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Australian manufacturer localises services for mining sector

5 June 2014

Australia’s manufacturing sector was given a boost today with the announcement that Nordon Cylinders’ new manufacturing plant in Brisbane was now open for business.

The new plant, operating under Friction Welding Australia, is the first company to make available locally a friction welding service for products including hydraulic cylinder shafts and drill rods, which are heavily utilised in machinery used in the resources sectors.

The new friction welding machinery, worth about $2.5 million, can weld components together in under five minutes, a process which can take up to four hours using traditional welding methods to complete the same job with the same quality.

Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, who officially opened the site today on behalf of the Prime Minister, said the new plant would build on what was already a $30 million operation in Queensland and NSW, currently employing 54 people.

“While the manufacturing sector is facing challenges and is undergoing a transformation, we continue to see innovative Australian manufacturers like Nordon Cylinders find new ways in which to grow their business,” Mr Baldwin said.

“This plant’s opening is good news for Australia’s mining companies, this service which ensures machinery needing repair is again safe and compliant with engineering standards is now available locally, where previously it has only been offered overseas.

“The Government through its National Industry Investment and Competiveness Agenda is working with the manufacturing industry to develop better policy frameworks to assist Australian industry as it moves to take advantage of new global opportunities.”

Co-owner of Nordon Cylinders, Fay Vogelzang said manufacturing in Australia was tough but in no way dead and there were many opportunities still available if companies were willing to innovate, invest and believe in their operations.

“Last year we were able to rescue Australia’s oldest cylinder manufacturing operation located in Dubbo (NSW) and save everyone’s jobs because we saw what no one else saw, quality local services, that needed to better promoted,” Ms Vogelzang said.

“The opening of Friction Welding Australia represents two years of planning and the next stage of growth for Nordon Cylinders. Over the next few years we expect our operations will expand to other areas Australia, creating more jobs.

“This new service we offer to the mining sector is a huge opportunity for us to contribute locally to the growth of the resources sector and create Australian jobs.”

Nordon Cylinders was founded by Norm Johnson on 13 October 1972 at Geebung in Brisbane, Queensland.

The business was conceived as a hydraulic service business originally in the mobile equipment field with earthmoving equipment and later embracing industrial hydraulics across a variety of industries. The repair of cylinders exposed Nordon to a wide range of designs and their corresponding strengths.

With the knowledge gained from repairing and servicing cylinders, Nordon developed quality cylinder manufacturing and hence that side of the business gained momentum which led to the decision in the early 1990s to make the transition from service and manufacture to full time manufacturing.

Media contact: Mr Baldwin's office 02 6277 4200