Screening and crushing: Turnco Engineering

By: Ed, Photography by: Supplied

The Ed went to find out more about Turnco Engineering and its distributorship of Astec Industries’ range of quarry and mining equipment

In what’s described as a ‘surge’ in Elon Musk circles, an all-hands effort is underway to put the finishing touches to Turnco Engineering’s latest piece of heavy equipment that a customer is anxiously waiting on.

Despite the tight deadline and obvious pressure to get the machine out the door, Turnco’s operations manager Lance Cockle has an almost Zen-like look on his face as numerous questions get thrown at him seconds after he steps onto the workshop floor.

Lance Cockle

No doubt, this is just another day at the office for Lance, who oversees the family business. The grit on his hands is clear evidence that he isn’t afraid of getting stuck in when the need arises.

Despite all that’s been going on in the workshop, we had a quick catch-up on where the Turnco business’ future direction lies. Momentarily interrupted by a phone call from a quarry site, where a mobile crew is installing a new piece of crushing kit, Lance consults a hefty
set of plans, before confirming the number of hydraulic hoses that will need to be installed.
Regardless of the hectic work pace, things seem to happen in a straightforward manner — a sign of true professionalism if you ask me.

Knowledge and experience

Ample space is needed for the large pieces of equipment Turnco handles

Established more than 50 years ago in 1972 by Lance’s parents Robert (Bob) and Lornelle Cockle, the business has transformed in time, from an owner-operator machining workshop into a large engineering concern, outgrowing two former locations in the process.

"Dad (Bob) developed the business from that machining side to include welding and fabrication and it’s transformed into this," says Lance.

"We’ve done things like making press brakes, plate rollers — all New Zealand-designed and made before import restrictions got lifted.

"These days our capabilities range from small to big: sheet metal to heavy industrial, machining and fabrication, design and build."

Now located in the heart of South Auckland’s heavy industrial precinct of Takanini, the business these days turns out some seriously impressive pieces of kit for the construction, mining, and quarrying industries.

Quarrying and mining equipment is their happy place, and this is where Turnco has identified their knowledge and experienced skills can be further utilised.

"When we were based in Manukau, we were on the doorstep of Downer Mining and got involved in doing their repairs and maintenance," says Lance. "We also did a lot of work maintaining and building crushing and screening plants on contract to another business, which included the US-made Johnson Crusher brand.

"When the owner passed away, we got involved with Johnsons directly and our experience and international contacts grew from there."

Astec distributor

Custom structure build for Astec high-frequency screen

A recent development (relatively speaking) in the business has been Turnco’s appointment as a New Zealand distributor by US-headquartered Astec Industries.

"Astec Industries took over Johnson crushers, as it has with a lot of other industry-related businesses and now manufactures the machinery under their brand. We started off taking care of their servicing and maintenance, and it has developed into a dealership role for their quarrying and mining equipment," says Lance.

Like me you may be unfamiliar with the Astec name, but a little digging unearths a behemoth of a business which coincidentally like Turnco, was established in 1972.

Consisting of some 16 brands, Astec Industries has a global footprint across quarrying, mining, materials handling, forestry, concrete, road construction; you name it.

The Turnco advantage

Container tilter

In New Zealand, Turnco’s focus currently is solely on Astec’s crushing, screening, and materials handling side of the business, which includes Astec’s Telestack mobile conveyor range. Unlike a number of other suppliers in the industry, Astec supplies machinery primarily from its regional headquarters in Australia, giving New Zealand a close point of geographical contact for sourcing plant and equipment, or any spare part requirements.

"Astec’s crushing range includes jaw crushers, cone crushers, and impactors in fixed or mobile configuration," says Lance. "We can also supply screening plants and dewatering systems in a number of different styles.

"The advantage of dealing with someone like us is that we can use those Astec stock items and add in things, such as conveyors to build up plants that are tailored to specific materials and conditions. Everything is done through us from beginning to end."

Telestack radial stacker

The Telestack Radial Stacker is capable of 600T per hour

Back on the workshop floor, we step outside for Lance to give me a quick tour of the extensive Turnco yard, which has an impressive-looking Telestack radial stacker waiting for a new owner.

Telestack has over 30 years of experience manufacturing mobile bulk handling equipment and makes a wide range of equipment: ship loaders, reception feeders, stockpiling, and telescopic conveyors. Some systems can stack up to 3000 tonnes per hour.

"This stock unit is capable of stacking 600 tonnes an hour," says Lance.

"It looks more than capable," is my understated reply, and with that, Lance poses for a quick photo and heads back inside to complete the latest job.

For more information, call 09 269 0160 or contact Lance Cockle at

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