ACO steels itself for growth with Emu Plains factory opening

Global drainage solutions company ACO has upgraded its capabilities and will hire up to eight new workers at its Emu Plains site.

Yesterday the Australian subsidiary of the German-based ACO group opened its new steel production area, allowing it to create building drainage products for the local and export markets.

Australian managing director of ACO Polycrete David Eisenhuth noted the company’s products were used at sites all over Australia, such as the Sydney Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval and Perth City Link, and had recently been exported to Thailand for two kilometres of racetrack in Bangkok.

The expansion will assist the company to make and sell products that will be inside buildings as well, as outside of them.

“Tomorrow we’re going to be selling products for inside commercial buildings,” he told attendees at the opening.

“Building drainage products. Commercial bunding products. And that’s the reason why we’ve invested significantly in the development of a new stainless steel production facility.”

ACO has occupied the facility on Old Bathurst Road since relocating from Northmead in late 2004. Since then it has performed upgrades including to its polymer concrete production facility, which Eisenhuth says produced over 4,000 tonnes of polycrete last year.

Penrith Lord Mayor Ross Fowler, who cut the ribbon, praised ACO and other global companies operating in the western Sydney city.

“One of the underlying features in the vision of the council is to create job opportunities for those people who live locally,” he said.

ACO employs over 90 people at the site, located close to the M4 Western motorway and at the foot of the Blue Mountains.

The company is one of about 8,500 manufacturing companies located in western Sydney, which contribute roughly 16 per cent of gross regional product. These also make up nearly half of the total number of greater Sydney’s manufacturers’

The upgrades began in October with a pitch to the German parent company to “start knocking a few walls down,” operations manager Simon Preston told Manufacturers’ Monthly, adding that sales of stainless steel products were actually up during the refurbishment. “All made in-house,” he proudly noted.

There are plans attached to the company’s growth to increase the amount of exports, which make up roughly a tenth of revenues, as well as generally increase sales of products made with the upgraded stainless and mild steel capabilities.

“Our goals for export is to grow the market that we sell into by between 10 and 15 per cent, every year,” explained Preston.

“But our goal more importantly for stainless steel is to more than double sales within the next two years.” 

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