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Engineer’s loader demonstrates Kiwi ingenuity

Masterton engineer Stuart Day of Daytech Engineering has recently exported a custom-built piece of machinery for loading soda ash into trucks for transport and has an order to make another.

Dubbed the 4700 Soda Loader, the first machine has now been installed for an Australian company in Geelong, south of Melbourne, while the second is being built for a warehouse in Adelaide.

According to Day, he first built a soda loader about 12 years ago, and despite information about it “sitting on the very last page of the Daytech website”, the Geelong-based company found it noticed it and got in touch late last year to order one of the machines.

“We got the go-ahead on November 17 last year for us to build it,” Day said.

“The one we built 12 years ago took three and a half months, but they told us they wanted this before Christmas, so we had to build it in four and a half weeks.”

Day noted that Daytech was able to meet this tight deadline with the support of other local businesses that were able to provide electrical expertise as well as painting and sandblasting services and specialist hydraulic equipment work.

“With this support, we were able to hit the four and a half week deadline,” he said.

Soda ash – another term for sodium carbonate – is a fine white powder used for processes for making glass products, cleaning agents, and even certain cooking additives.

A bucket loader scoops up the substance from piles on the warehouse floor and drops it into a hopper at one end of the machine, which then drops down to a tabulator – a conveyor belt inside a concealed tube that takes the product up high enough to be dropped into the transporter trucks.

“This machine is capable of moving one ton per minute of soda ash,” he said.

“It is a useful piece of equipment.”

Day is delighted with the result and said he is “happy to bring back more Kiwi ingenuity”, noting that he’d “received a comment from the Aussies saying they were quite impressed that a company from New Zealand was able to build this machine.”

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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