Pilbara drives Flender Australia’s WA expansion

With more than 1200 drives installed in the Western Australian mining market, Flender Australia is expanding with a new, purpose-built facility.

In the Pilbara region of Western Australia, it’s not uncommon for summer temperatures to exceed 45 Celsius degrees.

On top of this, the red dust and abrasive ferrous product common in the iron-rich region is often fine and can interfere with machinery.

These conditions are what Flender’s SA and SE model of conveyor belt drives are made for.

Flender’s head of sales Joe Bruford explains the drives are designed to operate in extreme ambient conditions, using highly efficient ribbed housings and axial fans specially designed with air-guide hoods to ensure air flows evenly over the entire housing.

“Cooling systems represent additional risk potential for many mine operators, as they include pumps, fans and instrumentation that all require additional maintenance and power supply,” he says.

“One part of the solution lies in an extended housing surface, a second and more significant part in optimised air conveyance flow. It ensures that the ambient air is guided directly over the housing as much as possible. Flender has invested a great deal of development work in the fluid mechanics behind this.

“We’ve also got the biggest right-angle bevel helical drives on the market. We can go above three megawatts from our standard range. This stems from our advanced spiral bevel gear design which offers the most efficient solution at the lowest noise levels”.

Flender, a subsidiary of Siemens, has been supplying gear drives for the Australian mining industry for decades, installing its first in the 1970s, with some still in operation from that time. The designs have been improved over the years, and are part of the company’s standard range, purpose built for conveyor belt applications.

The company’s products have proved popular for Australian bulk handlers, with around 1200 drives installed in the Pilbara region alone, in addition to more than 2000 Australia wide.

To ensure the company could continue to meet increasing customer demand, especially in the mining and wind energy sectors, it announced it would be expanding in Western Australia with an advanced, 3500-square metre facility.

Flender Australia chief executive and managing director Kareem Emara says that relocating to Tonkin Highway Industrial Estate will allow Flender to centralise operations and get closer to customers in Western Australia.

“We have been growing exponentially the last few years and now have the biggest installed base in mining and wind turbine gearboxes compared to any other OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in Australia,” Emara says.

“Regardless of where we are, being close to our customers is the cornerstone of our business model. Western Australia has been an excellent market for us in the recent years. It’s only natural for us to reinvest in this key market and be where our customers are to offer them the combined brains trust of over 50 facilities worldwide through this new state-of-the-art centre.”

The facility will include a 1.5-megawatt test bench, along with the tooling required for tooling, maintenance and assembly. It will also be the site for the company’s local engineering and sales team, supplementing offices in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Rockhampton.

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