It’s the Pits

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The Superior team is busy delivering a marina for Portland, Victoria at the moment. This project gave us the opportunity to add another improvement to the product range with a custom designed services pit system. This is no ordinary pit as it was designed and executed by the whole team. The layout provides more internal space to handle larger cables and pipes and the aluminium mould was machined on the in-house CNC to allow smooth edges that limit concrete stresses. The mould also allows for reinforcing bolts to be screwed into the metal inserts in the plastic walls, thus strengthening the entire structure.

The pit lid was designed by Monkeypuzzle and has a tasteful non slip surface with easy access for servicing. We believe this unit has wide appeal for all concrete pit applications and will be made available to wider industry applications through the SuperiorWORK brand.

This whole unit was designed, drawn, CNC Machined, fabricated and rotomoulded within 2 weeks by the dedicated Superior team. This is an admirable effort to replace an outmoded design with new improved outcomes. The new pits use recyclable polyethylene to replace the old Aluminium versions. This initiative reduces our carbon footprint, boosts productivity, improves functionality for customers and proves once again the can do attitude at Superior. I am proud of the whole team the way they make these feats seem easy.

Here is a photo of a few of the crew with the new color matched pits. On the left Wayne Greenwell right Ram Raghuraman.

Regards,

John

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Floating berths as an sustainable necessity

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As part of delivering service to our international clients we travel frequently to remote locations. This is a valuable learning exercise as we are constantly being challenged as to our established beliefs of the way things are done in Australia. I first experienced this when in an orientation camp as a teenager about to go and live with another family overseas for a year. The wonderful people at the AFS exchange student program had a valuable lesson for us that I have never forgotten. When you find something that confronts you as just not what you expected, always remember that “it is not wrong, it is just different “. This lesson was in orientation from AFS, an organisation started after World War 1 to promote international understanding. It has been a powerful and enduring lesson.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I still recall this lesson often when I see things that seem strange. For example on a recent trip in Sri Lanka I saw marine berthing restarting in a country that has suffered 24 years of civil war. In the south of the country there are beautiful beaches around Mirissa and they have a whale watching industry. The local fishermen just raft up from a stone wall quay, however this tour operator had to provide customers with safe access off a rock wall. They made it happen with a Fibreglass pontoon that was only wide enough to berth the transom of the vessel. This pontoon was held in place with a line forward onto a sunken vessel, and rear over the rocks with a rubber thong to prevent chafing of the ropes. While it initially seems an unusual way to berth, it was nevertheless quite functional, stable and safe. This local solution is allowing valuable foreign tourism income to grow in Sri Lanka and we should never under estimate human inventiveness.

Come Friday I’ll be off travelling for a couple of weeks; some work and for the first time in a while a little R&R.¬† Until next time, stay safe.

John

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The berth of a new marina finger

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We have always looked for ways to make marine berthing easier for boaties. I love being on the water and remember my early attempts at boating when I really thought I had learned a lot about how to handle the vessel except when it came time to berth. I always loved the fact that the fuel dock had massive fenders, so even if I stuffed up a bit, the crash could not be heard by the punters up at Fishos pub. In fact like all boaties, the berthing task proved worrisome at first. I had to learn fast as my good friend Ron D’Albora had assigned me berth B23 right in front of a packed bar spilling over with judgemental gazes as we returned on a Sunday afternoon. Add to that a boatlift to navigate into as well, with 300mm on each side and the challenge and stress rose yet again.

As is usual your mates will always assist. I had good advice from my son Ryan ( the skipper) who said “just drive it as you can’t steer if you aren’t moving.”. The other great tip was from my mate Matt, who said, don’ t worry too much if you ding it, as it is only gelcoat and it’s fixable.

Over the years you do improve with practice. However sometimes wind and current conspire to still place your boat in an awkward spot, one in which you never intended to be. One of the worst of these is half way into a finger when you realize that contact is going to occur, whether you keep going in or out!

After being caught before we decided that our marine berths should be naturally soft on the vessel berthing surface and be somewhat forgiving of life’s nautical nuances. Therefore we added the Superior fender that makes the whole surface a shock absorber. However we still had the end of the finger that was an exposed risk area, with an angular shape just waiting to record every error with a sharp groove in your hull.

Therefore the FINGERTIP was born, and berths got better. Marinas now have arms, fingers and at last, fingertips. On the new project in progress at Capri on Via Roma we have featured all the fingers with beautifully moulded ends ready to guide boats into their berthing position. Darren, Dan and Steve in our factory have been crafting these Fingertips and they add a functional stylish statement to the facility.

This is design evolution with a need leading to better outcomes. Let me know if you want a set of Superior Fingertips at your marine berth.

John

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QME – Queensland Mining & Engineering show

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This week I attended the QME exhibition in Mackay which was a great opportunity to catch up with customers of our SuperiorWORK brand on the stand at the show grounds. This division of the Superior group delivers floating solutions and associated gangways and pipework to industrial clients. Having grown up on a farm near Mackay and spent time as a boilermaker at Newlands Coal many years ago, attending this show is always like coming home. The great thing is that we are able to add value to projects using our new flotation products specially designed for the mining industry, yet draw on the 25 years of experience from our marine division.

The show is bigger each time the bi annual event is held and the industry continues to provide leadership with workplace health and safety trends and innovative customer led new products. Impressive displays abounded however the Reed event could be improved with more signage including large printed numbers on the outside of each tent to show you which exhibits are inside that tent. Exhibitors and attendees waste a lot of time just finding their way around such a large show.

We launched the patented Razorback pipe clamp system at the show. This labour saving device allows the traditional concrete poured pipe sleeper to be eliminated and to have a premoulded base installed that can support the load or be concrete filled on site. A high visibility cover completes the product and locks the pipe in place.

We continue to gain great customer feedback at the shows as well as requests for new products. This feeds into our design led philosophy where we will desk top prototype the items and be guided by our customers to ensure we nail the concept, enrich the features and provide real winners in the field. This only happens when we work together to create smart products. We have already seen products with older life cycles become subject to strong competition from overseas. If we are to continue to provide quick turnaround times and local jobs, we must continue to innovate. We have engaged an industrial design team at Superior that makes this vision a reality however we are only ever as good as the feedback and relationships we have from customers.

We encourage you to participate is this user led design process to maintain Australian manufacturing expertise and to enrich the communities in which we live.

Until next time.

John

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Customer service

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I am writing this week as we have decided to go to the Sydney Boatshow with an exhibit similar to the major effort we do at Sanctuary Cove each year. This is an opportunity to interact better with our NSW based customers and show our wares. I am excited about our possibilities in this dynamic market right on the magnificent Sydney Harbour with a stunning display including the Sunstream 4.7 tonne Floatlift. We will exhibit our new range of sustainable products as well as be taking feedback on what customers want to see in future products.

The opportunity to make a difference is a great way to impact the marketplace to improve the ownership experience. I try to achieve this every day however I recently saw a great example that I would like to share. I have loved music ever since I first learnt the piano when I was very young. These days I still play guitar and recently I was reading about Bob Taylor from Taylor Guitars in California USA. He had a problem with the industry running short of a very scare resource, the wood used for the fingerboards. Have a look at the video on how he made a difference.

This is inspiring stuff and just as Bob has done we are working to improve our products from Superior in a similar way. Drop in at Sydney and tell us how you would like to see flotation products improved, or send me an email to attend one of our lunches specifically for customer feedback.
The next one is on August 10th on the Gold Coast and I am looking for volunteers right now. If you cannot be there in person we will Skype you in with our designers who are doing a great job.

Until we talk again.
All the best!

John

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Welcome to the new web page

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I want to start this blog with a welcome to our new web page format. A big thank you is also in order to Ross, Shane, Dan and all the team that designed, coded, wrote, and gathered content to make this web page a useful tool.

The aim of the new look is to provide an improved customer focus where we strive to present the information as you need to see it, simply and straight forward. There is much less clutter as we know you like to speak to someone directly who has the knowledge you need. Therefore have a quick browse, find what you’re after and call us. This is all part of our ACE program to provide an Amazing Customer Experience.

To make the ACE program work we have been out doing customer interviews and this has yielded results. We are now using this feedback in product design and you will see the results of this in some exciting new products this year. An example is the launch of our Sunstream Boatlifts dealership at Sanctuary Cove International Boatshow. This was a result of finding the best in class product and realizing that customers in Australia would love this along with great Superior service. Together with Sunstream we make a great team and you the customer will benefit.

I have recently returned from the Middle East after visiting our projects in Seychelles, Bahrain and UAE and to visit our office in Abu Dhabi as well. We are building up this division and as such there is a position available now on seek.com

The jobs there are larger than in Australia and this is an interesting growth market. Our team there is just completing 2 fishing Harbours for the Ministry of Works in Bahrain using our SuperElite Aluminium system. It looks great and is a very durable product that will provide years of low maintenance service.

Also within the group at Superior the Mining and Industrial products team is now launching their products under the SuperiorWORK banner. They have a stand #6214 at QME in Mackay next week. Drop and and say hello as I will be on the stand. We will have the complete range of pipe floats there along with a brand new product which will save lots of time and money for anyone installing piping systems.

Enough of the product infomercials, I hear you say.

In conclusion, I hope to continue a regular contribution to this blog focusing on our interests in marine, industrial, mining and water based infrastructure. We know water and we are committed to use this knowledge wisely to provide sustainable solutions to support work, play and life.

John Hogan
CEO

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