Ripper success story

By: Harrison Hunkin

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Gessner Industries is tapping into overseas demand for its high-quality rippers, Harrison Hunkin reports

The Gessner Lewis Ripper with attachments
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Queensland-based manufacturer Gessner Industries is expanding its business overseas. Based out of Toowoomba, just under two hours’ drive from Brisbane, Gessner specialises in everything from agricultural machinery to construction and mining machinery.

The company has been pushing its brand here in Australia for decades, but recently has seen a large expansion of its business around the world, in particular its flagship Lewis ripper.

Over the past two years, Gessner has sent six to eight container loads of industrial attachments to south-east Asia – a move Gessner Industries director Michael O’Connor is obviously very pleased with. So, what is the Gessner Lewis ripper?

"The Lewis ripper has been around for more than 50 years," O’Connor says. "We build them as either a two-barrel or a four-barrel ripper."

Two barrel refers to the two hydraulic lift cylinders; the four barrel allows the ripper to have a variable pitch, so, instead of just going up and down, the ripper can turn. What sets the Gessner Lewis ripper apart from the rest is its weight and quality of material, according to O’Connor.

"A popular competitor’s ripper weighs around 1600kg. In comparison, our Lewis ripper weighs in at 2600kg – that’s a tonne more steel," he says.

"A standard competitor ripper can rip about 500mm deep; our Lewis ripper can rip 720mm deep. So when you’re going into extremely hard country, a standard ripper just simply won’t work."

The Lewis Ripper on the back of a Komatsu 65ex dozer

This rough and rugged personality of the Lewis ripper has led Gessner to deliver more than 10 D6R-compatable rippers to south-east Asia in the past three months.

"There was a job in Indonesia and they were tearing through D6 rippers – simply pulling the whole shank carrier off the back of the beam, so the company decided to buy our rippers," O’Connor says, adding that the Lewis rippers have been put to work in numerous roles.

"They are using them for some construction jobs, but mainly ground preparation for sugarcane plantations," he says. "They have a lot of rocky and uneven country so it’s all about preparing the ground.

"It surprised me at first: why they didn’t buy a product for half the price somewhere else? It’s expensive to manufacture here in Australia," O’Connor says. "But they want our product because we’ve made it very competitively priced.

"Our product has come down 25-30 per cent in price thanks to us working out how to build larger quantities without forsaking the quality of our products."

Gessner manufactures all its products in Toowoomba from Australian-made steel.

"We are seeing a real trend in Australian-made product," O’Connor says. "We are seeing our products, whether they are our rippers or agricultural products, finding homes in places like Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

"While we don’t have any dealers overseas, we are finding that people are willing to fly here to look at our equipment to send back to their country. We are capable of designing and engineering products to customers’ requirements."

O’Connor also says Gessner is making its mark in Africa: "We’ve sent a number of our sugarcane products over to counties like Zimbabwe and Mauritius."

Gessner’s dozer rippers feature high-tensile, wear-resistant shanks and replaceable ground-engaging boots, which the company says reduces the risk of worn-out equipment and repair costs.

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