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Load-Stools Take Guesswork Out Of Tanning

Auckland-based Pro Weigh Ltd is chasing lucrative sales in the United States after devising a new electronic weighing machine for tanneries.

The machine, called a load stool, accurately weighs the contents of tanning and dyeing drums.

Pro Weigh says it can be easily installed on existing drums, is cheaper than previous models and is more reliable.

The machine allows tanneries to drain hides in the drum down to a set weight.

The weight is read out on an electronic indicator attached to the load stool assembly.

“By knowing the correct weight at certain critical times in the process, tanneries can reduce costs and produce a better product,” managing director Craig Smith says.

“For some tanneries in the States, with 30 or so drums, savings and increased revenue achieved by using weighing technology can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

” The load stool sits under one of two large bearings that support a 30 tonne rotating hide-curing drum.

“The drum is just like a big washing machine,” Mr Smith says.

He says Pro Weigh has taken all of the traditional weak points out of its load stools “and produced a rugged and reliable device in what can be a harsh place – there are no bending, pivoting or moving parts to fail”.

Pro Weigh has sold one machine to a tannery in Texas and has a United States agent working on a sale of 20 more.

“Our agent believes the potential market for the machines is between 10 and 40 units a year,” Mr Smith says.

The units sell for about $10,000 each.

The machines were developed with funding assistance from Technology New Zealand, part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Pro Weigh also used testing facilities at Industrial Research Ltd.

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