Technology investments help TW Woods set new benchmarks

Technology investments help TW Woods set new benchmarks

New high-definition plasma cutting technology is helping the TW Woods Group to optimise efficiency and quality in the production of chutes, bins, loaders, tanks and silos at its plant in Tomago, New South Wales.

The new Lincoln Spirit 400 machine – now operating in the company’s 400sqm plate-processing facility – was specified to deliver industry-best standards of cut quality on standard and specialty steels, including stainless steels and heavy-duty chromium carbide protective plates up to 60mm thick.

According to TW Woods’ Managing Director Tom Woods, high-quality, wear and impact-resistant materials are now in high demand as coal and mineral processing plants place new emphasis on long-life products that avoid delays and breakdowns as mines step up production. The same quality, traceability and accountability standards are being required by private and state organisations involved in the energy, marine, oil & gas and defence sectors, where safety and durability are paramount.

The investment in state-of-the-art plasma cutting technology has also been complemented by the installation of a new Truflow spray booth and bake oven to deliver best-quality protective finishes for customers in industries including defence, energy, manufacturing, mining, minerals-processing, materials-handling, metals, process engineering, and water and wastewater.

Truflow technology – the same type used by industry leaders including Siemens, Bombardier and Veolia – is used by TW Woods to apply quality finishes ranging from camouflage patterns for defence projects, to protective coatings for mining, energy and bulk handling equipment used in aggressive, marine, chemical and mining environments.

The new Truflow paint finish facility
The new investments are part of an ongoing multi-million dollar expansion of TW Woods’ two-hectare facility to expand the range of tasks it handles on the one site from start to finish, enabling it to maintain strict quality control and to meet tight deadlines. Production efficiency and quality control when producing such designs is further enhanced at the TW Woods plant by the integration of its plate processing area. This contains a new Spirit 400 machine with an 800sqm paint and blasting facility incorporating a sand blast chamber with 10m-high ceiling to handle large jobs.

This facility feeds directly to a state-of-the-art 720sqm industrial paint shop with a 12m entry door to handle major projects such as coal and ore train load-out facilities, complex piping, recirculation tanks, shaker screens, storage bins, hoppers, silos, chutes, ductwork, bridgework, steel structures, tanks and mobile water tankers. The paint shop is immediately adjacent to the new Truflow facility, in which painted products can receive specialised finishes, all on the one site.

Optimised work flow
“The optimised work flow and range of production facilities available on the one site means even the most complex jobs can be handled efficiently and expeditiously, without elements of the work having to be sent off-site with the attendant delays and potential lack of uniformity of quality standards,” says Woods. “We are also able to fully utilise the skills base of our staff team, which we have built up over 50 years and three generations of family ownership. We have a tremendous asset in our staff loyalty, great staff skills and our investment in comprehensively equipping ourselves to handle complete projects on-site.”

Materials handling system efficiencies are further enhanced by innovative designs from TW Woods’ partner engineering group Chute Technology, which uses advanced engineering technologies, including discrete element modelling, to optimise and translate into reality materials handling configurations that minimise problems such as impact and abrasion zones, and smooth the flow of material within such systems.

“We are finding that quality and safety-conscious clients are requiring increasingly higher standards of design, construction, finish and quality control to ensure the best lifespans and least maintenance achievable in their industries” adds Woods. “Companies and utilities are increasingly aware of the high costs of lost production and safety hazards involved in systems that are prone to wear and breakage. Failure-prone systems can entail high labour costs and significant hazards involved in having to continually clear stoppages and install new materials handling facilities to tight production deadlines.”

High-tech facilities
Housed on the company’s two-hectare site with Hunter River frontage, the new facilities complement 4,000sqm of workshop area in which the company undertakes medium-to-heavy steel fabrication, plate rolling and pressing, and manufacturing of materials handling equipment including chromium carbide-clad, plate-hardened steel products.

The company’s services (including specialised shaping, fabrication and welding technology for metals including carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium) are used by organisations such as Delta Energy, Incitec Pivot, water and waste water authorities, Integra Coal, Laing O’Rourke, Xstrata and surface and underground mining companies throughout Australia, including iron ore producers in the Pilbara and coal companies in Queensland.

The company has also become a valued supplier to the water treatment and materials handling industry because of its expanded capacity to process specialised metals and manufacture complex shapes required for special-purpose tanks, silos and pressure vessels.