The first thing you notice when you walk into Anthony Mearrick’s warehouse in Tomago is the huge crane that fills one side of the room, towering over the nearby forklift.
“That’s a big crane,” I say, genuinely impressed.
“That’s just a baby crane,” Anthony says, “they get much bigger than that”.
I don’t have much experience being up close and personal with cranes or other heavy lifting equipment. The C6 helps show off the generous height of the purpose built training centre in Tomago, NSW.
Anthony Mearrick is the CEO of the family owned and operated company All Class training. Their dedication to efficient, streamlined course delivery and a wide range of certifications has made them a preferred supplier of industry training services such as EWP training and forklift licences in Newcastle and throughout NSW.
All Class Training’s wide-ranging course offering means they often require the use of a trailer. Anthony tells me this as we walk into a smaller room off the main warehouse that’s set up for teaching small groups.
“Part of our job is being able to move stuff around. So we don’t have to go to the expense of trucks, just being able to tow a couple of ton on a trailer is good. It could be things like crane counter-weights or a forklift,” Anthony explains.
This is why I’m here today to talk to Anthony. I want to get a better understanding of all the ways that our customers are using Elecbrakes so that we can continue to meet people’s needs and continually improve the product.
I ask Anthony about the first time he used Elecbrakes, how did he hear about us?
“My first exposure to Elecbrakes was actually through a local hire company up the road. I hired an excavator and, obviously being a hire company, they needed to have [Elecbrakes] to go anywhere, I got the trailer off them. They showed me here’s how the thing works, plug it in, off you go, I thought it was great.”
I’m not surprised that Anthony encountered Elecbrakes through a hire company. Our point of difference in the brake controller market is clear. We’re a portable electric brake controller that provides multi-tow vehicle flexibility thanks to our completely trailer mounted design and in-car wireless remote. This means that hire companies only have to install the Elecbrakes to the trailer for hire and then any hiree can rent it out without having to alter their tow vehicle in any way. It’s a game changer for hire companies and they love us for it. In Anthony’s case it was also the catalyst for wanting to get in on the game himself.
“You have someone like a council, and they generally keep their trailers for ten years, but their vehicles are changed over all the time. That flexibility was why I went down the path of Elecbrakes. Because we’ve got a few different vehicles that need to be able to tow the big trailer that we’ve bought, so it was perfect.”
“I bought the elecbrakes unit and got it in my hot little hands probably a fortnight before the trailer was ready to go. Before I ordered the trailer I’d been doing the research and decided the Elecbrakes was worth a go. I actually took that with me when I went to pick up my trailer from Heatherbrae. It’s easy to mount. You just screw it onto the trailer with tech screws. And then you just plug it into the trailer socket,” Anthony said
Being a hands on guy, and not one to take safety for granted, Anthony decided to test out the stopping power of the Elecbrakes device for himself. When he had his trailer mounted and ready to go, he headed out to the farm to carry out some experiments.
“I’ve played around with it in the paddock on the farm. When you’ve got it on and you’re using it to brake, it’s incredible the difference it makes. You know they’re working. When I’m braking without the Elecbrakes unit on, especially down a hill, the trailer’s pushing the car, it’s really forcing the car. If I hit my foot on the brake it wouldn’t completely stop. Yet with the brake controller unit on and still travelling at 15 kms an hour, you hit the brakes and it actually stops. It’ll pull up. I’ve got confidence in the thing because of that, because I’ve tested it out myself.”
As an experienced Elecbrakes user it can be easy to forget what it’s like the first time you try out a brake controller for yourself. I ask Anthony to think back to that first encounter at the hire company and try to remember what it was like to be a first time elecbrakes user.
“[Learning how to use Elecbrakes] was fine. Somebody just said, here’s how it works, so when I’ve gone down they’ve helped hook it up, yeah it’s charging, here’s your controller, it’s on, off you go. It didn’t take long to understand. It was no dramas at all, the trailer went up to Stroud, so it was probably a 40 minute trip. We got the excavator off and brought it back and it was fine. Because it was a plant trailer, basically fixed weight, we didn’t need to adjust anything throughout the journey at all. It was preset.”
On my way back to the car, Anthony offers to get the crane out of the warehouse so I can see it in action. We walk out into the bright afternoon sun and I watch as Anthony drives the “baby” crane into the parking lot. As I watch the great beast of a vehicle emerge from the darkness of the warehouse it strikes me just how important good training would be to safely handle such an impressive rig.
While the Elecbrakes unit mounted on Anthony’s work trailer is one of the smallest pieces of equipment in the yard, it occurs to me what an important role it plays in the overall chain of work in the company. Managing the safe brake operation during equipment transport is a crucial task. Standing in the shadow of the C6 crane I feel proud that Elecbrakes is doing it’s part to make towing easier and safer for businesses like All Class Training.