by John Curnow
An Australian specialist industrial 'original equipment (parts) manufacturer,’ using innovative design and a strong network of manufacturing sources is making waves world-wide.
Arctic Steel Sea Water Strainers
You need parts to firstly build a vessel and then to keep it on the water in peak condition. Now some parts are just that, parts. Others are far more fit for purpose, so there is always a difference and if you’ve ever been trapped with a broken part, you’ll probably be nodding your head already.
Marine OEM Supply is one of those manufacturers who design, build and also supply high-end products that work. From shaft seals to water strainers and skin fittings to rudder bearings, they have you covered. However, it is not just the marine industry that they service, but mining, architectural, construction and automotive as well, with their custom items. These could, and do, range from pulley wheels to custom hinged couplings, cutlery, high tensile duplex stainless bolts, mounting brackets, bollards and cleats, but probably what they are best known for are their Arctic Steel water strainers. Additionally, they are the Australian Distributors for products from Tides Marine, Wave International and MGDUFF.
So then, with such a diverse offering, it is easy to seem a little overwhelmed, but a chat with the business’ principals soon sheds light on why, how and what Marine OEM Supply does. Peter Crossley and David Sutherland took over the business some 12 months ago. As Marine OEM Supply moves in to its seventh year of operation, they have decided to concentrate on and then expand their offering within certain key product lines. Chief amongst these are their raw water sea strainers and the associated products that complement them, like ball valves, skin fittings, mounting brackets and adjustable arms. ‘We have derived a clearer direction and we are focusing on expanding overseas into bigger markets in the USA, Europe and also Asia’, said Peter.
Interestingly, the pair’s professional backgrounds are nearly as wide and diverse as the products and services they offer. Peter has had several importing and wholesaling businesses prior to taking on Marine OEM Supply and before that, he had a lengthy corporate, sales and marketing career. His passion for boats began at age ten, which even involved extended periods sailing overseas.
MarineOEM's Peter Crossley (L) and Dave Sutherland
Conversely, David is a builder, with a strong experience in consumer industry. He arrived at Marine OEM Supply, armed with his hands-on knowledge and customer service disposition, as a result of his previous endeavours. Whilst he has been long involved with sailing, fishing and ski boats, David’s real passion is the technical side of the business.
‘I particularly get involved in the design and manufacture of most of the items we do. We don’t just wholly and solely target the marine industry. Because of our foundry expertise, we are also delivering products into the mining and industrial sectors and we are keen to further deploy our design and production expertise’, said David.
‘Stainless steel is our specialty, for sure, however we can and do work with other materials as well. Primarily, we have been best known for our work with casting in 316 marine-grade stainless steel. This can also be applied across to general products, however. The main element is our local design capacity matched with cost effective, quality offshore production, stemming from the strong contacts we have with our Chinese manufacturers.’
Thru Hull Skin Fittings
Peter elaborates further, ‘Our focus here in Australia is on research, development, design and really looking at exactly what the markets need. We are now pushing strongly into custom work, so we are determining if customers need modifications to our existing products to meet a specific requirement or if it is a completely new custom design. All manufacturing for our business is done offshore in China and we work with a couple of very good foundries and suppliers, the selection of which has been refined since we began in the early years of this business. This network of suppliers, together with our staff on the ground there, allows us to have the best making our products, including the plastic baskets, silicon gaskets and poly carbonate lids that go into Arctic Steel Strainers.’
Having a solid and proven network of suppliers is the key to ensuring product quality, price and warranty/lifespan. ‘You have to spend the weeks and months in China to make sure you’re firstly dealing with the right companies and then maintaining the relationship. We are very conscious of this, and it’s an important factor, of not sacrificing quality for price. If you take our new Arctic Steel water strainers, they have been even further enhanced in recent times to ensure they are the best in the world. We have deliberately set out to make a better quality product rather than trying to get a cheaper product. This allows us to still be competitive, but offer a distinct point of difference’, Peter added.
It is this essence that permeates what Marine OEM Supply are doing with not only their own items under their Arctic Steel brand, but also for the three main families they distribute into Australia from overseas. ‘We’re really proud to have Tides Marine products from the USA on offer. Their propeller and rudder shaft seals and bearings are second to none. They also have an aftermarket sail track that slides into an existing worn sail track to make hoisting and lowering effortless. Wave Stream produces a bilge water filter that filters out grease, oil and fuel from your bilge, before it gets pumped overboard. In the end, it’s clean water that goes back in to the sea. In addition to this there is also a Wavebrite grey water treatment system available through Marine OEM Supply.’
As you may have worked out, most of these types of items go into vessels ranging anywhere from 5m up to some very large super yachts and commercial boats, which is why you’ll find Marine OEM Supply in the Superyacht pavilion at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show. ‘Brands like Princess, Riviera, Fairline, Maritimo, Grand Banks and Bertram from the USA are the kinds of boats you will see us involved with as well as commercial vessels like fishing trawlers and ferries. We have supplied equipment into a pilot boat, recently built by Birdon that is now in service in Newcastle.
There are also large commercial aluminium catamarans that have fitted our new Arctic Steel water strainers,’ said Peter. ‘One of the new items we have recently added are Electro-eliminators from a British company called MGDUFF. These are ideal for replacing more traditional anode protection systems on propeller shafts. To fit this we have made a stainless steel adjustable mounting arm.’
Wavestream Bilge Water Filter System
The near Pacific and SE Asia regions also benefit from Marine OEM Supply, selling products into Singapore, Thailand, Fiji, New Zealand and New Caledonia. They have good stock holding of most products and are very willing to supply overseas customers. This is just one of the regions they are expanding into. Currently they have customers in the UK, Netherlands, USA, France, Canada and Egypt and are always looking for new distributors. In many cases they supply direct to overseas customers from their warehouse in China, which keeps shipping costs to a minimum. Marine OEM Supply’s new strainer is quite a development inspired by custom requirements from the Australian Defence Force.
‘The lid is one of the main features of the new Arctic Steel model, with its unique tie-down mechanism. ‘We changed the way you open the strainer to make it easier, faster and safer; it means the wing nuts won’t disappear into the bilge. Traditionally there were six or eight nuts that just pulled completely off the studs before you could lift the lids off. We now have slots in the lid and hinged studs that fall away, so you can’t loose the nuts, as they do not need to come off. We have cast stainless wing nuts that won’t crack or deteriorate and are fire proof. Each size strainer now also has a clear or solid lid option, which compresses down on to a silicon gasket, providing a watertight seal,’ said David.
Add to that the electro-polishing process of the 316 stainless steel and you have a pretty unique item. Peter explains, ‘It’s all about increased corrosion resistance. No one else in the world makes a strainer like this. It is robust and the electro-polishing removes all contaminates and particles exposing the pure stainless steel. It also smoothes the surface of the stainless and gives it a shiny chromium rich film on the outside, so they almost look like they have been chrome plated. It’s like a super 316 stainless steel.’
‘Our baskets inside the strainers are ABS plastic, which has an inherent rubber like quality. This is important, for it offers a real resistance to impact and so if you suck something up into your intake it is not going to shatter your basket. We make the baskets so they won’t allow a particle three-square millimetres or bigger through, which meets requirements laid down by engine manufacturers.
‘All of the effort that has gone into these sorts of products is what we use in our custom work’, added Peter. ‘Given our contacts, we can do duplex stainless, aluminium, bronze, anything. It could be a mirror polished piece of stainless art, customized cutlery with corporate logo or a deck fitting with company insignia. We can make a 100kg pulley wheel down to the 10mm, two-piece screw that has a female and male thread on it.’
‘Our solid, global experience, combined with the right suppliers, means we can offer OEM castings and componentry to a whole range of industries’, said David. ‘Over the next 12 months or so, we are going to expand our presence in China from CAD and technical work, supplier liaison and quality control to include warehousing and shipping, so that we can distribute internationally from a more cost effective platform. Australia will still be the base and we’ll carry parts here for the region, but it makes it easier for the USA and Europe to be originating materials directly from China’, Peter added.
To sum it all up, if you need the best in stainless steel for a new project or to keep your existing boat in tip-top condition, then Marine OEM Supply can certainly help. Adding to the equation and certainly making it all very unique are the custom elements they can supply you with. From cast industrial products to highly polished artworks, the skills and experience are there to make your project possible and delivered within budget and on time. Ultimately, that’s the part that really matters.
Door catches, Pipe fittings, Polished slides and pins, Deck fillers
Marine OEM Supply website