WHEN you think of flat packing, the first thing that comes to mind should be IKEA furniture but it’s the reality of how Miller Nitros and Morris air seeders are imported into WA.
The efficiency and flexibility of machinery being assembled in WA, rather than being shipped on an open air carrier or car carrier, has greatly improved the process of machinery distribution in WA according to Morris product manager at McIntosh Distribution Eliot Jones.
With Morris equipment shipped from Canada, Mr Jones said it was possible to fit two air seeder rigs in three sea containers.
“In a sea container we can fit two 40 foot bars or one 60 foot bar in one container with most of the carts in another container,” Mr Jones said.
And each Miller Nitro shipped from the United States would fit one per container.
“It’s a compact and efficient way to get machinery to WA and it’s also easier for us to build it for the customer rather than customising after the machine is built,” he said.
“Also the way things are shipped has improved greatly with production lines creating machinery that can be pulled apart to fit into a container without damaging the parts.”
Mr Jones said once the bars came out of the container they bolted together the legs and hooked up the hydraulics.
Then it’s sent to the branch where they attach the boots, points, hoses, air carts, press wheels and wings.
The air cart comes with the chassis, tanks and auger - all disconnected and the full cart is assembled in Perth with only a small amount of assembling required at the dealership.
“We can get a bar in and out in about a day,” Mr Jones said.
“We are quite lucky that we can continue to customise the air cart by interchanging the tow-behind and the tow-between with simply taking out a few bolts.
“The air carts vary in the time they come in and out because we do more custom building when it comes to tank arrangements.”
Each tank is individually shipped and can be attached to the frame, depending on the size.
“Our bin configuration depends on the size of the frame but we can attach up to four bins,” he said.
“We also attach liquids on the front of the two tank and three tank options.”
Mr Jones said another efficiency of the flat packing was better care of products.
“We used to respray the paint because of how it was packed in the containers and the amount of paint that was chipped,” he said.
“But now we are bringing them in on these custom-built panels, it’s more efficiently packed and safer as well.”
The Miller Nitro assembly takes a bit longer with more customisations possible with three Millers being built a week.
It takes two to three days from opening the sea container to getting it on the truck.
Mr Jones said the whole chassis was built when it was put in the sea container but they did a lot of customisation during local assembly.
“We have granny pots, boom options, spray options with spray air, different tyre options and tool boxes that all need to be considered when building the sprayer,” he said.
“We don’t alter the tanks which come on them.
“We order what we see fit in the current market and use that as a guide for our farmers and dealers to order from which becomes a balancing act of farmers’ needs and our stocks.”
At the McIntosh Distribution Centre, where Morris and Miller are constructed, there is a core group of staff.
But from October to April they have a lot of backpackers and people from farming backgrounds who help with assembly.
Mr Jones said they were now selling Nitros all year round and building them all year round, but with tillage equipment there was a surge in demand at this time of the year which required more staff.
“We are receiving about 24 sea containers a week with Morris air seeders and about six Miller Nitro containers a week,” he said.
“We receive about 200-300 containers a year and it averages out to about four a week.”