J Smith and Sons engineer Ben Doolan, principal Kerren Smith and engineering manager Kevin McDonnell notch up another victory for their innovative Hydrapede product.
J Smith and Sons engineer Ben Doolan, principal Kerren Smith and engineering manager Kevin McDonnell notch up another victory for their innovative Hydrapede product. Renee Pilcher

Business win for state of origin

AUSTRALIA will miss its manufacturing sector if we drive it out of existence, according to multi-award winning Gympie businessman Kerren Smith.

Mr Smith, principal of J Smith and Sons, has just picked up the Australian Steel Innovation Award at the 50th anniversary Endeavour Awards, sponsored by Manufacturers Monthly magazine and Bluescope Steel.

Speaking in Gympie yesterday, Mr Smith said a carbon tax would not reduce air pollution or Australia’s steel consumption.

“It just means we’ll be using imported steel,” he said.

The award is not the first for the firm, which has been an important manufacturing business in Gympie for more than 100 years.

It is also not the first the firm has won for its highly successful Mk4 Hydrapede, a powered dolly which allows mining road trains to haul large amounts of minerals and ore over long distances.

Essentially the system serves as a second prime mover and can be operated in combinations of up to four trailers and at speeds of up to 73kmh, according to Smith and Sons engineering manager Kevin McDonnell.

Their previous win for the Hydrapede, at the 7th Australian Mining Prospect Awards (at which it won in the Innovative Mining Solutions category), showed the benefits of millions invested developing the highly successful product, which allows much greater efficiency in shifting big loads directly from mine to processing plant or port. It needs only one-third the road width of a mining dump truck and can shift about 315 tonnes of ore.

“You need fewer trucks, which means less wages and less road maintenance,” Mr Smith said.

One problem was the awards were presented on Wednesday, State of Origin night.

“There’s nothing about the State of Origin in Victoria.

“I was getting text messages (to follow the game),” he said.

The 50th anniversary awards are sponsored by Manufacturers Monthly magazine and Bluescope Steel.

Gympie Times


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