Manufacturing News

Finalists in the Australian Steel Innovation Award

Showing great innovation and creativity, these companies are all strong contenders in the 2008 Australian Steel Innovation Award, sponsored by BlueScope Steel.

CGC Kymon

Product: Manufacture of Precision Forgings for Wind Turbines

CGC Kymon is demonstrating how Australian capability in advanced manufacturing can provide opportunities for local companies in the international renewable energy industry.

The company delivers custom open die forged components from 1kg to 6,000kg and will deliver over 1100t of precision engineered forgings this year to Winergy AG of Germany, a part of the Siemens group of companies.

The company uses 100% recycled Australian Made Steel in its exports. This steel uses greater than 95% of recycled materials in its production. The company’s high integrity engineered gear components are used in drive mechanisms for wind turbines.

CGC Kymon have invested over $1m in new plant to become an accredited supplier of precision engineered forgings to Siemens’ German Manufacturing Facilities and to meet the growing demand for gear parts for Winergy AG.

CVW Engineering

Product: CVW Automotive Component Workholding System

AFTER recognising that accessing cost effective, high quality work-holding devices, or fixtures, for automotive component machining applications was difficult, CVW Engineering developed a work-holding system platform designed specifically for high production precision machining automotive applications.

The system is designed to improve the economics of work holding system supply by reducing lead times and costs. The system does this through an innovative design concept that is termed standard platform, specialised envelope.

By combining a standardised platform with a flexible work-piece envelope, the system maximises value for the customer in reducing development time and cost.

The system is said to be unique from a standard off the shelf modular fixturing solutions, as it provides not only work-piece flexibility for model variations, but also ultimate work holding system integrity through, maximum structural stiffness, optimised location and clamp point arrangements, high force clamping and optimised hydraulic porting and piping.

Fork-SAFE International

Product: TFC (Traffic Flow Control)

FORK-SAFE International developed the TFC Series, a bolt-together system designed to warn when vehicles or pedestrians are around.

According to the company, the TFC Series has had a major impact on the business success. The range now provides over 60% of the companies turn-over in sales. Turnover has increased dramatically, and based on sales and marketing projections, increases of over 125% grow p.a. are in line for the next 6-24 months. Profit margins have increased by 4-5%, and as the volume of product is being increased in manufacturing, the increase in margin is also set to increase by a further 2-3%.

The company’s marketing aims at the versatility of the TFC Series and the ability to alter and change to suit a company’s environment. Contracts have been awarded as a result of this, and a number of customers have also instigated discussions for national supply to their various sites to enable them to have a standardised safety system.

JNI Pallet Systems

Product: Collapsible Timber Pallet Converter

BUILT to suit a standard timber pallet, the pallet safe converter is designed to convert the timber pallet into a secure four-sided meshed storage container.

According to the company, many alternatives were not fully collapsible with fixed components, so parts had to be removed during stacking, creating a massive problem with lost components.

After a process of investigation and development, the Collapsible Timber Pallet Converter range was created.

The product range is predominantly produced from pre galvanised tubular and merchant bar sections and is said to be a lightweight and safe solution to materials handling, storage and transportation problems.

Black steel components are zinc plated prior to fabrication with all welded areas repaired with an anti-corrosive primer.

Key features of pallet converter include fully collapsible structure to 300mm height, rear and sides totally captive, and a removable front gate, either in single or half drop position, designed to secure the stock on the pallet in racking to better reduce the risk of injury and damage from falling goods.

Ron Clarke & Sons

Product: Handcrafted Steel Products

FAMILY-run and owned Ron Clarke & Sons produces art works, signage and murals to corporate companies (both nationally and internationally) councils, tourist venues and local other businesses.

The company was the first to create a three dimensional product out of a flat piece of steel, while maintaining the metal’s strength and size.

Using only an oxy torch, Ron Clarke is able to create award-winning intricate designs which would take thousands of manoeuvres on a computer generated cutting device and are impossible to replicate.

All of the company’s products are one-off pieces that are hand-crafted specifically to the clients’ needs.

Ron Clark & Sons have found a niche market in producing quality handcrafted products.

Relying entirely on word of mouth and from publicity in local newspapers, the business has attracted international attention, recently being featured on US television on a PBS Documentary entitled ‘Roadtrip Nation.’

The documentary featured people who have defied conventional career paths to pursue their own visions to create something truly unique and special that will stand the test of time, and Ron has done this by turning a talent into a successful small business.

Wairua Holdings

Product: Double Action Hinge System

TAMWORTH can now be known for more than country music with rural hardware manufacturer Poplar Pastrol Co under the trading name of Wairua Holdings, developing an innovative new product.

After attending a series of field days in NZ, the double action hinge system was created after the company identified a need for a hinging system that would allow an opened gate to swing back against a fence.

Whereas NZ farmers swing their gates on the side of a post to achieve this, the Australian company didn’t think this was an applicable solution for local farming practices and decided it was more efficient to a gate in the same direction that the livestock are travelling.

Tested through the company’s own experiences, the product has received positive feedback from farmers.

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