Machinery News, Pugmills

Aussie-made PrecisionScreen pugmill

Built in Brisbane by a dedicated local team, Precisionscreen’s Scorpion pugmill mixer is tough, dependable and versatile

With over 30 years’ experience in Australian manufacturing, the team at Brisbane’s Precisionscreen prides itself on producing equipment built specifically for the Australian market.

Established by Harold Kerr as a small family business in 1986, today the company produces more than 30 screening, washing and crushing plants and more than 50 additional ancillary products, with a staff of 40 that designs, tests, builds, sells and supports the entire range of products.

Precisionscreen general manager Paul Kerr says he’s looking to add to that employee base over the next few years – although he concedes talented workers are in high demand in Australia right now.

“We are actively recruiting for good people and moving forward we are looking at investing heavily over the next couple of years in apprentices to help develop these skills locally,” he says.

“I need some skills now and the skills shortage is hampering my ability to ramp up and to grow.”


The Scorpion pugmill, designed for use across the quarrying, recycling and mining industries

Aside from the well-known impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains and the availability of skilled personnel, Kerr says it has seemingly also inspired customers to switch to Australian-made products in recent years as buyers liked the idea of supporting a local company.

“The reality is we’re not only building locally, we’re building a skill set inside the country as opposed to externally,” he says.

“There is no better way to train up field service personnel than to have them build the machines. There are very few players in our market sector where that actually happens.”

The company secured the right to use the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo – the green and gold kangaroo – on its locally-made products back in 2016, and Kerr is aiming to roll it out further.

“We are expanding our product range from the ancillary products that we traditionally imported with a focus on majority Australian sourced, manufactured and assembled products,” he says.

“It will be a bit of a slow burn, designing things, but it should be fairly interesting by the back end of next year.”

Among the products with that green and gold logo is the Scorpion pugmill, designed for use across the quarrying, recycling and mining industries.

Pugmills are instrumental in adding moisture, cement and other quarry materials together to provide a homogenous road base material for the main roads and infrastructure industries.

Powered by a five-piston motor and a 95kW engine, the standard machine can produce up to 300 tonnes per hour of road base with optimum moisture content, though it can also conduct cement-stabilised applications when a cement silo is added.

This is done through a new inlet chute, that allows operators to include cement additives through a divider plate to make the road base mix more homogenous.

The twin auger pug head has 50 reversible wear paddles and a 31.5m-long pug head chamber, offering two speeds to help ensure materials mix properly.

Other features of the pugmill include wind down legs for increased stability in operation, a fitted towbar and weigh scales on the main belt that communicate with the PLC control system.

Safety measures, such as galvanised guarding, rock guards, a safety warning beacon and sirens, and pughead guards have all been fitted.

A CTS-50 cement transfer system and silos from 50–100 feet (15.2– 30.5m) are available as an option, as is the HTS-50 horizontal transfer silo, the 2.2 cubic metre additive bin for cement-treated base and a blending hopper with a 650mm- wide feed belt.

The Scorpion also has a new user-friendly interface with its PLC control system, featuring an automatic start-up function and allowing the user to select different product mixers at the touch of a button.

Australian-made

Kerr says that one of the features that sets Precisionscreen apart from its rivals is that its PLC system is fully designed and developed in-house – including its wiring and its electrical programming.

“The fact that we have that skill set internally makes it a lot easier for us to troubleshoot,” he says.

“We don’t have to rely on time differences to work out a modification or to deliver an improvement… As far as I am aware, there is no one else actually doing it in-house. Certainly not in Australia.

“The ability for us to do the programming in-house is probably a unique feature as well as that, obviously, our design of hydraulics and electrics is designed for an Australian environment in terms of temperatures and cooling,” he says.

Kerr says Precisionscreen’s new optional clamshell doors for the pug head, to make for easier cleaning, is a product of the company’s approach of “simplicity without compromise” and designing to Australian standards from the very start of production, right down to its triple-seal bearings.

“Ours from the start are designed around the Australian standard; they’re designed around the remote nature and harshness of some of the conditions we face in Australia,” says Kerr.

“I think local manufacturers often get judged a little bit harder on their service because they are local, so we have to keep our game up. We want to ensure machines are as reliable as possible and are rated to deliver a high level of service.

“What we’re trying to do is build a machine that is simple and as reliable as possible, but still does the job effectively, they are trying to make it simple in every aspect – fit for purpose, really.”

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