If the lights go out on a remote station in the Northern Territory, it is likely to be Graham Steele who gets the call.
Graham is based at Dundee Beach and through his business Steeleworks NT Pty Ltd he manufactures and installs generators that are built to withstand harsh environments.
He also repairs generators but for the last three years he has used Yanmar TNV engines and demand for that service is way down.
“Since we have been using Yanmar we don’t get calls to fix generators that are not running. Yanmar engines deliver reliability we have never had before and this has saved a lot of after-hours call-outs.”
Mr Steele has been in the generator business for more than 20 years. He is a fitter, machinist and mechanical engineer and started Steeleworks to put his skills to good use for remote communities that are entirely off-grid.
Now he sends generators anywhere in Australia. His workshop has full machining, fabrication and welding capabilities. He and his team machine many small parts and they make up the frames and the wiring looms themselves to ensure clients get a custom-built generator that will last for many years.
Everything is done to a high standard. Components have to fit with their philosophy, which is to produce “the most reliable and long-lasting product possible using the best components available”.
Steeleworks uses all of Yanmar’s TNV generator engines – from the 3TNV70 up to the 4TNV98. They also use Yanmar TF series horizontal engines for submersible bore and Mono pump applications.
Mr Steele said Yanmar makes exceptionally clean engines with low emissions that are ideal for generators.
“Yanmar TNV engines are very quiet and very smooth running. We don’t have vibration problems like in days gone by, and reliability is second to none,” he said.
The TNV Series is Yanmar’s premium range of small industrial diesel engines. TNV engines are clean, quiet and fuel-efficient. They are extremely durable thanks to their superior block cooling, stiffer crank and pistons, and finer tolerance in the journal bearings.
Advanced engineering gives TNV engines lower vibrations and a high-strength mounting structure so they can handle heavy-duty jobs. At the same time the fuel injection system reduces emissions while maintaining low fuel consumption.
While Steeleworks’ customers vary – they include not only outback stations, but also mine sites and private customers looking for grid back-up – they all want reliability.
Mr Steele initially swapped to Yanmar as he had concerns that he had used brands made in China that would not last as long.
“Radiator kits and other bolt-ons were not doing the job in our climate. We went looking for alternatives and Yanmar had the best quality accessories we have ever used.”
Steeleworks’ Yanmar engines are provided by the Perth branch of Power Equipment.
Mr Steele said there was only one downside to using Yanmar engines.
“They are doing us out of sales as they last too long. Several generators we have supplied are on 30,000 hours plus and still going strong.
“Customer satisfaction has never been so good, however, the only time we get calls now is for something silly, like someone has run the genset out of fuel.”