Adaptability Keeps DC Ross on Track
Stopping a 4,000 ton train isn’t something just any engineering company can do but DC Ross make parts that help to do just that every day. Better known for manufacturing safety-critical parts for the global automotive industry, DC Ross have recently secured a contract with Bradken to make braking components for Kiwi Rail trains.
Bradken are a global engineering company servicing heavy industries from the rail industry to mining, steelmaking to power generation. With operations across Australasia, the Americas, Europe and Asia, part of their New Zealand work involves the supply of freight wagon brakes to Kiwi Rail for use across the network. DC Ross has been working with Bradken for over a decade, making tooling for them and KiwiRail. This prior knowledge gave DC Ross the opportunity to grow the relationship with Bradken and take on the manufacture and assembly of brake shoe components, requiring expansion and adaptability.
Production and Quality Assurance Manager Andrew Nicolson explains, “We understood Bradken’s requirements from working on their tooling needs. This gave us the edge over other companies and we worked closely with them to adapt to their needs”. A number of changes were required; KiwiRail supplied a regular stamping press which had to be stripped back and set up to ensure it satisfied DC Ross’ quality standards, the assembly process had to be established and all of this had to work in around DC Ross’ operations.
“Bradken specialise in large scale, heavy-engineering, casting and machining the brake shoes for freight and passenger wagons and for a variety of locomotives.” Andrew explains, “The brakes internal mesh packs are more intricate components requiring precision rather than scale and that’s what we provide at DC Ross”. Despite being a departure from DC Ross’ regular business of fine blanking, it is their ability to adapt processes to fit any job that sets them apart. Andrew continues, “When manufacture and assembly are under the same roof you see how refinements to manufacture can streamline the assembly process, saving a small amount of time on each piece can make significant difference to the overall job”.
Once complete the assembled units go to Bradken for casting and attachment to the wagons with safety guaranteed. With help from key suppliers Vulcan steel, Wakefield Metals and Fletcher Steel the initial run was completed in just three months. The relationship is set to continue with more orders under way.
Brake part components ready for assembly
Completed internal mesh packs ready for supply to Bradken