Friday 1st Jul, 2022

Sumitomo: the driving force of reliability

Sumitomo Drive Technologies’s drives are designed to withstand some of the toughest conditions that Australian heavy industry can throw at it.

Sumitomo Drive Technologies’s drives are designed to withstand some of the toughest conditions that Australian heavy industry can throw at it.

Nick Tamke is the maintenance supervisor at Penrice Quarry and Mineral, in South Australia. Like many working in heavy industry, his plant is under heavy strain from the elements.

Penrice Quarry has 15 Sumitomo Drive Technology drives on site, and almost all the equipment is outdoors – unprotected from the environment – leaving the conveyors to withstand the harsh elements.

Dust, moisture and ultraviolet light are just some of the foes that potentially threaten the system. On top of that, the equipment is on average running around 18 hours a day.

Durability in these situations is key, which is something that Sumitomo Drive Technology specialises in.

The company has more than 300 years of experience working in the mining industry in Japan, and designs its equipment to provide rugged reliability.

Tamke says the quarry has been using Sumitomo drives for more than 18 years and are tough enough to handle the harsh environments.

“We have some drives that are old and are still working fine, and have since been overhauled several times,” he says.

“They’ve handled the conditions well. We have a strict maintenance policy and carry complete spare units, which lets us catch on to any issues quickly.

“We also work closely with our local Sumitomo dealership, who help us if there are ever any issues. They’ve been great and give us excellent support and advice.”

Sumitomo’s drives can be found in the Australian mining, grain handling, cement, food and beverage, and recycling industries to name a few.

Wayne Glynn-Roe is a Senior Operator at SUEZ ResourceCo’s Wingfield, South Australia site. The facility accepts commercial, industrial and demolition waste which is sorted and processed.

The remaining material is then used as an alternative fuel in place of foil fuel (gas) in the kilns of Adelaide Brighton Cement.

The operation creates significant amounts of debris, which can settle on the Sumitomo units and block the airflow to the drive unit fans to cool the motor.

Glynn-Roe says it doesn’t matter how wet the product is, as soon as it gets ground up, debris is created.

“Moisture is critical in reference to our product quality in which we must control,” he says. 

“Debris can try to break through drive unit seals and damage the unit, which is why we need to make sure our drive units can last under the harsh conditions here.”

Similarly, Sumitomo’s drives have been at the site for longer than Glynn-Roe has – they were installed when he began working there more than nine years ago.

“We’ve had other types of drives at the plant as we have upgraded, but none have managed to last as long as the Sumitomo ones,” Glynn-Roe says.

“They’re also easy to maintain and rarely ever leak, meaning we don’t have many breakdowns – all they need is a regular oil change.

“They’re also easily replaced, and it is easy to turn a left-hand drive into a right-hand one or vice versa by simply turning a few arrangements around, which means we don’t have to carry as many spare units in the stores.

The company’s drives are available in a wide range of sizes. Its wide torque range can provide for forces from 24Nm to 736 KNm, while its wide ratio coverage includes 6:1 to 658,503:1.

Robert Proietti, Managing Director of Sumitomo Drive Technologies, says they can provide a gearbox for any application.

“From the smallest of the small for a weigh station, to a multi megawatt conveyor application.”

“We’re driven by the market and carry a significant amount of stock to react to customer demands. We can have a geared motor ready in one to two days and can deliver gearboxes within weeks,” he says.