Made using quality, corrosion-resistant aluminium tube from BlueScope Distribution, Upton Engineering’s state-of-the-art centre pivot irrigation systems are in great demand not only across Australia but also around the world – with supply for yet another overseas project, this one for a customer in Saudi Arabia, currently in the pipeline.
Founded in 1944 in Corowa, a NSW town on the Murray River, Upton Engineering is a third- generation, family-owned company that has established itself as one of the most versatile and complete manufacturers of agricultural irrigation in Australia.
That’s not surprising when you consider the company’s deep roots in agriculture and the fact that Upton is a household name in
rural Australia as a result of their pioneering developments – first in heavy duty 2-wheel drive tractors and now in their renowned centre pivot irrigation equipment.
Centre pivot irrigation is a method of overhead sprinkler irrigation consisting of multiple sections of pipe joined together to create long spans, with sprinklers positioned along their length, which are supported by trusses and mounted on wheeled towers. Moving in a circular pattern, they are fed with water piped to the pivot point at the centre of the circle, and can be either fixed systems or can be specifically built as a completely moveable system which can be towed from one site to another using a tractor.
With experience unmatched by any other company, Upton Engineering manufactures fixed and towable centre pivot irrigation systems at their two-hectare industrial site in Corowa, producing machines that can irrigate areas from 10 hectares to 60 hectares in size under one ‘circle’.
Dedicated as they are to producing innovative, quality equipment with a service life and warranty exceeding other brands, it’s not surprising that Upton Engineering rely on quality products from BlueScope Distribution to manufacture their premier systems.
Key among these products is the marine grade, corrosion-resistant aluminium pipe, supplied by BlueScope Distribution since 1999, that Upton use to form the backbone of the main span section that carries water out to the sprinklers.
“Around where we live, underground water sometimes has salt in it which is very corrosive on galvanised steel pipes. That means a shorter life span, a faster depreciating asset and more cost to farmers, so we make equipment from superior corrosion-resistant materials and also engineer tailor-made solutions for specific needs, soil types and water conditions,” Paul Upton, managing director, said.
“The fact that we’ve been very successful in using aluminium on what might be termed slightly salty underground water has made our equipment extremely popular across Australia. We distribute machines basically to every state and even as far away as the north west of Western Australia, on the cattle stations, as the cattle market up there is booming because of the live export out of Broome to Asian markets.
“We’ve also recently been approached by another overseas pivot manufacturer to fabricate and supply pipes for their machines for delivery into Northern Africa,” he continued.
“That particular area they’re moving into has saltier water than they’re used to, and their galvanised pipes aren’t successful in that salty water, and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve approached us to fabricate and supply pipes by the container load to that market.”
Supporting Upton Engineering in delivering their highly durable irrigation systems across Australia and the world is the enduring relationship they have with BlueScope Distribution’s nearby Albury branch – and Market Development Manager, Brian Dowling – who supply the company with essential aluminium and steel components and technical advice.
“The aluminium we provide is mainly tube and plate to make their big irrigation systems, and we do supply steel; basically almost everything but the tyres,” Brian said.
“Paul got into aluminium quite a few years ago because it’s lighter, so the machine doesn’t have to work as hard and obviously it doesn’t corrode. To support Upton Engineering, I actually had our aluminium mill manufacture the dies for them, to the size and thickness they needed, and they’ve been held at the mill ever since, ready to supply product as required.
“Paul knows he can call on us at any time for anything Upton requires, because he knows that we’ve got Upton’s interests at heart,” Brian concluded.
“We feel we have a strong partnership with BlueScope Distribution; they’ve always been exceptional to us,” Paul Upton said. “Whether it’s unique product requirements or technical support I know that if I need anything, Brian and the team will do whatever it takes; they definitely look after us.
“Our business has a strong focus on placing customers’ needs first and developing long lasting relationships with them. From our experience, we know BlueScope Distribution is the same and that makes our partnership a very good fit.”