Stealth Manufacturing Ltd. is an award-winning enterprise which has been established by Nenagh-based contractor John Kennedy to design and engineer cutting–edge agricultural machinery. We met up with John to discuss the success to date, product range (including the Kompactor 40) and future hopes of his pioneering company.
Stealth Manufacturing was chosen as overall winner of the 2014 JFC Innovation Awards for rural business for its innovative new silage trailer – the recently-launched Stealth Kompactor 40 (K-40).
Contractor / engineer John Kennedy chose the name Stealth Manufacturing for his business as the word stealth represents speed, strength and agility; the innovative Kompactor trailer, meanwhile, uses a unique system to fill a 40-cubic-metre trailer from empty.
Once loaded, the trailer uses the tractor hydraulics to compact the grass silage, achieving a capacity of 60-cubic-metres after compaction.
After running a series of tests last year, the Tipperary man found that the increased capacity of the K-40 trailer reduced the number of trailers required on many jobs by 50%. This in turn leads to a reduction in fuel and labour costs for contractors – not to mention time!
Furthermore, the K-40 – which will retail for around €35,000 – is uploaded by a hydraulic ram in a push design, meaning the trailer doesn’t need to be tipped, thereby reducing time and increasing safety. It boasts an uploading time of just 40 seconds. And, as the offloaded grass is already partially compacted, it is easier to load it into the pit.
The Kompactor 40 design is based on the push principle for emptying, which makes it considerably safer than a tipping trailer. Developed for safety and economy, this newly-designed trailer is extremely stable while unloading on uneven surfaces and is ideal in constricted spaces and small holdings as manoeuvrability is key.
The push principle also acts as a compactor plate which allows the trailer to carry up to 60 % more material in certain conditions.
The trailer is also lighter than others, with the sliding axle underneath making for better weight distribution (reducing soil compaction). Ultimately, the K-40 will also be ideal for transporting other crops. As we speak, the pioneering trailer is being further developed to enable the body to be lifted off so that other machines can be put on.
John has been in the contracting business for a quarter of a century. While working existing machinery himself, he has modified, improved and redesigned various models to make them more efficient and user friendly.
As he specialises in silage contracting, his harvesting experience has culminated in the design, testing and build of many machines – the Stealth Kompactor 40 is the first Irish-built hydraulic push-off trailer.
Stealth Manufacturing Limited is a dynamic company with a commitment to maximise productivity in the agricultural sector through innovative new designs. Other products developed by John thus far include a heavy-duty three-metre land leveller with five levelling blades and a hydraulic folding fork.
Reflecting on the genesis of Stealth Machinery, John comments: “It’s a new company since October 2013. I’m an agricultural contractor by trade but I’ve also been running an engineering shop on the side and have set the company up to introduce new innovations to the agricultural field.
“My goal is to design better equipment for users and, being a user myself, I am in an ideal position to build and then test the equipment. We are not just a manufacturer but are a user with a long history of agriculture. We have the experience of knowing what’s needed. I have noticed during my contracting over the years that pretty much every machine can be improved upon and that’s what we will strive to do.
“Our equipment is designed by a contractor and built by a contractor for the contractor.”
John has been building and modifying trailers all his life and it was only matter of time before his exceptional design ideas would start to draw attention from near and far. The Kompactor 40 trailer has catapulted Stealth Manufacturing into the spotlight and there’s plenty more where that came from…
“There is huge interest in this company and we hope to kick on now,” says the Nenagh-based engineer. “We can design and build and get the equipment into production very quickly so we are in a strong position going forward.
“The Kompactor 40 is still at the test stage and we are hoping to go into production very soon. But it has to be 100% right before we; begin manufacturing. Once we have tested it fully and are happy with every aspect, we will get it into production and get the ball rolling.
“We also have more novel ideas coming over the next twelve months. What we are doing here is trying to design and build something different, something innovative to improve things for the user and to improve both safety and efficiency.”
There’s no danger of John getting carried away. “I don’t aim to go too big – we’ll see how it goes,” he confirms. “It’s not a big market. Having said that, it is a specialised market and also a global one and we have also had a lot of interest from abroad, including New Zealand, Australia and the UK.”
Although he still does contracting, designing new agricultural machinery is taking up more and more of his time. “I’m in the workshop eleven months of the year now and I have two lads here working alongside me who do most of the contracting. Long term, I will have to keep the two businesses separate.
“I grew up on a farm and have been contracting since I left school in 1990. My own father would have been ahead of his time and he would have always been tinkering around with equipment and improving it. That’s where I got the interest from. I’ve been modifying, improving and building stuff all along and decided to take the leap and start the company up officially last October.
“It’s a small company but you have to start somewhere. There’s keen interest in our products but we will be patient and make sure we have it right before we go to market. This stuff is all unique and there’s no competition as such, so there’s no real pressure to get it out. We’ll take our time and make sure everything is 100% right.”
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 4, September 2014