Motors, gears, and drives

SEW-Eurodrive’s new service facility in Newcastle is a boon for the region

With an annual output of $42.6 billion, Newcastle is a regional powerhouse with resources and manufacturing driving the local industry

With an annual output of $42.6 billion, Newcastle is a regional powerhouse with resources and manufacturing driving the local industry. It thus made sound business sense for SEW Eurodrive to construct a Heavy Industrial Gears Service and Repair Centre in Tomago which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2023. Situated 16 km from Newcastle Port, the new facility will serve a range of sectors including manufacturing, resources, bulk materials handling and large conveyor systems used for shipping and export.

Built with an investment of $8 million, SEW-Eurodrive’s new 2700m2 purpose-built state of the art facility will primarily Service and Repair SEW Eurodrive’s and other original manufacturer’s heavy industrial gear units. The expansive 2400m2 of service-dedicated floor space will house specialised and bespoke disassembly and assembly equipment including a wash bay, high capacity lifting cranes and a painting line. The facility is also supported by a tailor-made load test cell. The remaining 300m2 is dedicated to office space for engineering and support staff.

Over the past few years, SEW Eurodrive has been progressively bringing its OEM knowledge to the market and offering that for non-SEW products as well. The local engineering team when required, can call on support from other SEW Eurodrive engineering resources in Australia and abroad. “As a premium global supplier of drive technology products and services, we are renowned for being close to our customers, wherever they are in the world,” said Robert Justice, Regional Development Manager, SEW-Eurodrive.

To underline the dedication to the surrounding industry the Newcastle facility is supported with two heavy lifting bays fitted with four large-capacity gantry cranes which can be loaded in tandem to boost the total lifting capacity to 40 tonnes per bay. “We’ve built the facility to handle some of the largest equipment,” Justice said. “With a hook height of approximately eight metres, we can drive in a truck loaded with an extra-large piece of equipment, lift it off and quickly set it up for service.”

Similar to its established Mackay Service Centre the Newcastle facility also houses a Load Testing Cell that is rapidly developing into the industry’s expectation for new and remanufactured heavy industrial equipment. “Once the gear units are reassembled, operation-critical units can go into the load test cell and be tested up to 100 percent of its torque rating, up to 500kW; to ensure the bearing, gears and all other drive train components are free of defects and vibration,” Justice said. “So, the quality of the gear unit can be confirmed and documented before it goes back to the customer, regardless of whether it’s been serviced or remanufactured.”

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SEW-Eurodrive’s newest addition to its service offering is fitted with dedicated and bespoke equipment that is the cornerstone in providing service and remanufacturing capabilities for not only proprietary but also industrial gear units originally manufactured by others.

“Without specialised equipment and engineering knowledge, other service businesses may find it challenging to provide the same diversity in servicing large industrial gear units,” Justice said. “Even if a non-SEW Eurodrive gear unit fails or simply requires service, we can reengineer, remanufacture, test and supply a unit that’s been rebuilt to meet or surpass the original specifications.”

Aside from an environmentally friendly wash bay, an extra-large filtered spray booth is dedicated to repainting serviced gear units. This makes the facility a real one-stop shop.

Through its service offering of non-SEW Eurodrive equipment, we are working on building strong relationships with customers, so when gear units reach the end of their effective service life, SEW Eurodrive could be a logical replacement. “There is a massive installed base of gear units in the region which are often inadequately supported by their original manufacturers,” Justice said. The company also offers drop-in solutions for legacy gearing units that are sometimes obsolete. “With today’s technology, we can provide units that have identical crucial dimensions supported by torque densities far greater than what they were 50 or 60 years ago.”

The new facility will also support the development of local talent and boost ancillary industries in the region. “We’re already actively participating with local industry groups such as HunterNet and have begun forming strong relationships with similar industry groups,” Justice said. “Customers, vendors, researchers and entrepreneurs in the area now have greater access to SEW Eurodrive expertise and this will help foster the development of advanced manufacturing, automation and Industry 4.0 in the region,” he said.

In addition to the Mackay and Newcastle service centres a third heavy industrial gear service facility is scheduled to open in Adelaide within the next 12 months. The company has been increasingly building its capabilities in Australia since inception and in 2012, SEW Eurodrive heavily invested in components and equipment to set up a 10,000m2 heavy industrial solutions assembly facility in Melbourne. This is in addition to existing service and assembly centres in Melbourne, Mackay, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

The company has an extensive range of products and views service support as a key differentiator in the market. “We go from servicing the smallest to largest gear unit,” Justice said. “SEW Eurodrive is really in a unique position of being able to offer dedicated assembly facilities for new products, well supported by industry-leading service centres around Australia.”

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