This edition we hear about what’s happening on site, developments in R&D and projects completed since the last newsletter. Other key features include a segment on our crowding yard and how we utilise drone technology to perform site assessments.
Director's Brief by Byron Wolff
At Thompson Longhorn we are continually expanding our capability as a manufacturer of quality livestock handling equipment. Over the past 10 years our production facility has expanded three-fold from 750m² to 2,000m² (21,500 sq ft). To cope with the additional output, we have significantly increased the hardstand to store more manufacturing jigs and finished stock before shipment. Our new parts storage facility accounts for approximately 25% of the total floor area (of the production facility) and has recently been re-organised to improve efficiency and productivity.
In addition to robotic welding, we have recently increased our fabrication capabilities with the addition of a guillotine that will cut 3.1m long plate steel up to 16mm thick. We are very excited about this as it will mean decreased fabrication time and increased capacity!
On the R&D (Research & Development) side of things, we are continually innovating to improve our existing product range and create new products. We utilise a rigorous R&D process to assess our designs from the initial concept through the design phase to prototyping and manufacture. This process ensures that we continue to lead the livestock handling equipment industry in terms of innovation and automation.
Thompson Longhorn Factory Tours
Have you ever visited the Thompson Longhorn factory? We welcome you to visit us and see our automated trade display and our robotic welding facility at our factory just a 50 minute drive from Toowoomba. Turn east just south of Allora at the Goomburra turnoff and 12.5 km later you will be at Thompson Longhorn.
Our opening hours are 8.00am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
An appointment is necessary for factory tours. To book an appointment please call us on (07) 4666 6174
288 Inverramsay Road,
Goomburra Qld 4362
Completed Projects Around the Country
Thompson Longhorn has over 30 years of experience in the livestock and cattle industries which encompasses addressing cost factors, safety, reduction of animal stress, technology, assurance of high quality and meeting specific design requirements for our customers. At the same time we can provide the assurance of future backup and support for all of our products.
There are those of us who enjoy building things ourselves and others who prefer a finished product with no hassles. Thompson Longhorn can offer cattle yards or equipment, from start to finish, including site installation and project management. We provide a range of services which can be broken into three distinct categories, design/consultation, fabrication and installation.
For example, we constructed a set of yards on a station in one of the most remote areas of Western Australia, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest township. The new yards on this property came complete with a full working centre, lane drafting system and loading ramp. The station hands had plenty of talent and elected to assemble the yards themselves with a few days help from one of our seasoned installers.
Another example of our services involved a customised working centre for a large veterinarian company in South-East Queensland that focuses on genetics and artificial breeding. At the clients' request, we designed and built a unique tilting crush to suit their individual requirements. The rest of the operating area (including a crowding yard and a curved race) was also supplied and installed at the time, making it a full “turn key” job which we project managed and had taken from design, to fabrication and installation.
Thompson Longhorn's Crowding Yards by Kelly Keong
The crowding yard has become a much used term in our day to day work at Thompson Longhorn. It refers to an item that is pivotal in the design of an effective core animal processing centre. A crowd provides both safety and efficiency for both the animals and the people handling them. This is the piece of equipment that greatly assists us to convince cattle to line up for us in single file inside a narrow raceway. I know I would have made my grandfather laugh if he thought I was trying to convince cattle to do anything. He would never have even recognised the term "crowding yard". In fact his yards had "forcing pens" and all the cattle trucks had "jiggers" made from T model Ford coils and P.M.G. batteries. When I was a child, good stockmen moved animals with ease and efficiency just like they do today but it was rare to find one of these men who could articulate the methods, skills and animal behaviour that they used.
In the changed culture of today we have eradicated the term "forcing pen" and the best stockmen do not use "jiggers". This is a great step forward for both aspiring stock handlers and the stock that we handle. It has always been almost impossible to force grown animals to do anything and even a "jigger" really only convinces an animal that staying stationary is not an option. Crowding yards (be they "Tubs" or specially designed pens) all do the same thing. If they are used correctly they simply promote the option that we want the animals to select. They do that by using the animal’s natural behaviour, common sense and good design.
The crowding yards that Thompson Longhorn manufacture are particularly effective and this is because the design has been honed so that dimensions and small details maximize the likelihood that a range of cattle (different sizes and types) will flow through them. It is not that other designs will not work, in fact it is like a well-designed chimney, the fire draws, it is easy to light and no smoke enters the room. If a crowding yard is poorly designed it simply becomes less and less likely various cattle will select to leave it via the single file raceway (or even perhaps enter it in the first place).
It is not to say there are not stock handling skills to be applied when using even the best designed equipment. These skills are so easy to understand and apply that even someone you would never dream of letting into a pen full of cattle can be trained if necessary.
Drones - Above and Beyond
Thompson Longhorn is using drones to help collect faster, more accurate and more relevant site data. Using the camera on the drone, we are able to capture high resolution aerial photographs and videos of your current yards/site. Drone pilots ensure that the most useful photographs or videos are captured during the quick flight by using a constant camera feed from the drone which allows them to see exactly what the drone is looking at. The only other information that is required from site is a few quick measurements of the yards so that the photographs can be scaled correctly. Since the implementation of drones for aerial photography , the whole process of site data collection can take as little as 30 minutes!
Once all of the data has been collected, it is sent back to Thompson Longhorn's main office where the design team correct any perspective and lens distortion (curvature caused by the camera lens) on the aerial photos and import them into our drafting software (AutoCAD). The images are then scaled to the correct size based on all of the measurements taken from site. Once the flattened photograph has been imported and scaled, it can be drawn over and new concepts for the design of your yards can be quickly and easily created while considering cattle flow as well as a minimal cost impact on your current yard setup. The photos and videos also reduce the need for multiple site visits to collect any additional information that may have been missed the first time by providing valuable insight into parts of the yard which may not have been considered in previous concepts.
The end result of utilising this modern technology is that you, the client, will receive better quality customised yard plans, overlayed onto a current photo of your site, much more quickly and accurately. It also helps Thompson Longhorn stay at the forefront of innovation by providing a service that goes above and beyond anything that has previously been offered.
288 Inverramsay Road, Goomburra Qld 4362, Ph: (07) 4666 6174, Fax: (07) 4666 6242, www.thompsonlonghorn.com.au