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RKM’s Perth facility delivers rewards for customers

RKM Roller Company’s Perth site has bolstered its service for clients seeking fast turnarounds and custom-made rollers.

Opening a manufacturing and warehouse facility in Perth has proven to be a prudent plan for the RKM International Roller Company.

The facility emerged as Australia and the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. It blew out shipping deadlines and made importing a headache for most in the bulk-handling industry, including RKM.

“There was always an idea to have a Perth factory. We used to miss out on some work because customers couldn’t wait and needed quick delivers to service applications,” RKM International Roller Company director Brett Maiden said.

“When COVID came, it gave us an opportunity to start up the factory and better support our customers as well as target those other customers who needed a quick turnaround.”

“It has helped immensely especially in being able to offer short turnarounds and quick deliveries.”

RKM’s Perth facility, located on Orchard Road in Maddington, enabled the company to tackle the long lead times and shipping turnarounds plaguing many bulk-handling operators during the pandemic.

RKM also has a manufacturing site in DongGuan, China, which also manufactures RKM’s portfolio of steel and composite rollers and accessories.

Maiden said the two manufacturing sites, one in Western Australia and one in China, enabled greater choice for customers.

“Sometimes you haven’t calculated enough rollers for a shutdown, or you’ll realise you’re short on rollers and need a fast turnaround for rollers, which is why we started manufacturing in Perth,” Maiden said.

“Having both factories gives us the opportunity to offer flexible pricing. It is a bit more economical from our China factory due to the scale they produce at, but if the client can’t wait, Perth can deliver it faster.

“It allows us to assist with the customer’s needs with either a quick manufacturing option or the cheaper option pricing wise.”

RKM Roller’s Perth manufacturing base can make and deliver parts within two weeks while the delivery from the company’s Chinese headquarters is around eight weeks.

From full-length shafts, steel tubing and composite tubing (up to 2.3 metres), RKM Roller Company can manufacture for all applications from lightweight grain and quarrying mix through to iron ore and gold mining.

RKM uses fully automatic milling machines for shaft slots, and semi-automatic machines for shaft and Tube cutting, while CNC machines are used for bearing housings, shaft journals and circlips. Purpose built press machines are used for the fitting of housing to tube, seal kits and cover caps to allow for precision fitment.

“The factory is fully equipped to make anything from scratch,” Maiden said.

“Customers can provide a basic sketch or drawing and then our drafting team will provide a detailed drawing, We can also do a full design review on the roller from a profile and data sheet, we can design a roller and bearing solution for the customer.

“This helps limit failures because it has been under-designed and ensures the customer is receiving a quality product.”

RKM stocks a wide range of conveyor components at its Perth warehouse, including off-the-shelf rollers and stock for its supply contracts. The company stocks from 600 belt widths up to 1500 for stock standard roller solutions but also stocks an array of shafts, tubing, seal kits, bearings, and housings to make application-specific solutions.

RKM’s Perth facility, located in Maddington. Image: RKM International Roller Company

Maiden said this lets a customer receive replacement parts quickly.

“If it isn’t on the shelf, or they need more than the stock provided, or it’s a special design part, we will make it,” Maiden said.

“We have a wide range to be able to meet what everyone wants.”

The heavy-duty composite roller and low-noise steel rollers are among RKM Rollers’ most popular products and can be manufactured in Perth.

The heavy-duty composite roller was created in collaboration with Wagners. Together, they developed a heavy-duty, lightweight composite tube suitable for handling some of the highest-duty cycles.

It weighs around half as much as a traditional steel roller but maintains the strength and durability to handle heavy-duty applications like iron ore mining.

The roller uses the company’s RS seal package and is also equipped with a primary heavy-duty nylon protective outer dual labyrinth shield. The shield provides additional protection against contaminant ingress and eliminates rock jamming.

Dynamic balancing machines are used by RKM to ensure the rollers meet AS3709 G16 and achieve the best possible total indicated rollout (TIR) and maximum instantaneous slope (MIS). 

The company has also witnessed uptake for its heavy-duty cast poly disc return rollers.

The cast-poly disc returns reduce the risk of belt damage due to carryback on belts. Compared to a steel return, which can rip expensive belting when worn away, the poly disc roller can be made with a hollow shaft to make a lighter alternative.

“The steel roller or return roller, if it is allowed to be worn through, can damage the belting which is expensive,” Maiden said.

“The composite roller is able to stay there until maintenance can be performed, and it will just wear itself down rather than damage the belt.”

The composite tube can handle extreme heat when it becomes worn down and will not melt or dissipate the heat from the wearing area, unlike plastic type rollers.

RKM Rollers’ success in recent years has opened a possible move to larger new Perth premises to handle customer demand. The level of demand has seen RKM effectively open a second warehouse for stock recently.

Maiden said the company estimated the move would occur in the next 12 to 18 months.

“What we’ll probably be looking at in the future is amalgamating those two warehouse premises and the factory into one larger premises,” Maiden said. 

“We want to service our customers and we want to make sure we’re servicing the clients we’ve got and other potential customers as best we can.”

To see more about RKM International Roller Company, see the website.

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