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Chinese covet Hofmann's eye-catching gear

December 19, 2012

Amazing gear: Hofmann Engineering employees and clients pose on the steel mill gear bound for a Chinese copper grinding mill. Picture: Michael Wilson

WA's Hofmann Engineering has provided a reminder of the capabilities of Australian precision engineering industry by turning out an eye-catching gear for use in China.

Manufactured at Hofmann's Bassendean factory, the forged steel mill gear is believed to be the world's biggest, boasting an external diameter of 13.2m and weighing 73.5 tonnes.

It will transmit 17,000kW when driven by two 9-tonne pinions, also made by Hofmann.

The completed gear set is bound for the grinding mill of an unidentified copper mine in China.

Family-owned Hofmann was founded by German immigrants and brothers John and Erich Hofmann in Perth 43 years ago.

It now employs more than 600 in WA, the east coast and offshore, manufacturing precision mining equipment components for domestic and export markets.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured the Bassendean plant during CHOGM in October last year, lauding Hofmann as an example of innovative Australian industry.

The company's initiatives have included development of a price competetive process to use forged steel for gearing, enabling the company to make stronger, longer-life products than those made by conventional cast-steel methods.

-- Sean Smith

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