Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks with The Elastomers’ technical and quality assurance manager, Sam Brumale, about how local test machines from Test Machines Australia are critical to their rubber manufacturing business.
Having a local agent service test machines is critical for Melbourne-based rubber manufacturer, The Elastomers.
The company engages the services of Test Machines Australia, who has been involved in materials testing and the design of various test machines for more than 20 years – with a focus on quality. Test Machines Australia has recently launched 24-hour service support to help manufacturers improve quality, reduce downtime and mitigate costs associated with delays.
In the case of The Elastomers, who mainly supply rubber for the manufacturing of mining equipment and conveyor belts, as well as general rubber products, its business is heavily reliant on quality.
“We need to have equipment that is accurate and reliable, and then we need to have the companies that service the machines, so we don’t have downtime,” The Elastomers’ technical and quality assurance manager, Sam Brumale said.
“We can’t sell the product to the customer if we haven’t tested it. If the actual test equipment breaks down, the business stops.”
Without accurate testing, the company could be faced with the decision to not sell, or to find another company to fulfil testing requirements.
“Anything that causes a delay is a cost inconvenience to our customers, and probably could be a cost penalty to us. The sooner we can get the machine, where there is a breakdown, up and running, obviously that’s an advantage,” Brumale said. “If people are in a 24-hour business, then there could be some advantage knowing that you don’t have to wait until the next day, you could get someone out that same day to get it repaired.”
In order to meet specifications, either set by clients or within their own business, one of the tests The Elastomers does is a tensile tester provided by Test Machines Australia.
“The advantage of using Test Machines Australia’s equipment in particular is because he’s a local agent. He’s someone in Australia that I can talk to, and even better, someone in Melbourne I can talk to, which helps with the current restrictions,” Brumale said.
Brumale said the company’s laboratory has several different types of machines. However, for some of them, there is no local agent.
“Some of the manufacturers and agents are in the UK, so it means when I have a problem, it’s hard to talk to them because of the time difference. And it’s hard to get service if I do have a problem, they don’t come out anymore,” Brumale said.
He also said the manufacturing process has not been impacted “too much” by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has followed all the government requirements like social distancing, practising good hygiene and having people working from home where possible. For those who do have to be onsite, work shifts are staggered, and workers are spread out beyond 1.5 metres of each other.
“We’re not a business where we have a lot of people in a small area. We’ve got the opposite. We’ve got a large area with a few workers. We’re a bit lucky there,” Brumale said.
In addition, he said meetings are minimised unless they’re essential due to the pandemic. So, that has made communication with the outside harder because they don’t have many visitors.
Brumale said the quickness offered by Test Machines Australia makes them an ideal business partner, particularly for emergency repairs.
“With Test Machines Australia, I recently had a problem where I needed to get our machine calibrated, and with Cibotto being local, it was easy to do,” he said.
“Having a local business is obviously an advantage in terms of getting service, in terms of not having to communicate across different time zones, and then getting your service done a lot easier and a lot quicker, rather than having to try organise someone to come from interstate or overseas.”