Like the namesake, Simplicity Australia’s equipment is designed to simplify agricultural practice.
And they do. Simplicity’s seeder machine is dubbed ‘Australia’s Favourite Air Seeder’ and the native manufacturer is a well-recognised leader in its field, offering the largest range of air seeders in Australia and employing over 80 people.
Simplicity Australia’s name also reflects its humble beginnings. The first Simplicity air seeder being built in a backyard shed in the small town of Jandowae, Queensland in the late 1970s, using a simple auger-type metering system. That business was purchased by David Law in the early 1980s and it grew from the ground up
in a very modest way, says General Manager, Troy Law, “with a core focus to design and manufacture high-quality planting equipment.”
It’s an approach that has been successful, and one that Troy attributes to his father.
“My father, David Law worked tirelessly to continuously develop our product and the manufacturing process to meet the diverse needs of Australian farming. The original little air seeder sold in our local area and into Central Queensland. Over time, that expanded to a national presence, which required a wide variety of machine sizes and capability” explains Troy. “Our product strength is based in focusing on quality, reliability, innovation and product support. Today, our portfolio of planting equipment is extensive, and to my knowledge we offer the largest range of this type of air seeder in the world, with machines going from 1,500L through to 30,000L in many different formats.”
While air seeders and planting equipment are designed to complete the important planting process efficiently, they must also be robust and reliable to handle the varied conditions and critical timelines that modern broad acre farming demands. To ensure the machines they manufacture are both in line with their commitment to quality and reliability, Simplicity Australia relies on the expertise and supply of bearing and drive equipment provided by CBC.
“We treat CBC as a company who specialise in bearing and drive systems. When it comes to purchasing products in that field, CBC is a go-to for us because they supply a large spectrum of products and have quality brands in their portfolio,” Troy expands. “In particular, we have a long history with Warren Beale, who is currently the CBC OEM Manager, and someone we have consulted with for decades. When it comes to developing a product with a specific bearing or drive train requirement, CBC is at the top of our list in terms of who we contact.”
One of the key components Simplicity Australia trusts for use on its air seeder, is an NTN bearing.
“We use an NTN bearing within our metering system. This is where the product (seed or fertiliser) is metered out into the airstream,” elaborates Troy. “Longevity and quality in a bearing is very important for us in that regard, and the NTN bearing is a good fit. Many years ago, we developed a sealing system in the metering unit in order to prevent damage from contaminants and erosion of the bearing in this application.”
Warren Beale, who runs the CBC
OEM program, and works closely with Simplicity Australia, provides additional detail on this application.
“The main application of the NTN bearing solution is on the metering box. It’s a trailer-like assembly with a massive bin attached – the bin is full of seed and fertiliser and trails behind the tillage equipment. The seeds are blown out and the metering unit acts as a dosage system,” explains Warren. “This can be adjusted to suit the size of the seed, how often you want to seed, and at what distance.”
In conjunction and packaged with the Simplicity air seeder is their range of ground-engaging equipment, including the Allrounder, Territory and the SD-400 – which is a single disc planter. According to Troy, supplying a world-class planting package is very important to Simplicity, in order for the company to compete on a domestic and international front.
“Our goals are kept simple by the awareness that our customers are constantly seeking the best farming practices and technology for their business. Their viability and profitability rely on efficiently and accurately planting their crop,” he says. “Understanding that drives us to continually develop our product, our manufacturing processes and our operational methods.”
It’s also meant that the Simplicity Australia machinery has been in high demand, particularly after a bumper season in 2020. As such, the company needs to ensure it has a ready and secure supply of componentry stock to meet their manufacturing needs. Warren makes sure this is the case.
“I’ve been working with Simplicity Australia for over 30 years and have an excellent understanding of everything they use, as well as a list of products and purchase history that I maintain and refer to in our meetings,” explains Warren. “We meet regularly to discuss what is upcoming, how many machines are being built, and how many bearings will be required and then we schedule out stock that way.”
Moreover, CBC take forward orders and help manage an inventory so that Simplicity Australia always have surplus supply to draw on.
“We regularly speak with their purchasing officer regarding theirs and our stock holdings of critical components for their manufacturing plant,” Warren expands. “These are high volume sizes, and in some cases, they are unique items to SimplicityAustralia that they cannot afford to be without, or it will jeopardise their manufacturing schedules.”
At these regular meetings, Warren and the Simplicity Australia team agree on
an amount of stock CBC will hold strictly for them.
“They give us a covering order number and draw down on that stock as required. Similar to a ‘just in time’ practice,” says Warren. “This way they do not have the expense of having to purchase a season’s worth of stock each time, but also retain the security of having stock available to them at any time.”
Importantly, Simplicity Australia lean on CBC for engineering solutions too. It’s a level of trust that has developed over many years, and one that Simplicity Australia has come to rely on.
“Not too long ago, we had made an error in a design and CBC was the company we went to, to consult on technical solutions for that product,” concludes Troy. “We trust them for continuity of supply. The last 12 months have been very tricky when it comes to supply chain with COVID-19. Our long-term history with CBC has given us peace of mind in the face of this challenge.”