Farm Ireland
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Monday 20 August 2018

Expansion is grist to the Wakely mill

Phelim Wakely (right) with his son, Cian, who also works in the family business
Phelim Wakely (right) with his son, Cian, who also works in the family business
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Rolling and grinding mill specialists Wakely Engineering Ltd held a dealer presentation day recently ahead of a busy 2017.

The event saw a 15-strong delegation visit the Wakely premises in Ardee, Co Louth, for a comprehensive rundown. Later in the day, the group were given a demonstration of some Wakely products at a nearby customer and feed supplier, Marksville Farms.

A family-owned and run business that was first established in 1979, directors Phelim and Sheila Wakely set out manufacturing a range of farm-based grain mills.

After a few years, Phelim's strong engineering background saw the company flourish to its current dominant position as the leading Irish producer of high output industrial grain-crushing mills for the home and export market.

The team focussed on manufacturing a complete range of rolling/grinding mills for a diverse range of markets, including the farming, alcohol, recycling and biomass industries.

The company has built a solid reputation among its Irish and UK customer base over the past 38 years and are continually developing new machines and tapping into a spread of markets. They currently employ 15 full-time staff.

Wakely Engineering supply most of their mills into the agri industry, but now also sell an increasing number of machines into the distilling and brewing industry
Wakely Engineering supply most of their mills into the agri industry, but now also sell an increasing number of machines into the distilling and brewing industry

Managing director Phelim told me a little about their journey to date: "In terms of the history of the company, we initially focussed on the farming sector and that's where we had our early success.

"It was always apparent to me that in order to be successful in Ireland and abroad we needed to appeal to a few different markets. With that in mind, around 15 years ago, we manufactured our first grist mill for the distilling and brewing industry. Today, things have advanced to the stage where we now supply the majority of grist mills to that industry, which is showing tremendous growth.

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"Another recent development is our Biomass range of mills: this machine can process a wide range of fermentable products. The challenge is, of course, that the many industries we serve have varying processing requirements.

"For example, the pig industry require a finely ground material, while for milk production, a whole product with minimal dust is required. We need to be able to keep all sorts of customers happy, but we carry a full range of parts and I like to think we have a service and back-up facility that is second to none. "

Asked about his outlook for 2017 and what Brexit will mean for the company, Phelim said: "It [Brexit] won't be easy, let's be honest. But it's going to happen so we have to deal with it. We export to all over Europe so the UK is just one market, albeit an important one. I'm feeling very positive about 2017. Business has been strong over the opening two months of the year."

The Wakely range of machinery can process any grain from 4 to 45pc moisture content without modification. The machines can process any combinable crop, but other applications have seen them being used to roll and grind waste food, wood pellets, seaweed and even green coffee.

The manufacturer offers milling and grinding outputs from 1,500-60,000 kg/hr in mobile, electric and mobile-electric combination forms.

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