Canetec’s Bundaberg designed and manufactured cane harvesters are well known internationally but the company has recently made its most significant local sale after years of consultation with regional farmers.
Canetec general manager Glenn Soper said the first two AX9000 models to come off the production line were snapped up by Bundaberg Region buyers.
“They are a development over many, many years where we’ve come up with this unique combination of durability plus performance,” Mr Soper said.
“We’ve listened to a lot of local farmers all up and down the east coast to make sure these are putting out the best results.
“These machines help with regard to the low ash, low fibre but still maintain the high CCS (commercial cane sugar) results.”
The development of Canetec’s AX9000 model also involved collaboration with Sugar Research Australia.
Mr Soper said the new model featured significant changes in the electrics, functionality, responsiveness and luxury in the cabin – even featuring a refrigerator for smoko!
Based in Bundaberg North, Canetec undertakes high-tech advanced manufacturing with a local team. Research and development, engineering, manufacturing and fabrication are all carried out on site.
“For us they’re something that is locally made,” Mr Soper said.
“From the back to the front they are produced in house here.”
While Cantetec has sold many harvesters to Japan and Thailand, Mr Soper said they were particularly excited about the prospect of breaking in to the domestic market with these custom-built machines.
“We’ve put a few machines out in to the domestic market but this is certainly our first machine that we’ve worked with the farmers to get a true fit-for-purpose machine,” he said.
“It’s fantastic in that sugar cane farmers talk to each other.
“We’re hoping that word of mouth will get around about how good these machines are and how well they perform and how reliable they are.”
Harvesting contractor says Canetec AX9000 best yet
Garry Walk has been harvesting cane in the Bundaberg Region for 40 years.
He’s not only one of the locals that provided key feedback to the new design, he’s also one of the lucky new owners of a Canetec AX900 harvester.
“It’s a lighter machine,” Mr Walk said.
“In wet weather it carries across the ground.
“It’s better on fuel and a little bit more modern.”
He said he was thinking about retiring but the prospect of providing input into the design of this new machine encouraged him to keep at it.
“I wanted to see this get going. They’re getting better and better they are,” he said.
Mayor Jack Dempsey visited Canetec as the final touches were placed on the new AX9000 models on the production line.
He said it was rewarding to see local businesses performing well locally and internationally, supporting manufacturing, jobs and growth.
“Canetec is taking innovation and technology to the world and all of in Bundaberg are certainly proud of these new harvesters that are designed here with advice from local growers,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“It just goes to show that Bundaberg is meeting the highest standards for all stakeholders.
“Bundaberg has the skilled manufacturing workers to take this operation and other operations similar to these to even higher lengths right across the region.”
Proud Bundaberg history
Canetec has been operating in Bundaberg North for about a decade but Mr Soper said the site had a proud heritage of designing and building cane harvesters.
Before Canetec took over the site it was owned and operated by AusToft.
“We have five directors who were proud of what was happening in this facility,” he said.
“They’ve continued that lineage, that heritage of producing harvesters out of here.
“We’ve got a lot of workers that used to work for AusToft so we’ve retained a lot of that skill.”
Mr Walk was keen to see that history continue, so much so that Mr Soper said he even requested the traditional AusToft green and gold colouring for the Canetec AX9000 model.
“It’s something that he believes in very much.”
Mr Walk said he had owned a number of AusToft harvesters in his time.
“I have the last case harvester that was built in Bundaberg for AusToft,” he said
“It’s the only one I’ve got left now.”