Allplastics Engineering specialises in the precision manufacture of advanced and polymer parts for some of Australia’s biggest industries. Managing director Vic Kalloghlian, explains the role innovation has played during the company’s evolution.
Although Allplastics Engineering is not a large corporation, it is an innovator in the industry.From its headquarters in Chatswood, on Sydney’s North Shore, the precision manufacturer has expanded substantially in more than four decades of production.
From humble beginnings, the business began with the manual manufacture of hydraulic parts.
Today, the factory runs with the addition of CNC turning and routing machinery. Thus enhancing the speed and quality of the company’s bespoke plastic products. Allplastics’ products are used throughout a diverse range of industries, including polycarbonate glazing panels in forestry vehicles, bushes in the marine environment, to chute liners in sugar refineries and safety guards for production.
These capabilities maximise efficiency while ensuring a consistent level of high quality finished parts.
Plastic machined parts, machined by Allplastics Engineering are used as replacements for OEM parts or newly designed parts to improve processes. Thermoplastics are available in sheet, rod and tube in materials such as nylon, acetal, PTFE, UHMWPE, polypropylene, PVC, ABS, polycarbonate or acrylics.
Each plastic has its own specific advantages; some examples are chemical resistance, wear resistance, sound absorption, clarity and weight reduction.
In 1980, managing director Vic Kalloghlian joined the team and has taken a new direction with the adoption of automation and innovative materials.
“Allplastics Engineering is a family company,” Kalloghlian said. “It was established in the early 1970s. My brother and director, Raffi Kalloghlian, and I have been taking it forward since 1983.
“From being an industrial service only, we now serve the architectural and building market with niche products. We provide other services such as the diamond-edge polishing of acrylics and bubble free gluing of acrylics.
“When we started, there was no computerised technology, so everything was done manually.
While we still utilise some manual procedures, the CNC technology is able to replicate parts with a higher level of accuracy and is more productive.”
The company specialises in the machining, fabrication and engineering of industrial plastics. Its showroom is a cause of wonder and fascination to visitors.
Inside its doors, the walls are laden with translucent acrylic sheets, in a wide spectrum of colours. Among them, a sign lists the diversity of the manufacturer’s production line, which adds value to a variety of industries, including construction, mining, signage, defence, food, hospitality, pharmaceutical, marine and engineering.
“Being an SME of 15–20 people is a challenge but we have discovered that we cannot put all our eggs into one basket,” Kalloghlian continued.
“Roughly 30 years ago, our business was machining hydraulic seals. Whilst that is still a small part of our business, we have diversified in response to market demands.
“Our business is bespoke in everything that we do. At the machining level, our unique industry knowledge allows us to offer practical advice and solutions to clients when they come to us with design ideas.”
Pushing the envelope
Expanding into different industries hasn’t come without its trials.
In 1999, a fire destroyed virtually all of their machinery and stock. It was the hard work and perseverance of owners and staff that allowed Allplastics Engineering to reform bigger, better and smarter.
Kalloghlian says there is always the risk of spreading yourself too thinly, but insists the company’s adoption of new technologies and a keen eye for global trends has kept it ahead of the curve.
“We are multi-tasking in this business,” he said. “We are machining and fabricating plastics while also introducing new materials.
“By automating some processes to significantly reduce manufacturing time, we are able to meet customer demands more efficiently. This has enabled us to establish our diverse client base.
“Regardless of the industry; if there is something that moves or wears out, Allplastics Engineering will be involved in some way, supplying Australian made goods rather than importing from overseas.
This, is of course, a challenge with the [high] labour costs in Australia.”
By removing the tyranny of distance that offshore manufacturing can cause, Kalloghlian says Allplastics is providing the customer with “better control”, both in the quality of service provided and the guarantee of faster delivery.
By utilising materials with better wear-resistance than, say, steel, Kalloghlian explains how his wear resistant polymers are “prolonging the life” of their components.
“For example if you compare, lightweight polyethylene versus timber, polycarbonate versus glass or acetal bearing versus steel, our plastics will reduce the weight of an assembly, structure or vehicle,” he said.
“You can’t replace glass in every application but there are many where you can. It’s important to know what options are available and have them at your fingertips.”
Film for bus windows and unbreakable safety shields used in pharmaceutical manufacturing are just two of many applications where the choice of plastic over glass makes sense.
Introducing lighter-than-timber composite panels that will support heavy weight, Allplastics also offers an alternative material for the transport industry, which Kalloghlian says, can reduce travel time and fuel consumption.
“Think of Australia Post – they have around 10,000 vehicles on the road,” he continued. “If they were able to reduce the weight of each vehicle in their fleet by 75kg – there are great savings to be made on travel time and fuel plus it’s a win for the environment.”
Persuading the industry
Bright ideas are not always an automatic success, however. It takes time to find the right people to work with, Kalloghlian explains, and then present a solution businesses not only like, but need.
“Quite often, end users are conservative and hesitant to try new possibilities,” he said, “so, in order to demonstrate the benefits of a new product, we sacrifice time by bringing them new samples before they go to market.”
Allplastics Engineering successfully obtained ISO 9001 accreditation in 2017. They are currently in the process of implementing integrated ERP software to ensure the process of manufacture, sales and logistics will become even more streamlined.
“We employ these new innovations and continual improvements to provide our customers with the highest level of service and enhanced quality,” added Kalloghlian.