Established in 1975, Brentwood Recycling was created with the purpose of manufacturing heavy trailers used to carry large industrial equipment. Within two years, the business developed into having over 40% of the Australian market in this industry. By 1980, Brentwood Recycling was now a significant size business, with a reputation of offering quality products and specialty design. “It was on the back of that when we developed our manufacturing facilities here in Unanderra, which we are still in.” Advises Graham Badman, then a Trainee Engineer and now Managing Director of Brentwood Recycling.
“In 1979 we saw a need for the shredding and disposal of tires. We found an American company who had originally developed a design in Germany for the production of a range of machines that were capable of shredding tires amongst lots of other purposes.” Explains Graham. “We negotiated a license arrangement to manufacture and distribute those products in Australia and New Zealand.” As a result, Brentwood developed the ability to put several shredders together along with other machinery to supply and install plants. “Over the years, we have built plants for various types of solid waste processing including paper shredding and sorting, commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition waste, food separation tires and fuel.” He states. With the ability to build such a large variety of turn-key plants, paired with over 40 years of experience, Brentwood quickly became one of Australia’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of recycling and waste processing machinery.
The trailer business was sold in 1988 to allow the business to concentrate on the waste and recycling sector. “Starting from a bit before that time, we have also supplemented the products manufactured from our own facility with some agency lines from American and European companies.” Says Graham. These machines fall in the areas of shredders, scrap metal recycling, composting technologies, copper cable recycling as well as polystyrene processing.
Brentwood has not only selected quality products from agencies, but also have their own products and handle plants as well. With their most developed product range being shredding machines, Brentwood holds a wealth of expertise and experience in this category. From slow speed dual, quad and single shaft rotating drum shredders, Brentwood Recycling offers machines that can be used in a great variety of industries including security paper shredding, cardboard manufacturing, tire and plastics recycling, timber destruction as well as in medical waste treatment plants.
The company’s imported agency lines include a range of machinery to work with copper cable recycling, to cable striping or cutting, right down to shredding or perforating cardboard sheets to be used as environmentally friendly packaging or void fill material. “Brentwood is proud to offer products from and represent these reputable manufacturers in Australia.” States Badman. The list includes Redoma from Sweden and Bronneberg from the Netherlands amongst others. Brentwood also offers Metso, a Danish manufacturer of heavy duty industrial shedders.
“We are often required to develop unique solutions for one particular client, which we accomplish using experience we have developed over the years. Firstly, we have to identify whether or not it’s possible, then endeavour to do trial testing on machines similar to the machine that we believe to be appropriate. Only after applying these results to our range of shedders do we then work on a final outcome.” Explains Graham. Taking factors such as capacity and power requirements into consideration, Brentwood uses mathematical algorithms which they developed in house to complete this lengthy process.
“Years of development have gone into these practises. Once we figure out if it’s possible, we then find the ideal machine to match with the unique characteristics, then tailor it to the client’s needs. It can be a very long process, but one we are used to doing.” States Graham.
“Our philosophy is to always continue to develop a better product, which reduces maintenance costs and provides an extended life for the machine. We also seek to find the right balance between cost and quality. We draw from our different machines from different industries to improve our product.” Explains Graham. In servicing their clients, Brentwood maintains availability of spare parts for their machines, new or old. They also train their service technicians in house on the manufacturing line before they go out. As opposed to others who rarely see their machines, one of Brentwood’s advantages is the sheer volume they deal with, allowing their staff to be trained quickly.
Using computer controlled machine tools and 3D modelling, Brentwood is able to manufacture machines extremely efficiently. This is achieved using a computer program to instruct the tools, which provides a high quality output. Brentwood reuses and recycles all their packaging materials and in regards to parts, the company purchases items such as low friction gears and high efficiency motors to avoid wasted power. “These factors combined provide enormous benefits in producing and designing our machines. They also reduce costs and post manufacturing changes.” Advises Graham.
“The development of our own shredders started with a license. Within a short number of years we found significant improvements which could be made from an engineering point of view, directly related to maintenance and durability. It started out as changes but then as time went on we created completely new designs and new machines. We now have the leading design of shredders, as various companies have suggested that was the case. From a manufacturing and design standpoint, that’s a great achievement.” Says Badman proudly. In 2008, Brentwood built a massive waste processing plant for SITA. Being one of the largest waste processing plant in the country, this project doubled the size of the company for 12 months and is an enormous achievement and highlight for Brentwood.
Graham goes on to explain the importance of industry relationships for Brentwood. “Our long term relationships within the industry have always been strong. This develops trust, knowledge and ultimately produces better products. We have maintained long term relationships with all our major suppliers for motors, electrical equipment and gearboxes. This also goes for our clients, who we ensure understand how their machines work, their maintenance costs or any particular issues they might have. This is all for the betterment of our product and ultimately our clients. We work hard to be as close as we can and look to use our agreements and major service rebuilds as a tool to keep in contact, which yields benefits for everyone. Associations such as the Waste Management Association, which clients or suppliers might be members of, are a great conduit for communication across the industry.”
With a company name which includes the word “recycling”, Brentwood strives to improve business not only for the people, but also for the environment. “We have a desire to eliminate as much reliance on landfills as possible and to open possibilities for the use of thermal fuel. One issue with this, is being able to financially afford it. Across the world, this is very often supported by government input or grants, but with a large country and a small number of people, Australia has significant higher challenges compared to other countries. There is a lot of work and discussion taking place, but the financial realization of thermal or energy plants is the biggest challenge we are facing in the waste and recycling industry.” Explains Graham.
Joining the company in 1977 as a Trainee Engineer, Graham Badman started his Brentwood career working on the factory floor. He progressively worked his way through the company and was involved in all facets of the business, from servicing, engineering, design, manufacturing through to senior management. As Managing Director, he is still very involved in many sectors, to ensure that the Brentwood philosophy is executed as it needs to be. “Fortunately, we are small enough to gather that attention to detail. Having a background in mechanical engineering, sales has benefited through some of the unique applications in our shredders and turn-key provision of the plants.” Says Graham.
Now in the industry for over 40 years, Brentwood continues to deliver high quality products and support for clients who purchase these products. “Being able to provide a spare part for a machine that was sold 35 years ago holds us in a high regard in the marketplace. This is something that is only possible because we are a manufacture.” Advises Graham. He finishes the interview off with some insight regarding present challenges within the industry, stating “Our countries access to global markets has opened up a lot of opportunities and made other aspects harder for a manufacturer. I get great satisfaction from the surprise responses from many of our clients, when they find out we actually do manufacturer in Australia, something I think is becoming less and less common. A genuine concern for the future is, can Australian manufacturing maintain a presence in our market. I believe it can, but it has to make changes and adapt. These are the challenges that we look forward to and endeavour to seek some rewards from.”