Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The creation of a thousand forests is contained in a single acorn.” This is the case for Queensland-based Bassett Barks, who produce potting mix for plants from composted bark that provide healthy soil nutrients for growing operations. At the heart of Bassett Barks’ operations is a philosophy that promotes organic and sustainable processes through advanced bark processing technology.  

According to Workshop Supervisor Clem O’Mara, bark has valuable organic properties that retain water, improve the pH balance of soil, and encourage stronger growth rates in plants and micro-organisms. “The bark products we make are manufactured at the Bassett Barks site from plantation timber and recycled milling material,” he says. “Our composting is done on a purpose built concrete treated secure site and we perform rigorous on-site testing to meet strict quality control procedures.” 

About a year ago, Clem discovered CBC as a supplier and immediately saw them as a fit for Bassett Barks’ operational requirements. “We have wheel loaders, excavators, mobile screening equipment, trommels and a fleet of trucks that all require bearing and drives to run, and CBC is a one-stop-shop for those type of solutions,” he says.

During the manufacturing process, the raw bark is moved from the mills to the Bassett Barks workshop facility where it goes into a megagrinder to be ground into bark chips. At that stage, it is then sorted through screens and trommels and grouped by size for packaging. 

Clem maintains, repairs, and services all the equipment on site. “I do a lot of multitasking and prioritising to ensure our machines are always up and running,” he says. 

Recently, Clem was experiencing an issue with the belts on his megagrinder — the belts he was using were simply not lasting and causing unnecessary downtime to the most vital piece of equipment in his workshop. 

“The megagrinder was running a diesel V12 engine with three belts that were driving the rotor and grinding the bark,” explains Clem. “I rang up David Harwood and his team at CBC and they sent out a Gates® on-site engineer to our site,” he continues. “They did a design for us and suggested a new belt drive solution which allowed us to run less belts on the same megagrinder with even more horsepower.” 

CBC Sales Representative David Harwood explains how the right belt drive solution was selected for the megagrinder engine using Gates® Design Flex™ Pro™ software. 

“Finding the right belt solution is a constant challenge for any manufacturing environment because every machine has unique service needs,” says David. “Maintenance workers may try to implement the belts they have on hand when a piece of equipment has very specific requirements, which is why we work closely with Gates® as a partner to facilitate better belt solutions and increase the performance of belts on any given piece of equipment.” 

“The Gates® Design Flex™ Pro™ software makes drive design solutions much more streamlined by calculating the most efficient and effective belt solution for a particular piece of equipment,” enthuses David. “The software confirms the suitability of the existing drive solutions by analysing maintenance procedures and tension details. It can also survey an entire plants stock management plan to match and consolidate solutions.” 

According to David, Clem’s megagrinder was running for an extended period, which required very high belt usage. 

“The original belts were experiencing a lot of slippages because of the width of the belts, causing the belts to work twice as hard and break quickly,” he says. “After performing an analysis of the current belt drive system using the Design Flex™ software, our Gates® engineer suggested to change them out to Gates® Super HC PowerBand belts.” 

The PowerBand™ belts are constructed from multiple v-belts tied together to function as a single unit, enabling them to handle high-speed and high-load applications with combined strength. 

“Where a single belt may twist or jump off a pulley, the PowerBand™ distributes load through tensile bands creating a much more stable solution using tensile forces,” explains David. “The strands of the belts fit securely into a sheave groove which resists slippage and vibrational loads.” 

The solution was successful and got Clem’s megagrinder up and running again immediately by increasing the power and the life of each belt, and ultimately reducing overall costs and downtime for his workshop. 

Clem was pleased with the results. “I’ve come to rely on CBC in the past few years,” he says. “I ring David at least twice a week with stock orders and his team always delivers promptly. I really get the sense that CBC cares about our business and they will go above and beyond to find the right solution — even going so far as to send sales representatives from their suppliers out to our site.” 

He concludes, “As a customer, there is not much more I could ask for from a supplier. I feel confident that no matter how great a challenge or how big of an ask, CBC would find a way to deliver to us.”  

Gates Super HC PowerBand Key Features and Benefits:

• The Tie Band assures high lateral rigidity, guiding the belt in a straight line and preventing it from coming off the drive

Concave sidewalls provide proper cord support and full contact with the sheave-groove for equal loading and uniform wear

Flex-Bonded Cords are strongly bonded to the body of the belt resulting in equal load distribution and the absorption of bending stress without cord deterioration

• Highly resistant to tensile and flexing forces, fatigue and shock loads

• High stability and smooth running on the toughest drives

• Temperature Range: -30°C to +60°C (-22°F to +140°F)

• Meets RMA oil and heat resistant standards

• Meets RMA static conductivity requirements

Size Range/Availability:

Large Inventory of standard lengths and widths are readily available. See sizing table for details

• Other belt lengths available on request