Sunday 9th May, 2021

Tradition drives Sumitomo

The Sumitomo Corporation was founded on the principles of prudence, and sound management. ABHR speaks to Robert Proietti and Wayne Dunstan to learn how these values affect its bulk handling offering.

The Sumitomo Corporation was founded on the principles of prudence, and sound management. ABHR speaks to Robert Proietti and Wayne Dunstan to learn how these values affect its bulk handling offering.


The Sumitomo Corporation can trace its lineage back more than 400 years ago, when Masatomo Sumitomo opened a book and medicine shop in Kyoto.

During his time, Masatomo wrote a document called ‘Monjuin Shiigaki (Founder’s Precepts),’ which described how a merchant should conduct business.

In his writings, Masatomo emphasises the importance of honesty, prudence, and sound management to develop a trustworthy character rather than just pursuing money making endeavours.

The company soon grew, and entered into the copper mining business, opening the Besshi Copper Mine after obtaining permission from the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1691. The Besshi Copper Mine continued operations for 283 years, forming the backbone of Sumitomo’s business.

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Robert Proietti, Managing Director of Sumitomo Hansen, says the company still follows the founder’s principles of honour and respect, working to provide reliable and long-lasting mechanical equipment to its customers.

“We provide quality products and innovative solutions to help our customers solve their complex challenges,” Proietti says.

“Australian heavy industry needed a rugged, gear box solution for its heavy-duty applications. The Cyclo Drive is designed specifically for the bulk handling industry, capable of withstanding shock loads of up to 500 per cent, the highest in the industry.”

Cyclo drives don’t use a traditional gear design, instead they use cycloidal discs that operate in compression rather than shear, creating a smooth, rolling movement to eliminate tooth breakage.

Proietti says the design also spreads the load across two thirds of the reduction components, enabling the units to absorb and dissipate shock better than a typical concentric drive.

Wayne Dunstan, National Product Manager at Sumitomo Hansen, says another benefit of the Cyclo is its extreme longevity.

“In high-impact applications, the Cyclo outlasts the traditional gear type boxes,” he says. “Its durability reduces replacement intervals, reducing the amount of money and time spent during scheduled downtime. Often we have found the Cyclo Drive exceeds lifespan expectations.”

Over time, the Cyclo design has been modified and updated, to provide greater power from a smaller footprint. While popular in the bulk handling industry, the drives can be found in Australian timber mills, food manufacturing facilities and robotic technology.

Included in the Cyclo range is the Buddybox family of mid-size gear reducers and gear motors. The Buddybox input uses a cycloidal design to provide increased durability and reliability when compared to traditional bevel-helical gearboxes, enduring shock loads of up to 350 per cent.

Sumitomo Hansen also manufactures Paramax industrial gearboxes. These come in medium to large-sized bevel and helical combinations and use a compact design with a high dedendum strength.

The helical shaft mounted (HSM) speed reducer is one of the most popular products in the company’s portfolio, with more than one million units sold globally. The HSM can be used in conjunction with a motor mount, backstop, torque arm, belt guard, belts, breathers, sheaves and harsh duty seals, locally engineered to suit every application.

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.

“On any bulk site, we’ve got a gearbox for any application,” Proietti said. “From the smallest of the small for a weigh station, to a multi megawatt conveyor applications and everything in between.”

“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.

For larger projects, Sumitomo Hansen provides in-house engineering consulting to determine the best product for the drive application. The company takes advantage of its global network, utilising engineering expertise from Singapore, Japan and Belgium.

This engineering has seen the company invest into designing and creating smarter, more connected Industry 4.0 technology to improve its material handling offering. It is part of Sumitomo’s guiding philosophy, penned centuries ago, to pursue the best interest of its customers through reliable equipment.