December 2018

by Rebecca Sherratt, Production editor, Milling & Grain


UK-based materials handling company, 4B Group, have joyfully announced the opening of their latest facility in Changzhou, China.

Founded in 1888, 4B Group are suppliers of various handling components for the agriculture industry, producing machines for a variety of purposes, such as belt conveying, bucket elevators, screw conveyors, chain conveyors, silo monitoring, and electronic monitoring equipment. In recent years, the company has continued to make great strides in their successes and are proving themselves to only be more and more reliable and efficient in their work.

Recently, 4B Group have announced the completion of their new facility in Changzhou, China. The facility is located on Rm 513, 18 Xinya Road, Wujin High & New Technology Development Zone, Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Their new Managing Director for the facility is Mr Zhu Biwei, former Sales Advisor at WAM China. This news also comes as 4B Group celebrate their 130thanniversary.

4B Group now boast a remarkably international success, with other 4B subsidiaries also located in South East Asia, Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa.

The new Chinese facility is a promising beacon of opportunity for 4B Group, and the new team running the facility are hopeful and confident about its success.

Zhu Biwei, Managing Director of 4B China, says, "we look forward to serving our Chinese customers even better in the future. The Chinese economy is continuously growing, but now with more focus on quality, efficiency and innovation. Chinese society is increasingly aware of the need to save energy and protect the environment, and conscious of the importance of quality and safety. For this purpose, 4B"s innovative hazard monitoring solutions will benefit more Chinese customers."

The 4B China team also includes notable colleagues, such as Brave Song, Electrical Sales Engineer, Carl Braime, Group Sales Director and Chen Zhilong, as Warehouse and Logistics Manager. Mr Biwei has clearly established an experienced and knowledgeable team for 4B China, who are professionals with sales and marketing, after-sales support and engineering. In-house engineering programmes will also be on-site, to help the team upgrade existing elevators and conveyors, make recommendations for new equipment and provide solutions.

The emphasis on customer support is even more evident, as 4B China has been designed to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. A local warehouse has also been built, to ensure fast delivery to customers. "Value-added" products are also available, and 4B Group offer the chance to share their own engineering expertise with their customers, to ensure a safe and easy use of all 4B Group machines.

"4B works closely with many internationally recognised equipment manufacturers and multi-national bulk material handling and processing facilities, some of whom have an established presence in China", Mr Biwei continues.

"4B is an internationally recognised and trusted supplier of material handling components and looks forward to strengthening existing relations and building new ones with customers in China."

China and engineering

China has always historically been associated with innovative engineering, and 4B Group will only continue to prove that China is at the forefront of technological refinement. China can be credited to the invention of the compass, gunpowder, papermaking and printing, which were soon brought over to Europe in the Middle Ages.

Their civil engineering skills were truly brought to light, with the famous Great Wall of China, designed under the reign of the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, between 220 and 200 BC.

Mechanical engineering, not unlike that of the 4B Group, also prospered in China. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, scholar Zhang Heng invented the very first water-powered, rotating armillary sphere, which catalogues stars and constellations. In 132 AD, Heng also created the first seismological detector, nicknaming it the Houfeng Didong Yi, (which translates into "instrument for inquiring into the wind and the shaking of the earth).

Ma Jun, who lived from 200-265 AD, was considered to be one of China"s most innovative mechanical engineers, who refined the contemporary design of the silk loom, as well as creating mechanical chain pumps for the improved irrigation of palatial gardens. If that wasn"t impressive enough, Jun also created the famous South Pointing Chariot, a complex machine was acted as a mechanical compass vehicle and was implemented into many cars and automobiles.

4B Group"s history

The 4B Group share an intriguing history, from humble beginnings, with two brothers in a small worksop, that have quickly built up into an international success story.

Back in the 19thcentury, a man named Thomas Braime grew in reputation, as a quality engineer, for manufacturing oilcans in a tiny workshop. After losing his thumb in an engineering accident for McLaren, Braime continued to think of alternative ways to apply oil to machinery.

In 1888, in Leeds, UK, Braime partnered up with his brother, Harry Braime, using new pressing technology to create metal pressings. The business rapidly expanded, and provided great assistance during the First World War, providing armament provisions and training women as skilled munitions workers.

4B is part of the Braime Group, a British PLC listed on the London Stock Exchange. 4B are best-known for creating the first pressed seamless steel elevator bucket, back in 1909, and their successes only continued, as they soon became pioneering leaders of the elevator bucket.

The 4B Group now goes under many names, all based in different parts of the country, including the UK-based 4B Braime Components Ltd, founded in 1971. 1984 saw the founding of 4B"s first international subsidiary, 4B Elevator Components in Chicago, USA. In 1991, 4B France was established, and 2003 saw the introduction of 4B Asia Pacific in Thailand.

4B Deutschland was established in Germany, in 2005, and in 2008 4B Africa was opened in South Africa. More recently in 2010, 4B Australia was established in Brisbane, Australia, followed by 4B China in 2018.

Looking ahead

As 4B Group continue to grow, their goal is to further themselves to even more international markets, continuing to make a name for themselves worldwide. Their company has undeniably been making a large impact in the agriculture industry, and their presence is getting more and more noticed. The company are clearly determined to reach the biggest client base is possible, attending a variety of shows, having recently exhibited at IAOM MEA in Nairobi, Kenya and Easyfairs SOLIDS 2018 in Dortmund, Germany.

There is little doubt that 4B will only continue to expand and make a successful name of themselves for the agriculture engineering industry, and future expansion is undoubtedly on the horizon.



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