TYPICALLY, it begins with a phone call or email early in the morning, even before Tony Ferencakovic has time to open up shop.
Such is the popularity and reputation of his custom fabrication company, Tony’s Engineering, that he has become first port of call for firms looking for that urgent or necessary modification.
Australian Mining Review spoke to Tony about his WA-based business, which provides product development, fabrication and repair services to the mining and construction industries in Perth and across Australia & overseas.
While Tony’s Engineering specialises in producing, rebuilding and repairing items such as loader blades, excavator buckets, face shovel buckets, dozer blades, and excavator booms, the demand is particularly strong for customised water tanks and attachments, which are of course used widely on mine and construction sites for dust suppression and potable applications.
“Yes, the calls come early and fast, especially for water tanks,” Tony said.
“We will get queries asking if we can fabricate a water tank to suit various types of trucks, usually a Cat, Volvo, Hitachi, Bell or a Komatsu,” he said.
“The client will always state how many litres it wants the water tank to hold, then we work out how many Magnum spray heads would be required: three, five or seven-head configurations.
“The client will usually ask for three on the rear spray bar, rear top left or right batter sprays, along with the front top left or right-hand batter spray heads.
“I would ask if they require a rear dribble bar along with a front-mounted recessed water cannon, which enables the water truck to be transported without the need to remove the water cannon.”
Different types of trucks will have different chassis and rear mounting points to fit the water tank to, along with the front holding mounts which hold the tank down to the chassis.
Tony’s Engineering makes tanks to fit all the various models of articulated dump trucks as required.
“We cannot remove a water tank from one truck, then try to install to another model, as it simply won’t fit,” Tony said.
From go to flow
Once the instructions for water tank style are received from the client, they are forwarded on to Tony’s team of skilled draftsmen, which gets to work creating designs and drawings.
“When these are completed, the client is sent a copy to review and accept that all is correct to his recommendation,” Tony said.
“When the client accepts the drawings, we send off all AutoCAD schematics to the steel company to have all parts cut, pressed and rolled as per the drawings.
“Once all parts are returned, we start the assembly process to fabricate the water tank, flux core welding wire is only used.
”When completed, the water tank is shipped out to the paint shop, where it is blasted with an abrasive class 2.5 blast outside and in the interior, the inside is painted with an epoxy mastic liner.”
The exterior receives an epoxy zinc primer/two-pack polyurethane top coat to suit the manufacture colour while the rear spray bar/dribble bar pipe work is all hot dipped galvanised.
“Once paint work is completed, the client will deliver the articulated truck to my premises, and from there we fully install the tank to the truck,” Tony said.
“Only premium parts are used on the water tanks.
“I have a team of electricians/hydraulic fitters who will put together all parts to have this assembled ready for testing.
“All electrical braid wiring fitted to the water tanks have exceptional weathering performances, including moisture, abrasion, fire and engine fluid resistance along with Deutsch series fittings. All lights used on the water tanks are LED lighting.
“We install a cab control box which has all its controls to operate all functions, like the spray heads, rear dribble bar, and front mounted water cannon.”
The cab control box includes a water level gauge where the driver can see how much water is in the water tank at all times.
There’s a rear-mounted water sensor that cuts out the water pump when the water is low to stop any water pump damage.
“We also have installed a water level site glass outside the water tank so the driver can view from the cab or when re-filling,” Tony said.
“As well, a rear-mounted water hose reel is attached to be used for various functions on the mine site.
“When the water truck is fully assembled, we proceed to fill the water tank with water, then we calibrate the cab water level gauge and proceed to test all functions.
“The articulated water truck is run through all its operating functions to ensure all electrical and hydraulics are in working order prior delivery to the client.
“Final stage is to install all company and safety decals to the water truck to complete the build.”
Bucket cylinder guards
There are many other achievements when it comes to Tony’s customisations and creations.
“I’m particularly proud of a bucket cylinder guard, which was designed by my draftsmen,” Tony said.
“We went through the process to have a patent placed on these bucket cylinder guards.
“Basically we installed a cylinder clamp to the hydraulic cylinder, and a top cover that slides when the cylinder is extending, which protects the chrome rod.
“This feature protects the chrome rod from being damaged when working in harsh environments on mine sites.
“These are made only for Hitachi machines to suit models EX1200, EX1900, EX2600, EX3600 and EX5600.”
Tony’s Engineering sells these guards Australia-wide, while some have also been shipped to overseas clients.
Clients like Rio Tinto, BHP, FMG and NRW purchase these parts for all of their Hitachi excavators on site.
Tony’s Engineering was established in 1990, quickly developing a reputation for high quality workmanship and fast turnaround times. It has been hailed for its ability to design and develop many specialised attachments and fabricated assemblies for customers,
with an emphasis on problem-solving, getting results and providing excellent service.
“I have been working for myself since 1990 and since then, for example, we have made numerous buckets; we can accommodate any loader/excavator bucket fabrication,” Tony said.
“Over the years, the products have ranged from small construction buckets to the large CAT 994 bucket, along with larger excavator buckets to a Hitachi EX3600.
“We install hardened steel to certain areas of the buckets to minimise down time, which will stop production of the machine.
“We only use flux core welding wire on our bucket fabrication.
“All buckets are made to suit different requirements for the client, which are designed in our office.
“We fabricate all types of buckets to suit models such as Cat, Hitachi, Komatsu, John Deere, Volvo, Kobelco and Samsung.”
Tony also makes replacement and new specialised blades for track dozers, wheel dozers and graders.
The company engineers offer a specialised solution to all blade requirements, as well as a full wear plate package to extend blade life and minimise downtime to machines in the harshest of working conditions.
Another feather in Tony’s cap is the company’s production of fully certified safety stands made from heavy duty steel.
Designed for a large range of mining and construction machines, they are built to be moved around the work area by forklift or by Tony’s Engineering purpose-designed trolley, and are designed and built to suit any application, ranging from 20t to 150t.
As well, Tony manufactures tyre inspection rack stands, which are fully certified to Australian Standards for the inspection of large tyres for any damage or deterioration.
Sizes range from loaders to dump trucks.