Lakeland Steel has been a leader in the design and manufacture of custom conveying systems for the New Zealand logging industry since 1976. While the company originated in the forestry sector, they now offer custom-built materials handling equipment and end-to-end engineering solutions for sawmills as well as bulk material handling and scrap metal companies.

“We pride ourselves on our bespoke design capabilities for complex briefs where unique solutions are required,” says Cory Leatherland, Lakeland Steel owner. “Because of the complexity of our solutions, it is crucial that our parts suppliers have the technical expertise to understand our requirements, provide high-quality products and offer insights outside of our own capabilities.”

In Bonfiglioli, Lakeland Steel not only found a reliable heavy-duty parts supplier, but also a regular project collaborator. The company was impressed by the technical know-how and prompt customer service.

“We had worked with other suppliers in the past, but as time went on, we began to increasingly steer our customers towards Bonfiglioli because of the levels of service and technical expertise that we received,” says Leatherland. “Now we use Bonfiglioli gearboxes – unless the customer specifies otherwise.”

Bonfiglioli’s 300M Series ticks all the boxes

“Our partnership with Lakeland Steel begins at the design stage. Here, we are able to is customise our solutions down to the exact specification of the brief,” says Paul Savage, New Zealand sales manager.

“As a customer, this early-stage assistance is invaluable – you’re going into the project with the specifications you need to ensure successful completion” adds Leatherland.

Lakeland Steel uses 300M Series industrial planetary gearmotors for a range of heavy-duty applications including:

  • Roller conveyers
  • Belt conveyers
  • Stacking systems
  • Live floor hoppers
  • Hoists
  • Infeed systems

“The timber industry is extremely demanding on products and the 300M Planetary Series is robust enough to operate without downtime. The customisable 300M Series is ideally suited to a range of industries and applications because of its modular design,” says Savage.

Other features that make the 300M Planetary Series well-suited to the requirements of Lakeland Steel include:

  • Top-class flexibility achieved by multiple outputs
  • Input configurations available for all 20 sizes of the Planetary gearbox
  • Higher shock load capacity
  • Higher load distribution
  • Higher transmissible torque
  • Up to 20% higher reduction ratios
  • Low maintenance costs

Unique access to global insights and partnerships

“With Bonfiglioli we truly get the best of both worlds: local stockholding, great customer service and the benefits of global expertise from a multinational,” says Leatherland. “The Bonfiglioli New Zealand team is small but agile – if we experience a breakdown, we often receive same-day service and someone from the team will arrive on-site to do what it takes to get the equipment back up and running or deliver a part.”

Leatherland also notes that the company prefers to work with suppliers who can provide insights that help aid the design process. “Over the course of our relationship with Bonfiglioli, Paul has recommended gearboxes and mounting arrangements that we had not previously been familiar with and offered technical advice based on global applications he had seen within the Bonfiglioli group.”

Bonfiglioli’s global presence – particularly in Australia – has also been helpful to Lakeland Steel as the company has gone through a period of significant expansion. “We are looking to take on more Australian projects and it has been comforting to know that we will be able to experience the same quality of products and level of customer service when working with Bonfiglioli Australia,” he says.

While the New Zealand timber industry is booming, Australia took a significant knock from the bushfires of 2019, with experts estimating that up to 100,000 hectares or 10% of the country’s softwood plantations were destroyed by the devastating fires.

The sector is also recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which suppressed demand for timber.

Lakeland Steel’s long-term relationship with Bonfiglioli New Zealand makes them uniquely positioned to capitalise on this strategic opening.

“Not only do we have the capability to increase output while retaining quality standards because of the production advantages offered by using the 300M Planetary Series, but we have the peace of mind of dealing with a supplier across borders who are familiar with our requirements,” he says.