Endeavours: Australian products linking with the world

Finalists for this year's Endeavour Awards in the global integration award, sponsored by ICN (Industry Capability Network), have been announced. All companies are reaping the benefits of integrating with international supply chains.

Finalists for this year’s Endeavour Awards in the global integration award, sponsored by ICN (Industry Capability Network), have been announced. All companies are reaping the benefits of integrating with international supply chains.

Australian Power Steering

Project: Power steering servicing and testing equipment

AUSTRALIAN Power Steering designs power steering changeover units in the automotive industry and has developed a range of power steering servicing and test equipment manufactured by the company for domestic and international markets.

Following years of research and development, a machine has been developed that is producing components to tolerances finer than the original equipment supplier, with reliable on-time deliveries plus cost savings.

These machines proved so successful that sales soon developed within Australia.

A strategic decision was made in 2005 to attend and network at international trade shows in US and Europe to establish if there was a wider market for the company’s specialised test equipment.

A formal export sales strategy was then developed which included the appointment, early in 2007, of a european sales manager, based in Italy. Today exports of the APS test equipment are expanding with installations in Europe and the UK with promising new leads developing in US and Asia.

The APS range includes universal valve trimmers; power test and pump test units; mobile system analyser; manual tie rod press; universal manual cam grinder; internal copy cam grinder and a mechanical load bench.

The company is currently competing against the some of the world’s leading equipment manufacturers, achieving sales and high levels of interest from both large and small remanufacturers and advanced service workshops.

CST Composites

Project: Filament wound carbon fibre spar tubing

STARTING from humble beginnings, CST Composites has grown to be one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of filament wound and pultruded tubing for the marine industry.

The company has since added pultrusion to its filament winding processes, with its products made in carbon, Kevlar and glass.

Several years ago CST identified a shift in the global market for sail boat spars from aluminium to carbon fibre. The company’s computer controlled filament winding technology was specifically developed to fulfil this need, allowing the production of next generation lightweight spars for this niche market.

Despite the company’s success in the American and Asian markets, Europe with its proud maritime history, remained an untapped market for the company.

Its objective was to further expand sales of its filament wound carbon fibre spar tubing to Europe and after identifying that the European carbon spar market was fast maturing, set this as a target area to increase sales of its carbon spars.

Initially direct sales of some products to retail customers in Europe were achieved; however constraints with time differences, shipping costs, availability and market acceptance meant that opportunities were reduced. CST’s philosophy was to retain manufacturing in Australia and export products through a distributor network rather than set up new offices in Europe. The advantage of CST’s unique computer controlled filament winding technology meant that products could be cost effectively manufactured locally and sold through European distributors strategically chosen for their location, product services and existing market position and acceptance.

Heat Treatment Australia

Project: Vacuum Caburising and Vacuum Brasing

HEAT Treatment Australia provides heating services to all areas across Australia and some international destinations.

After identifying a significant gap in the heat treatment sector for a thermal processing service able to supply the international aviation industry, the company then looked at the processes which were most sought after and created the most problems for Australian manufacturing companies.

After extensive R&D, the company decided on the purchase of two new processing furnaces designed to further increase the company’s technological and processing advantage over national and international competitors.

The company’s ability to finish components they would normally have to go overseas for, meant a great saving in costs and logistical issues.

Management identified the trend towards creating global partnerships and together with the newly acquired equipment and the strategic implementation of the new systems, the next step for the company was to begin establishing strong links with international organisations.

Trips were taken to the US and a series of internal audits were undertaken with customers and suppliers in order to secure contracts. The new furnaces had to also be validated to receive compliance for US requirements. After forging links with several international companies, Heat Treatment gained processing approval for the processing of components for the Joint Strike Fighter project. As a result of their new global relationships, the company says they expect to increase the number of customers with their capability demonstration.

The company has recently completed its first Joint Strike Fighter order and have several other components in the pipeline.

Marand Precision Engineering

Project: Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 Lightning II

MARAND Precision Engineering is no stranger to the international market, but by focusing on precision engineering and stringent quality performance, the company has secured contracts with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 Lightning II project, the world’s largest single defence program in history.

The company recognised it needed to develop a new long term business strategy to adequately support the expected 10 to 30 year JSF project requirements, instead of the standard two to three year projects the company was used to in Australia.

Marand identified a number of world best practices and technologies and after extensive research, implemented these over many years to transition the company from a fundamentally domestic supplier in the Australian market to a globally recognised niche supplier of innovative aerospace and automation solutions.

The involvement in the JSF project has helped establish the company as a recognised proven supplier and an exporter of highly engineered and complex ground support equipment, tooling, automated robotic and machine tool solutions and is now a global supply chain partner of Lockheed Martin.

Being on the doorstep of Asia has also had some great advantages for the company, who has successfully competed with suppliers of complex or high value capital equipment which traditionally comes out from Europe, America or Japan.

Marand is now a niche player in global manufacturing based on their proven track record of delivering successful projects involving the innovative development, design, manufacture and inspection of complex aerospace and automotive tooling, automation systems and ground support equipment, which it now exports to the US, UK, Asia and soon Europe.