This month at Monkeytoe October 2022

Check out what's been happening at Monkeytoe in October in our latest monthly news feature.

A note from Budd

Hi everyone,

With a busy industry and more projects being planned than ever, we’re finding ourselves working with good sorts all across the country. 

Just as well we’ve got a solution to fit every need – and the team working tirelessly behind the scenes to innovate, test, and take Monkeytoe further than ever before.

As well as looking at a project we did for the ginger beer-brewing folks at Bundaberg, in this month’s update, we hear about testing from specialist and all-around clever sort Logan Klenner, ‘the father of the XBEAM’. He’s got a bit of know-how about what it means to put our products through their paces before they make it to you – and why we’re investing so much in our testing. 

There’s plenty to check out in our latest update – so dive in and see how we’ve been busy this October.



Bundaberg project

Bundaberg. Not just a township in Queensland – it’s also the home to the world-famous Bundaberg brewed drinks brand. No doubt you’ve enjoyed one of their delicious ginger beers, lemon lime & bitters, or even treated yourself to a sarsaparilla.

Twelve months ago, Hutchinson Builders won the project for a new Bundaberg factory just a stone’s throw from the previous, long-standing premises. Hutchinson have used us for a few projects, so they knew our great work – and we jumped at the chance to work with them again on this unique project.

The biggest consideration for the project was that the region is classified as Wind Category C – meaning potentially cyclonic conditions. And being close to the sea as the city is, they also needed a solution that could handle marine conditions without corroding. 

If you guessed that they chose our aluminium solutions, then you’d be right.

After considerable liaising with the project engineers to get the sizings and mountings right, we provided five platforms in total, using the RC01 clip to connect to the building’s purlins. Being able to mount to the purlins means that any loading will be distributed to the roofing structure and not the roofing sheet. We also included a range of handrails (for safety) that met with the ducting.

Hutchinson were chuffed – especially because the alternative on offer was supposedly an ‘aluminium platform’ but was actually more like mesh, support rails, and light gauge steel. Being heavier, the steel option would have required more holes to be drilled through the roof pan – and that’s a recipe for rust-filled rainwater run-off entering the gutters and damaging them.

Monkeytoe testing with Logan Klenner

We had a chat with Development Manager Logan Klenner, who’s leading the charge when it comes to innovation and product testing here at Monkeytoe.

Over the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve invested a lot of time and resources into our testing capabilities, equipment, and our data-gathering capabilities. A few years ago, we started out with a 2-tonne load cell to test the capacity of our products. Then we got a 10-tonne unit. Now, we’re at 50 tonnes. We’ve upped our testing capacity and included new digital data acquisition equipment for strain gauges, load cells & thermocouples etc, because the scale of what we do has grown, and we’re getting into bigger, more serious structures. That means we’ve had to get more data and better insights as to how our products perform.

There’s only so much you can do in theory or on computers. We have computer-aided modelling, but even the very expensive tools that NASA uses (like FEMCI – Finite Element Modelling Continuous Improvement) only provide so much data about how a design will perform over its lifetime. You can load any design into a modelling system, and it’ll give you hot spots – usually where it should fail first. But the chain of events that follows once that failure starts can be unpredictable. 

Testing means we get to see beyond that first stress point and see whether a design will fail quickly (which means it needs to be designed with much higher safety margins, or have predictable failure modes introduced by design), or slowly and predictably (which means we can put measures in place to predict and maintain before it becomes unsafe). You can design in connection types that would give indications of failure long before they happen – the canaries in the coal mine, as it were.

While the basic shapes like I-beams, parallel flange channels, rectangular hollow sections etc. are well understood and the mathematics behind these are established, the complex shapes we can extrude in aluminium are more complex to predict, and so need more testing. For example, we designed some lintel beam extrusions, and the theoretical numbers suggested it would fail between 4 and 8 tonnes in a given 4-point bend test (depending on the calculations used from the Aluminium design code AS/NZS 1664). That’s a huge range, and not one that fills people with confidence or allows us to design with efficiency. The actual failure load from testing was around 9.5 tonnes, which meant we now had a reliable figure to work with, and a better understanding of the initial failure mode and the roll-on events following that failure initiation. 

We’re continuing to invest in our testing capabilities as we expand into new industries and go further than ever before. And we want to be transparent about what we’re doing. Aluminium solutions aren’t as well understood as steel, which means we’ve got some education to do to prove that they’re the best answer for lighter, smarter solutions for the 21st century.

Supporting Te Paepae o Aotea

You’ve got to support your locals. Taranaki, New Zealand has come together to support Hawera Intermediate School since a fire destroyed three-quarters of their buildings back in 2015, with temporary buildings and support services. And we’ve kept an eye on how things are going too, since they’re only ten minutes down the road from our NZ head office.

Sadly the decision was made earlier this year to close the Intermediate at the end of 2022. But this has also opened a new door: the creation of Te Paepae o Aotea. Combining Hawera Intermediate and High Schools, Te Paepae o Aotea (meaning We are all on the learning journey of Aotea, as the people of South Taranaki, realising our full potential) will cater for years 7-13 in the area and take students further along their cultural and educational journeys.

Many members of the Monkeytoe team have kids who went to Hawera Intermediate, or know someone who did. So we wanted to send some love in our own small way to this school that’s important to the community – and that’s what we did, with an armload of ginger beer and nuts to share with the new Te Paepae o Aotea. And it started a conversation about turning our engineering skills to creating aluminium basketball hoops for the kids (and the big kids too)!

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