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Precision instrumentation – fifty years of expertise

By: Graham Smith
16 May, 2011

Back in the 1960s Ross Brown started his business selling general hardware products, fast forward fifty years and the man in charge is not the only thing to have changed.

Ross Brown started his business fifty years ago selling general hardware products; his son Graham now runs the company that bears his father’s name. Ross Brown Sales now supplies precision instrumentation to many of Australia’s emerging petrochemical, water treatment and oil and gas industries.

The company’s move into instrumentation started when it forged links with German pressure gauge company EMPEO and Ametek/US gauge in the 1960s. Ross Brown Sales still represents those companies along with more than a dozen other principals.

David Geraghty, director and general manager at Ross Brown Sales told Industrysearch.com.au that the product range had burgeoned over the last fifty years.

"We supply thermometers, electric motors, bearings, adhesives and filters but the majority of our business is still pressure gauges and process and control instrumentation," Geraghty said.

Some of the company’s strongest growth in recent years has come from servicing and calibration. David Brown is quality manager at Ross Brown Sales and he says the decline of Australian original equipment manufacturing has opened up opportunities.

"The OEM market that manufactures direct in Australia has reduced dramatically. The service market in the petrochemical and water treatment industry has really grown as a lot of the manufacturers have gone offshore," Brown said.

The company calibrates gauges in house to Australian standards.

"Often regular calibration is written into a client’s quality procedures," Brown said.

He explained that most instruments should be tested at least every year but that this is dependent on the conditions in which the gauge operates.

The more aggressive the service the earlier an instrument will fatigue, the resources sector, for example, is particularly tough on temperature and pressure instrumentation.

Geraghty told Industrysearch.com.au that this is where a reservoir of technical experience can pay dividends.

"An example of an aggressive service would be a process that is very hot. You could put a gauge on a process that is very hot, however without the relevant protection this gauge may too suffer from early fatigue," he said.

"That’s when we would offer our technical know-how and suggest using a capillary or pigtail siphon to separate the gauge from the hot process. We have very good technical people here who can help with unusual applications.

"We have certainly seen a lot of unusual and challenging projects over the years."

Geraghty anticipates healthy growth prospects for Ross Brown Sales to continue in oil and gas with liquified natural gas being a particularly exciting market.

"Our product is well tried and tested those big industries like to stick with what they know reliability and reputation are big factors in our business," he said.

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