Attachments, Earthmoving Equipment

Shear genius: Embrey Attachments

Embrey Attachments has been building and selling steel shears in Australia for close to 40 years – which isn’t bad for a 50-year-old invention

Embrey Attachments has a range of 24 shears for different applications

Embrey Attachments does steel shears well. Based out of Pakenham, Victoria, not only is the business the only manufacturer of steel shears in Australia, its entire history is intertwined with the product.

The lineage of the attachment dates back to 1973 when American bridge builder Roy LaBounty needed to develop an effective way to pull engines out of cars.

The machinery he invented was dubbed the Rip Rap and, along with pulling engines from cars, it also had use in rock beaching or breakwater building applications for its ability to pick up and stack rocks.

Embrey Attachments sales director David Embrey says this early invention eventually led to the grapple shear, with LaBounty continuing to develop the product using materials found in his shed.

LaBounty’s grapple shear was simple, yet it executed its primary function without too many faults. Connection points such as the wiring and driveline were able to be cut from car engines and be removed.

Inadvertently, though, LaBounty had invented the first mobile shear as, opposed to other iterations of the shear that were stationary and mounted on a fixed point.

“Up until this point, stationary shears were the order of the day; electrically-driven hydraulic arrangements, fixed to a mounting point in the yard that required material to be transferred across them,” Embrey says.

“Roy took the shear technology and made it mobile. He is the true father of the mobile shear as we know it today. LaBounty’s idea became prototypes, which became models, all of which were what was known as a slipper shear during the early 1980s.

“Rather than the separate complete body attachment used today, the first shears were originally used to slip over the end of the dipper arm like a shoe, utilising the excavator’s existing hydraulics in order to operate.”

It was a while from when LaBounty invented the first grapple shear in 1973 to when the world’s first complete self-powered shear attachment became available on the market in 1984.

Today, LaBounty shears bear the name of Stanley-LaBounty and the range of shears, processing heads and pulverisers fall under the Stanley Infrastructure Group.

However, in Australia, the links between Embrey Attachments and LaBounty emerged throughout the late 1970s, where, after seeing a classified advertisement for an early iteration of a rock grapple in a magazine, Earle Embrey contacted LaBounty to form a partnership.

“Earle’s mind fizzed with the possible applications for such a piece of equipment in Australia. He soon sent off a letter… and by the late 1970s, a partnership had been formed.”

From there, Embrey distributed LaBounty shears throughout Australia in a partnership which has stood for close to 40 years.

As a new technology at the time, sales were steady, but it took a while until local companies caught on to the potential of the LaBounty shears. The first sale in Australia came from Whelan the Wrecker, which purchased an MSD216 shearer for its Port Melbourne-based business. That same piece of machinery is still in operation today, Embrey says, on a scrap yard in Mt Isa, Queensland.

Today, Embrey Attachments operates a workshop of over 3,000 square metres and features equipment and machines used to manufacture overhead crane systems, plasma flame cutting, CNC machinery centres, and a 400-tonne hydraulic press.

Paramount to its operations is its 24-strong range of Embrey EDS Demolition shears for different applications. The shears are designed and built by Embrey Attachments in Australia and are across demolition, scrap metal and recycling functions.

The shears are lightweight but are high-powered with large jaw openings making them ideal for long reach excavators and for use on quick hitches. Their range of EDS shears can cut steel beams, pipe, wires, tyres and concreate.

A bolt-on piercing tip on the shear encapsulates the front of the upper jaw, protects the attachment and eliminates the need for welding and build up; while weld-on wear strips on the upper and lower jaws also provide added safety and removes the need for hard-facing.

“We have a very specific set-up and have invested in the best possible manufacturing equipment and processes,” Embrey says.

“We have a lot of pride in what we manufacture in Australia, and we have also set up a separate service workshop for refurbishing shears and other types of attachments.

“We also carry a huge range of shear blades and spare parts and have the capability to make any parts which are not stock items,” he says.

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