EPSA and Cat® support three generations of industry machinery developers

The city of Bundaberg was largely built on its sugar industry. Extensive sugarcane fields, mills, refineries, and packaging and distribution plants all contribute to the city’s economy and one of its stalwarts is Greaves Enterprises who have almost 50 years of providing reliable, economic and efficient machinery to the region’s primary producers. And, since the very beginning, Cat® has been part of the Greaves family.

Launching the Greaves R-Series cane transporter with a Cat C9 engine in 2013, Cameron Greaves and his brother Ben form the third generation committed to the design and innovation of reliable machinery for the industry. Cameron works in the drafting office designing 3D models of machinery and Ben is a boilermaker.

“It is great that we still have all three generations contributing to the design process,” says Cameron. “My grandfather Merv was building equipment and machinery in the 1960s and was involved in the development of the early mechanical cane harvester and the first Greaves Transporter manufactured in 1969. My father Paul carried on the tradition and designed a new model Greaves Transporter in 1994. All our previous transporters were articulated machines, and in 2013 we designed and built the next generation—the R-series.”

The cane transporter receives billets (small pieces of harvested cane) that, when at capacity, run to a drop-off point of rail bins that are pulled by locomotive to the sugar mill. The Greaves advantage is that “we are the only self-propelled cane transporter manufacturer still left in Australia,” says Cameron.

“Our competition are tractors towing a trailer that don’t survive well in the harsh environment we operate in and many modern tractors have a short life expectancy and low resale value. We had one client who finally re-powered his three Greaves Transporters after 17 years of continuous service who says he would have been through at least nine tractors over this period. With minimal wearing parts and minimal downtime, more time is spent in field getting the job done.”

“The speed factor of the R-Series greatly helps with managing operating cost efficiencies because it can legally travel at speeds of 65 kilometres per hour, whereas most tractors have a top legal speed of 40 kilometres per hour. Comfort is also paramount in our design, providing a smoother ride and reducing fatigue for operators.”

The relationship between Greaves and EPSA dates back to the advent of EPSA but Greaves has been working with Caterpillar since the very beginning.

“My grandfather was putting Cat 3160 engines into cane harvesters in 1970 and Cat 3208 engines into the Greaves Transporter from 1972,” says Cameron.

“We trust Caterpillar as an engine and the service of EPSA. We need full confidence in our engines and service as the machine could go to the other side of the country, and we know Caterpillar’s serviceability will back up our product.”

EPSA’s Grant Taylor says it is great to support family businesses in regional Australia, explaining that small manufacturers like Greaves are creating jobs and driving innovation in primary production.

“The R-Series can also be used in other areas of farming and primary production as it was designed as a cab chassis to enable customers to place other equipment like chaser bins and liquid fertiliser manure spreaders,” says Grant.

The Greaves R-Series embodies a futuristic design with productivity-boosting features and advantages to deliver superior strength and rigidity without excess weight. It is powered by a Cat 300 horsepower C9 engine that boasts excellent power-to-weight ratio to improve turnaround times.

Read a Case Study on industrial engines in an agricultural application here.