Growing along with the community

Since starting his business over 34 years ago in the small scenic town of Branxholm in north east Tasmania, Bruce Branch has been committed to supporting the agricultural and forestry industries in his region.

Since its inception in 1986, Bruce’s business, Branch Fabrications has grown into a ten-employee company, offering services including steel fabrication, contract labour, equipment maintenance, steel purchases and nuts and bolts to the farming community in northern Tasmania.

Bruce says remaining loyal to his roots is what gives him most satisfaction when looking back at the business’ growth over the years.

“We are a small, progressive company that is very loyal to our suppliers, customers, and employees. Our local area has seen major industries close down or move away. Branch Fabrications, however, has continued to grow with innovation in both equipment and personnel,” he says.

“We have also trained over ten apprentices and have had one apprentice win ‘Apprentice of the Year’ three years in a row. This demonstrates our ability to train, mentor and support young people at the beginning of their careers,” he adds.

Branch Fabrication’s potato trailers are particularly popular among the customers due to their high quality and the additional carting capacity they offer to farmers and contractors. Additionally, Branch Fabrications helps its customers with general engineering and maintenance, sandblasting and spray painting.

A spud bin fabricated by Branch Fabrications

For a number of decades now, Branch Fabrications has been working with the WebsterBSC branch in Launceston to source their required parts and products. Luke Gee, Territory Manager, WebsterBSC says the business is held in high regards by the community for its services.

“Branch Fabrications has done a great job of supporting the local farmers and sawmills in the region. They are well respected by the community for their laid-back and reliable services.”

Bruce says he is a firm believer in quality consistency as the driver behind customer loyalty.
“As a local business, we have a close understanding of the needs of our community and consistently produce high quality products. These factors ensure we stay in business and therefore stimulate the local economy.”

Branch Fabrications is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.

How a bearing upgrade saved valuable maintenance time for Tassal

When the operators at Tassal Group’s Huonville salmon processing facility in Tasmania were frustrated with having to replace their conveyor belt roller bearings every few weeks, it was WebsterBSC’s Sales Service Representative, Dean Nomikos who first suggested switching to the NSK Molded-Oil bearings.
The existing stainless steel bearings, as Dean explains, were failing frequently in the harsh working conditions, keeping the maintenance team busy with bearing replacements and frequent greasing.
“The processing facility uses lots of water and chemical cleaners to keep the conveyor systems sanitised. As a result, the bearings were in a very corrosive environment,” says Dean. “In addition to being highly resistant to corrosion, Molded-Oil roller bearings also eliminate the need for daily greasing, which makes them an environmentally-friendly bearing solution for the plant.”
Clinton O’Neil, a mechanical fitter who has been working with Tassal for nearly 20 years, says switching to Molded-Oil roller bearings has saved the maintenance team significant time in bearing replacement and lubrication.
“Before switching to Molded-Oil, we had to change out the bearings every 2-3 weeks. But not anymore. The new bearings easily last six months or more and the best thing is that they don’t need any lubrication. You just put them in and forget about them. Before switching to Molded-Oil, we had to grease the bearings daily,” he says.
Clinton says the Tassal maintenance team has since decided to replace most of the bearings used in conveyors at the Tassal Huonville facility and other processing facilities with Molded-Oil bearings.
“We prefer using high-quality bearings that last longer rather than using cheap bearings. We had already been using the NSK tapered roller bearings in our salmon smoker kilns successfully, therefore NSK was a preferred bearing brand for us,” he says.
“The Huonville facility receives fresh salmon from Tassal’s Dover processing facility. We process around 20 tonnes of fresh fish per day to produce approximately 5-6 tonnes of finished products. The conveyors take the fish through all stages of processing, from the raw fish to the finished product and we now use the NSK Molded-Oil in most of those conveyors.”
The secret behind the NSK Molded-Oil bearings’ resistance to corrosion can be found in their unique features.
Molded-Oil bearings are lubricated with NSK’s own oil-impregnated material – Molded-Oil – which consists of lubricating oil and polyolefin resin that has an affinity for oil. Lubricant slowly seeping from this material provides ample lubrication to the bearing for extended periods.
Because the bearings can be lubricated with minute quantities of oil that exudes from Molded-Oil, the bearings are able to minimise oil leakage. Packing with Molded-Oil after providing the bearing surface with special treatment realises smooth rotation of rolling elements.
As Dave Healey, NSK Australia Sales Engineer explains, Molded-Oil bearings are ideal for use in water or dust contaminated environments.
“In washdown applications in the food and beverage industry, it’s important to protect the rolling elements inside the bearing from getting corroded. That’s where the Molded-Oil bearing comes into the picture to provide a corrosion-free solution,” he says.
“There are other applications where we generally recommend Molded-Oil. For example, if you have an application that is difficult to grease, perhaps due to the remote location or any access restrictions, you might want to switch to a maintenance-free bearing. Another application is in vertical shafts. Because of the gravity, the lubricants tend to leak out of the bearing. That is where having solid lubricant eliminates any risk of oil leakage,” he explains.
As the largest producer of Tasmanian grown Atlantic salmon, Tassal has three direct hatcheries with capacity to produce over 10m smolts per year. The smolt are majority reared at the company’s land-based Rookwood Road RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) in Ranelagh, Tasmania. After eight to twelve months, the smolt are transferred to Tassal’s four marine zones in the sea, where our Sanctuary pens have a volume over 20,000 cubic metres and holds enough Salmon to produce at least 300 tonnes once harvested.
Processing the fish into final products ready to dispatch to the consumer market occurs at Tassal’s five processing facilities, of which three – Huonville, Dover and Margate – are in Tasmania. Dean says WebsterBSC has been working with all three facilities over the years as a trusted supplier.
“As a supplier of bearings and engineering supplies in Tasmania, we work closely with fisheries and marine farms to make sure they have access to the latest solutions and products. For the past 11-12 years, I’ve been personally checking on Tassal’s processing facilities, keeping in touch with the maintenance personnel every week to see if there’s anything I can help them with,” Dean says.
Clint says he is happy to be working with WebsterBSC, particularly praising the team’s knowledge of maintenance requirements.
“The team at WebsterBSC are very easy to work with. They all have very good maintenance knowledge and help us with any information we need. Even when we don’t exactly know what solution we are looking for, they go out and source something for us from their suppliers. So, the collaboration is an absolute win-win,” he concludes.
NSK Molded-Oil Bearings Key Product Features:

  • Clean environment with grease-free property and no oil refilling.
  • Operating life more than twice that of grease-lubricated bearings.
  • Excellent in water or dust contaminated environments.
  • Environmentally friendly with very minimal oil leakage.
  • Ideal for vertical shaft applications.
  • High integrity contact-seal type available in standard inventory for ball bearings.
  • Available in ball bearing, wide inner ring bearings and spherical roller bearings.
  • Available in the ball bearing type is high grade stainless steel.

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WebsterBSC and Viva Energy’s partnership is the perfect brew for Australia’s leading hop grower

Bushy Park Estates, located in a scenic landscape 55 kilometres north of Hobart, is the birthplace of Australian hops. Built in 1867 by Ebenezer Shoobridge, the son of a hop grower from Kent, the farm has been supplying top-quality hops to the Australian and global brewing industries for over 150 years.

The farm is one of the three gardens where Australia’s leading hop grower, Hop Products Australia (HPA), grows its six proprietary varieties plus a few open market varieties for brewers around the country.

With an area of over 250 hectares, the farm utilises on average 70 different vehicles, ranging from front-end loaders to tractors, trucks, cherry pickers and utility vehicles to manage its daily operations. With the farm’s busy schedule, the farm managers rely on Industrial Solutions’ Tasmanian business, WebsterBSC and Shell Lubricants, supplied by Viva Energy, to keep their vehicles and equipment in top shape.

Tom Parry, farm manager at Bushy Park Estates, says he’s very satisfied with the customer service support he receives from WebsterBSC, as well as with the performance of Shell Lubricants.

“WebsterBSC offers a brilliant customer service and Shell is known for brand quality. With Shell having such a wide range of oils for our vehicles and machinery on the farm, the partnership fulfills all of our needs. Outside of our general vehicle servicing routine, we also use a considerable amount of Shell Gadus grease in our picking machines, which we run five weeks of the year during the harvest season,” he says.

Tom says one advantage for the farm in working with WebsterBSC is that they can receive a wide range of products from a single supplier, which adds convenience to their business.

“Working with WebsterBSC is very easy. We just call and order the oils we need and they are delivered to us on time. It’s also  very convenient to be able to get a range of other products, such as the tractor oil filters and other tractor parts like sprockets, gears, and so on from a single supplier,” he says.

Joshua Morrison, the Sales Representative catering to the farm’s needs on behalf of WebsterBSC, says he has built a strong relationship with the farm managers at Bushy Park Estates over the last eight years, supplying a range of bearings, power transmission products and more recently, Shell Lubricants, to the site.

He says the transition to using Shell Lubricants for the farm’s ongoing vehicle and machinery maintenance and bearing re-greases was a smooth process, given Shell’s reputation as a top-quality product.

“The farm managers were looking for top-end lubrication products to enhance the performance of their vehicles and machinery. They were already familiar with Shell, as they had used Shell products previously and were quite happy with their performance,” says Joshua.

After an initial discussion, Joshua and Viva Energy’s Account Manager visited the site together to assess the farm’s requirements.

“After reviewing the oil and grease products and pack sizes that the farm was already using, we were able to get a good understanding of what the workshop needed. Whenever we visit a customer’s lubrication store, we always try to consolidate the number of redundant products being used.  But in the case of Bushy Park Estates, they already had the right number of lubricants in place, so there was no need for any reduction,” says Joshua.

Joshua says Shell’s high-performance Shell Rimula R4 L 15W-40 diesel engine oils, as well as Shell Tellus hydraulic fluids and Shell Spirax transmission oils are some of the key products he regularly supplies to the farm.

“We worked with Viva Energy to present HPA with a high-quality lubrication supply, usage and storage solution.” This was an attractive proposition for the farm and workshop team, according to Josh.

“This offer included a range of lubrication equipment, from oil pumps to extract the oil from the drums right to the hose reels and oil guns for easy application in the servicing workshop. It also offered colour-coded magnets for the oil drums and matched these with the colour of the lubrication equipment to help avoid any risk of cross-contamination,” he says.

Robert Clayton, Viva Energy Account Manager, says the colour-coding program is part of Viva Energy’s commitment to safety in lubrication storage.

“Using the colour-coded magnets and equipment makes it easy to differentiate between different lubricants being used in the workshop and reduces the risk of cross-contamination. It can also help save money and time by avoiding the risk of one lubricant getting mixed with another and going to waste.”

Robert and Joshua continue to have a close relationship with the farm managers by offering a range of consultative post-sale services.

“The HPA team are very satisfied with the ongoing service they receive from WebsterBSC and Viva Energy. This relationship ensures that as their business gears up during the harvest season and if they are also looking to acquire new equipment, they trust us to provide the right solutions at the right time,” says Robert.

Post transition, the farm managers are able to easily identify the products they require for specific vehicles or machinery using the Shell LubeMatch app. They can then place their order accordingly with WebsterBSC or ask our team any questions.

Joshua also praises Viva Energy’s Technical Helpdesk for their high-quality customer service and expertise.

“If our team or our customers have any questions about Shell products or lubricants in general, we try to answer their queries to the best of our knowledge, or otherwise direct them to the Technical Helpdesk. They always respond promptly and help to educate us about different lubricant products, applications and specifications.”

Joshua believes the collaborative effort with Viva Energy to provide Bushy Park Estates with quality Shell Lubricants and a solution to improve their operations is an excellent example of WebsterBSC’s commitment to support the industry with quality products and services.

“At WebsterBSC, we are not interested in making quick sales. We believe that a long-term view on the total cost of ownership is what benefits our customers the most and that is why we focus on providing quality products and ongoing service that meet or exceed our customers’ requirements for longevity. This view resonates with the values that we share with Viva Energy, which is what makes us a great team.”

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Foodlube for the machine masses

With food production ramping up as people stockpile in the midst of the coronavirus, reliability has never been more important – both in terms of product performance and the supply chain.

And it’s not just the supply chain of the goods themselves that is in the spotlight, but the products and services that keep those products in full production – the plants, machinery and back up service.

In order to keep everything running smoothly, a high-quality food-grade lubricant is needed, and the ROCOL FOODLUBE range is designed to keep plant and machinery in top shape. Distributed by industrial products specialist, BSC, ROCOL fits the bill in many ways, according to BSC national key account manager, Steve Keown.

“ROCOL FOODLUBE has NSF accreditation, which is globally recognised, and it is also HACCP certified and the products are made using registered ingredients by the USDA and FDA,” he says. “They’re free from nut and soy oils. Free from genetically modified ingredients as well. For a certification approval level, they’ve certainly got all the global checks in place.”

Most importantly during these times, BSC has a large amount of stock of the range in its various warehouses around Australia. Not only that, but it has engineering staff that are on call and available 24/7 to help. Being Australia wide, the company can get product to customers very quickly. This is important – not only for planned maintenance – but in situations where unexpected downtime might occur due to the heavy use of machinery.

Emilio Seballos is the Channel Manager for Heavy Industry at ITW Polymers and Fluids (ITW P&F), the company that owns the ROCOL brand. Based in New South Wales, Emilio knows from first-hand experience how well BSC comes to the party in terms of support, and even helping open up new markets for products.

“Working with BSC is very good. Over the years our relationship has grown significantly,” he says. “They are really easy to work with because they are able to add value on top of providing products. Not only are they able to provide the bearings, the chains etcetera, we can then come in and help from a specialist lubrication standpoint.”

He even goes one step further when it comes to what BSC can do for those running the plant and machinery that keep the food and beverage industry chugging along.

“BSC are definitely solution sellers he says. “BSC offer solutions because they are already providing a technical service from the standpoint of bearings, belts, chains, lubrications and those sorts of things. They are already dealing with customers of our products on a technical level so there is an excellent synergy between what they can do and what we can supply to industry.”

An example of this collaboration can be seen through both BSC and ITW P&F working together to conduct site assessments at a Global food manufacturer’s operations based in NSW. As a result of the site assessments, BSC and ITW P&F identified that the plants had an excess of stock holdings and were able to brand rationalise to the ROCOL brand and cut their stock holdings by up to half.

The experience from the NSW site was then transferred to the global food manufacturer’s Tasmanian sites. The team at WebsterBSC – BSC’s sister company – were then able to conduct a thorough lubrication survey of two of its food processing sites.

The WebsterBSC team worked in conjunction with ITW P&F, and analysed the lube stores in both operations. Similar to the NSW sites, the result, according to WebsterBSC Sales Representative Rick White, was a rationalisation in the number of lubricants that the factories had on site from 25 different lubricants down to only 10 products.

“ROCOL products are very versatile and can be used in a range of applications. By using ROCOL lubricants, the factories were able to reduce their lubricant inventory considerably – which made stock management a lot simpler and more efficient,” White explains.

To elaborate on the versatility of the ROCOL products, White introduces some of the products that WebsterBSC and ITW P&F recommended as part of the survey program.

“For example, the ROCOL FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is an all-round grease that can protect ball, roller and plain bearings, slides and bushes in water wash offs,” he says.

“The FOODLUBE Hi-Power hydraulic oil and FOODLUBE Hi-Torque gear oil also have some great features. We’ve supplied them successfully to major food manufacturers in Tasmania and nationally, with great customer satisfaction,” he adds.

White, who works at the WebsterBSC Burnie branch and has been involved in the sale of industrial and engineering products for over 47 years, says continuous support is BSC’s secret to maintaining a lasting relationship with customers.

“When the same food manufacturer required hydraulic gear oils as part of their scheduled annual maintenance shut down, WebsterBSC was able to supply the order within just one day to avoid any unwanted delay. Our customers know that they can trust us to support them when they need it most.”

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