusty materials.

“It’s not just dust – the industry is also looking into the likes of non-transport diesel emission reduction,” he said.

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Regular engagement with clients is the backbone of the company’s development problem. Feedback from clients and regulatory authorities is incorporated into Page Macrae’s designs to ensure they are meeting the needs of industry. 

Areas such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulators ‘Chain of Responsibility’ legislation, has seen the need to use product innovation for client transport operations to stay within the weight regulations but ensure they are maximising load efficiency, both of which affect cost and risk.

“We already have products out there helping to reduce dust emissions, and we’re hearing more from our customers that there is pressure to improve efficiency, safety and sustainability,” Swan said.

Charles Hennessy, the company’s business development manager for Australia, is supporting this ambition. His role not only supports Page Macrae’s products with spares now stocked within Australia to minimise client’s downtime, but he is also the eyes and ears on the ground where the clients’ challenges and opportunities are concerned.

He told ABHR that every port has its own characteristics and needs.

“It’s important to understand the pain points they’re facing,” Hennessy said. “Within reason, we can tailor solutions for their specific circumstances.”

Some ports may specialise in specific materials, which is why Page Macrae has designed its equipment to service several sectors. Its equipment can be designed to handle soda ash, fertiliser, grains, coal, critical minerals like nickel and lead concentrates, and logs.

Material handling can carry safety risk and many ports are looking to improve safety as much as possible.

Page Macrae was invited to help C3, a forestry-aligned logistics company, improve its log handling operations. The business wanted to take people away from a potentially dangerous location on site through automation.

Following the installation of automated log grapples, C3 would go on to be nominated for the NZ Workplace Health & Safety Awards.

Jan Augustyn, C3’s general manager for business performance improvement, said they are making a difference is in ship-side safety.

“They are removing additional people next to the vessel and thus providing a safer environment with less interaction of machines and personnel, also less risk of falling logs and reduction of Cranston related issues of hand and finger pinch points,” Augustyn said.

Swan said it was a great example of how Page Macrae can solve its client’s challenges. It had also demonstrated the benefits of automation – a technology the company is looking to further incorporate into its designs.

“We are investing heavily into research and development, expanding our innovation team with a focus on innovation and automation,” he said.

“Clients are requesting it – they want smarter machinery that can let them know what’s going on to improve decision making.”

Page Macrae has also embraced technology and innovation in its own manufacturing, moving certain operations to robotic welding. The business is currently engaged in business improvement studies to optimise its range of processes.

Swan said that by changing the way the company thinks about its manufacturing, it can lead to faster, easier to handle and more sustainable machinery.

“It’s looking bright for us – it’s a fantastic landscape to be involved in and we’re engaging with customers on so many levels,” he said.

“Everyone is facing a changing landscape, but we are well-placed with our industry knowledge and experience to guide them.” 

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