The regional Queensland city of Bundaberg was largely built on its sugar industry, with extensive sugarcane fields, mills, refineries, and packaging and distribution plants all contributing to the city’s economy. One of the stalwarts of the region is Greaves Enterprises.
More than 45 years of farming expertise has enabled Greaves to deliver reliable, economic and efficient machinery to the sugar industry and other 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 have been articulated machines, and last year we designed and built the next generation: the R-Sseries (rigid 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, which don’t survive well in the harsh environment we operate in and many modern tractors have a short life expectancy and a low resale value. We have a client finally re-powering 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 the field getting the job done.
“The speed factor of the R-Series greatly helps with managing operating cost efficient 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 in 1992 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 likes Greaves are creating jobs and driving innovation in primary production.