Branch Report by Chris Gray

SKF On 14th June ‘11 the Auckland Branch held their suppliers evening This year it was hosted by SKF New Zealand Ltd at their facilities in East Tamaki. Gary Allen, SKF National Sales Manager, got things underway with an introduction to SKF and their products specifically designed for the quarrying / mining industry.

SKF is 104 yrs old this year, and were established in New Zealand in 1927. They currently have 76 staff across eight branches. With a network of five distributors and sixty resellers SKF can provide nationwide coverage. With recent acquisitions SKF now offer far more than just bearings. SKF has a comprehensive range of seals, power transmissions and lubrication solutions.

Gary explained that bearings fail for numerous reasons; 14% contamination; 34% fatigue, 16% fitting and 36% lubrication. SKF through its products and services can reduce premature failure significantly through expertise, training, lubrication solutions, products like the Explorer bearings for screens and through cost effective monitoring with its copperhead monitoring system.

Gary then handed over to Mike Theyers OTR Sales Manager from Bridgestone NZ. Mike started his presentation with a warning to the industry “There is a growing shortage, globally, for off highway tyres”. Demand for tyres from Australia, China and Asia is driving the shortage. Bridgestone has opened the third stage of its plant development early in Japan to try and address some of the issues. Regardless of this, it is vital that quarry operators start for forecast six months out what their tyre requirements will be.

The cost of tyres is starting to rise again. A wet season has caused global shortage of rubber out of Malaysia. Prices for natural rubber have gone from USD$168/ Kg in 2009, peaked at USD$660/ kg, and is currently sitting just below USD$500/ Kg. Price increases are expected to continue.

Mike introduced the Bridgestone tyre range and made everyone aware that Bias ply D-Lug tyres will no longer be available after 2013. Bridgestone have a radial alternative to its Bias ply tyres.
He then went on to stress the importance of regular tyre maintenance to ensure full service life from your tyres. With the looming tyre shortages haul road maintenance and correct tyre pressures are critical, and warned “When tyres hit rocks – Trucks will go on blocks”.

Many thanks again to SKF for hosting the IOQ Branch meeting and supplying refreshments.