AMTIL member Abcor, a component maker for the automotive, truck and defence industries, has announced a new five-year supplier contract with Isuzu to produce high-tech bull bars.

The deal represents the culmination of a long and involved development program with Isuzu Company Limited (ICL) in Japan and IAL (Isuzu Australia Limited) to supply world-class genuine bull bars for Isuzu trucks for the Australian and NZ markets, with the potential to export to other Isuzu markets globally. Announcing the contract, John Kaias, Director of Abcor, said the deal was more than two years in the making and Abcor worked closely with Isuzu – the highest-selling truck manufacturer in Australia with sales representing over 25% of the total market in 2017 – to secure it.

“The partnership approach was important for Isuzu and us,” said Kaias. “Our engineers worked side-by-side, including several meetings in Japan, to ensure the product design, manufacture and performance was outstanding. It was vital to integrate the bull bar performance and styling with the truck and for the final product to be endorsed by Isuzu Japan as a genuine part.”

To fulfil the contract, Abcor invested heavily in new equipment at its multi-million-dollar automated production facility in Campbellfield, Victoria, and will employ an additional 22 staff. New tooling equipment for the highly specialised manufacturing and assembly line was supplied by a local automotive tool maker, providing work for other Victorian businesses in the struggling automotive industry.

“Bull bars are a highly specialised accessory and must meet stringent design rules,” Kaias added. “The production utilises the latest world-leading manufacturing techniques including robotic welding and polishing to produce these world class bull bars.”

Isuzu Australia Limited Director and COO Phil Taylor said Abcor’s track record in delivery of quality components, its world-class manufacturing facilities and globally competitive pricing were all important factors in its appointment.

“Abcor’s commitment to excellence, among other criteria, has been a standout attribute since the start of the process,” said Taylor. “We are delighted with the business partnership and look forward to a successful collaboration.”

Abcor, trading originally as Preston General Engineering, was founded in 1971. With a strong focus on world-leading design, engineering and manufacturing skills, the company now employs more than 200 people across automotive, truck and defence divisions.

“We are an all Australian company and very proud of our world class design, innovation, engineering and manufacturing capabilities,” said Kaias. “We will continue to develop home grown skills and use Australian suppliers where possible, to keep manufacturing in Australia competitive and renowned.”