As Craig Johnson, a mechanical team leader at one of the world’s largest zinc smelters, Nyrstar, leads his team through everyday challenges of lifting heavy rigging equipment and supplies, he knows he can rely on the quality of the lifting products the team puts to work: The Titan range of lifting and rigging products.

“The quality and reliability of Titan’s products is excellent, I can’t fault them,” says Craig.

A mechanical fitter by profession, Craig leads a 12-member team of tradespeople that help maintain machinery within Nyrstar Hobart’s electrolysis and casting department. 

As a global multi-metals business and a leader in producing zinc and lead front, Nyrstar employs close to 4,000 people across its mines, smelters and operations in Europe, the United States and Australia. 

In Australia, Nyrstar has two operating plants, one in Hobart Tasmania, and another in Port Pirie South Australia. The Nyrstar Hobart plant, where Craig works, is one of the world’s largest zinc smelters in terms of production volume, focusing on high value-added products, including a special high-grade zinc (SHG), die-cast alloys (branded ‘EZDA’) and continuous galvanizing grade (CGG) alloys. In addition, the site also makes by-products of copper sulphate, gypsum and sulphuric acid.

Craig’s team of maintenance professionals in the electrolysis and casting department use products such as Titan’s lifting chain slings, chains blocks, shackles and plate clamps for rigging purposes, including shafts, pumps, steel-work fabrication and pipework in the plant. 

For Craig, the reliability of the lifting products is defined not just by how rigorously they are tested and certified, but also by the availability of on-going supply and service. Fortunately, this part is well-covered through a long-standing collaboration between Allan Marketing Group – the company behind the Titan lifting products – and Motion Asia Pacific’s businesses in Tasmania, WebsterBSC.

“At Nyrstar, it’s critical that the products we use are reliable, safe, are available when we need them and are well serviced,” says Craig. “Titan fulfills this requirement. They are an
all-round service provider, they offer in-house testing, and they are flexible in responding to the company’s needs in-case we have an equipment failure. They can supply the products we need in a hurry,” says Craig.

“WebsterBSC and Titan provide an excellent service, they’re reliable and if we need replacement products, they can deliver them quickly,” he adds.

What goes behind ensuring the reliability of Titan lifting products is best explained by John Di Michelle, General Manager at Allan Marketing Group. 

As a supplier of heavy lifting equipment such as chain blocks and lever blocks to industries such as mines and quarries, John says safety is a key aspect of Titan Lifting Technologies and its products. This is incorporated in the company’s choice of products on offer – including chain, shackles, chain blocks and lever blocks with load protection as a safety mechanism – as well as in the rigorous tests and quality assurance practices the company follows.

“Our testing process is among the most rigorous in the industry and it’s all to ensure that no sub-standard products are allowed in the market,” says John.

“There’s no ‘close enough is good enough.’ Regardless of where the products are imported from, we ensure that they undergo quality assurance testing to meet all the specifications and comply with Australian standards. We also have a good relationship with our manufacturers, and we regularly visit them overseas. Most of the manufacturers we source products from are ISO-9000 accredited, so they have their own certification. Being a full member with the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) means we must comply with certain criteria of this industry association. There is also a LEEA requirement to have our staff trained and examined in lifting and rigging. We do all of this to ensure we are a leader in the quality assurance side of things,” John adds.

Moreover, John says the focus on stocking more of the lifting products onshore in Australia has helped the company better support heavy industries like mining.

“We have recently expanded our chain range. We used to import a lot of mining chains in bulk for customers but now we are actually stocking them. Because we know that the buying patterns have changed, even mining sites may not buy them in bulk anymore, they buy as they need, so we are stocking a lot more chain than we did in the past. Over the last year, with disruptions in supply, we have been able to keep supporting our customers with additional warehouse space and we are even planning to double our storage capacity by end of this year. So when it comes to supply, we have our customers covered,” John concludes.

The WebsterBSC branch in Hobart’s Derwent Park has been supporting Nyrstar since 1916. While Nyrstar has gone through substantial growth over the years, including a major acquisition by Trafigura in late 2019, the Derwent Park WebsterBSC branch has been able to keep up. 

In addition to the lifting products, this has included a diverse range of bearings and power transmission products from WebsterBSC’s trusted suppliers. 

Apart from being key suppliers to the Nyrstar Hobart plant, Craig says, what sets WesbterBSC apart as a supplier is their technical knowhow. 

“The WebsterBSC team do all of our load testing. They test the lifting equipment from each department and certify and tag them so we can continue to work with them safely. They keep a register of the equipment we purchase, which makes it really helpful when we restock their products,” says Craig.

He even goes on to specifically mention John Shreeve, the lifting specialist from WebsterBSC Derwent Park that assists Nyrstar with on-site testing and tagging of lifting equipment. 

“Our experience working with the [WebsterBSC] team has been excellent and they’re always responsive to our needs. John, who we work with at the local branch, is very knowledgeable and professional,” says Craig.  

WebsterBSC State Sales Manager Eddie Lawrence says the team at the Derwent Park branch are all well-qualified to offer expertise around lifting safety practices.  

“On numerous occasions, the WebsterBSC team have helped Nyrstar with problem-solving. This includes providing special marine chain slings for lifting the salt water pumps in a highly corrosive environment, offering special single leg stainless steel chain slings for use with the water pond pumps and, more recently, the supply of an electric winch to help move and fit large conveyor chains into place,” says Edward.

“All of these are where [customers like Nyrstar] require their lifting partner to be at best practice in the field of lifting to keep people safe with quality products and testing processes, to ensure zero failures occur.  Our NATA accreditation ensures we are on top of best practices in this area and our highly experienced staff can offer support and design for all the lifting challenges our customers may throw at us.”