Business Profile: AUSblue NZ

In Business Profile7 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 23, 2017

Australia‘s largest manufacturer and distributor of AdBlue® diesel emission fluid (DEF) has recently set up a New Zealand operation based in Tauranga. Directors Andrew Morrell and Wayne Shaw talked to New Zealand Trucking about who they are, their approach, and their plan in the New Zealand market.

“It‘s not about the end label you put on it, we‘re not precious about that,” said Andrew Morrell. “It‘s about knowing that the quality of the product is absolutely first class and understanding what we‘re a part of.” The company he co-owns with fellow directors Pat Maguire and Wayne Shaw today supplies 40% of Australia‘s Diesel Emissions Fluid (DEF) requirements through a comprehensive supply chain with manufacturing locations in Brisbane, Mackay, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Tasmania. That equates to three million litres a month, and growing.

But the company doesn‘t see itself as a just another player. It‘s underlying drive is rooted in two main areas; firstly, to ensure end users the product they are using meets the most exacting requirements, giving them assurance about what‘s being poured in the tank on their vehicle and knowing warranty claims won‘t be questioned on the quality of DEF they are using. Secondly, to look at the entire supply chain and understand the importance of closing the loop.

“DEF is a system developed to help maintain the planet‘s viability. It‘s about the environment and its protection. What‘s the point of manufacturing and distributing a product whose genesis was for that very reason, and then not taking an interest in how packaging and plastic containers are recovered and reused. That‘s why in Australia we‘ve developed a comprehensive closed loop distribution and recovery solution with our own fleet of trucks and containers to ensure everything is recovered, cleaned and reused,” said Andrew.

“We‘re certified by the VDA (see sidebar) to use the AdBlue® name, and we‘re also ISO9001 certified, further ensuring the robustness of our processes.”

New Zealand will be a stand-alone operation under Wayne‘s charge. A Kiwi, Wayne is keen to bring the family home and give New Zealand the opportunity to join the AUSblue story.

“Manufacture will happen in Tauranga, with distribution in Tauranga, Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch,” said Wayne. “We sell to resellers and end users dealing in bulk. Dealing with small volume packages is not what we‘re about, we‘d rather leave that to those set up for it. What we want those customers to know however, is the product we supply for their end users is the best, and we can provide an unparalleled supply chain loop.”

Asked about the situation surrounding the disconnecting of SCR emissions systems, both men were adamant something has to be done about it.

“Obviously people are going to say we have a barrow to push on this but it‘s about what‘s right. It comes back to the environment and what the whole thing is trying to do. What‘s the point of belonging to emissions reduction agreements if you‘re not going to come down on this type of thing. It‘s easy to analyse at service time, even at the roadside,” said Andrew.

New Zealand has another supplier in the DEF market, one with a strong sense of purpose in what they believe is their core point of difference. That has to be good for the country, not just the industry.


Decontaminating confusion


AdBlue® is not a generic name used to describe diesel emission fluid, and therefore certainly cannot be used as such. AdBlue® is the registered trademark for diesel emission fluid that has been certified by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), an interest group of the German automobile industry comprising manufacturers and component suppliers. Their rigorous supply chain auditing regime covers the manufacture and distribution of diesel emission fluid. Only suppliers passing certification may use the AdBlue® brand name.

“It‘s an extremely rigorous exercise,” said Andrew. “They go through every inch of your supply chain ensuring that the product is perfectly pure and not contaminated during handling. From a chemistry viewpoint DEF is not hard to make, but it‘s not easy to make and distribute to the standards required. If you‘re dealing with a warranty claim on your truck you certainly don‘t want to be caught having used DEF made with tap water and agricultural grade urea by some shonky backyard outfit trying to make a quick buck.

“Not a single drop of any batch is passed for distribution until its purity clearance is back and confirmed, a process that takes eight days. This can make production planning challenging,” said Andrew.

“All of our sites in Australia have passed audit 100% for the past nine years, and our New Zealand manufacturing operation will be the same. The first full production batch of AdBlue® made in NZ has recently passed the approval process”.