Portafill helps Mills move the hills


PERTH-based family business Mills Contractors hadn’t heard of Portafill or their UK distributor SCG Supplies Ltd until a couple of months ago – but a chance encounter has resulted in the firm taking delivery of a new MR6 scalper to assist with various reclamation projects.

Paul Thorne, sales director at SCG, was on the road home from a meeting with another Perth firm, Binn Group, when suddenly a fleet of immaculate silver trucks started passing him on their way into site.

The trucks belonged to Mills. Paul hadn’t previously heard of the company but realised if they were running trucks of such high spec, they would potentially make great members of what Paul calls ‘The Portafill Club!’

After looking the firm up online and making contact with the office, a lady answered the phone and responded, “Ah, we can be difficult to spot if you don’t know the area.”

Paul visited their offices, had a quick chat and left a brochure. Two evenings later, the phone rang. It was Sean Mills.

Three meetings, a lot of biscuits and a site visit involving both Sean and his brother Stevie later, a deal was struck for a new Portafill MR6.

The Mills family tradition of working in the earthmoving and haulage industries dates back to the 1950s when the brothers’ father Sean (John) Mills moved to the Perth area from Ireland. He worked on many significant projects and eventually enlisted the help of his sons.

Today, Mills is a progressive, tightly organised and highly skilled business which still places family involvement at its core.


Airdrie-headquartered SCG, Portafill’s Scottish distributor, says there are synergies between Portafill and Mills as Portafill employs three generations of the founding Rafferty family. The company has recently moved to new, state-of-the-art premises in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Paul Thorne said, “At the centre of Portafill’s design strategy is the ability to produce original ideas through experience drawn from creating processing solutions over many decades. Add this to the very latest design and manufacturing techniques and you have a complete approach to machine production.

“The range has grown during the last few years in particular and now includes tracked jaws, cones and impactors, screens, scalpers and tracked stockpiling conveyors.”

The MR6 tracked scalper is described as a “natural progression” for Portafill as it is the big brother of the renowned MR5 (formerly the 5000CT), which sells strongly not just in the UK, but all over the world.

Like its little brother, the MR6 features a hydraulic two-way to three-way changeover at the push of a lever. Once on site, deployment is taken care of in under three minutes with the aid of colour coded, numbered levers. The operator interface is clear and easy to follow.

The 4.2 metre screen box uses progressive screening geometry to allow both scalping action and fine screening simultaneously and there is a choice of side or end tensioned screen media ranging from simple mesh to punch plate, fingers and heavy duty scalping grizzlies.


Portafill’s innovation includes ideas such as re-programmable remote control units. The remote control can also be used by the operator of the loading machine to make tracking movements from the cab to allow increased stockpile capacity, wind rowing or ease the task of clearing up around the machine. 

Paul added, “Stockpile capacities are excellent anyway with the 800mm wide side conveyors having a discharge height of 3775mm.

“One of the problem areas on three-way split scalpers has traditionally been access to the underscreen collection conveyor for maintenance of skirt rubbers. With the addition of rams on this collection conveyor, the MR6 boasts both ease of access for inspection and fast, easy removal of the complete conveyor from the machine should a belt change ever be needed.


“Possibly most interesting of all, the new ideas that come with the MR6 is the design of the engine compartment – both engine bay doors open to allow ground level, 270 degree access to all parts of the engine, hydraulics and electronics for maintenance and servicing.

“With a transport weight of just under 22 tonnes and length of 10680mm, the MR6 is easy to transport and throughput tonnages are comparable to much heavier, more cumbersome machines.”

Meanwhile, SCG Supplies has been awarded the parts dealership for DEUTZ engines. The business will be supplying the full range of genuine DEUTZ engine parts including DEUTZ factory remanufactured engines.

SCG managing director Stephen Grieve said, “We are excited about bringing on the DEUTZ dealership to SCG Supplies, as it fits directly with our business.

“A large majority of screening and crushing machines run DEUTZ power units and that fits directly with what we already do. We also look forward to continuing the good name, backup and service already offered by DEUTZ.”