AMT DEC 2017/JAN 2018
New South Wales
What began in a garage when fitter and machinist Barry Byrne
identified a niche requirement for locally produced bespoke
precision engineering and manufacturing, is now a world-class
800sqm Manufacturing Centre of Excellence. Archer began by
making marine equipment and sprinkler head units for automatic
fire extinguisher systems. A decade later Barry was joined by his
son Stephen, who had skills in machining, fabrication and electrical,
and a certificate in fire control.
The duo moved into a 60sqm industrial unit and their reputation for
producing high-quality precision engineering led to a wide variety of
projects – from tooling and truck body fit-outs to the first lightweight
polystyrene bicycle helmets, to critical-performance parts and back-
up support for the Collins-class Royal Australian Navy submarines.
Their products remain in operation on the subs 20 years later.
Archer became known globally when the company designed
and built sophisticated scientific test equipment that enabled
manufacturers of fire sprinkler systems to comply with strict
international operating standards. Conventional equipment was very
expensive and took up whole buildings. Archer’s radical idea was
to replace the massive test chambers with a 2m trolley-mounted
apparatus called the RTI Plunge Test Tunnel, which revolutionised
the industry. It is now being used in laboratories acround the world.
This project highlighted Archer’s evolution into a full-service design-
to-manufacture Product Realisation Centre, involving design,
manufacturing, electronics and controls, fabrication, assembly,
bench testing and publishing of operation materials.
Other landmark precision engineering projects have included the
manufacture of complex titanium and stainless steel components
with very fine tolerances for the world-first GRANEX renewable
energy turbine generator. This included going beyond the brief
and providing the client with fraction-of-a-millimetre variants -
demonstrating the changing behaviour of the materials under
extreme operating conditions.
Archer designed and manufactured new-generation Pop-up
Underground Pressurised Nozzles for the protection of the Royal
Australian Navy’s latest MRH-90 helicopters at HMAS Albatross.
This required recalculating spray patterns to accommodate new
A 40-year overnight success story
Third-generation precision engineering and manufacturing company Archer Enterprises, located on the Central Coast
of NSW, is celebrating a major milestone with its 40th anniversary.
In 2003 the third generation of Byrnes joined the business.
Russell, with his mechanical-technical background, operated the
CNC equipment, while Brad stepped in to look after the day-to-
day operational and administrative responsibilities. Since then the
company has grown dramatically, with the construction of the state-
of-the-art Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, and investment in
the latest engineering and manufacturing equipment from suppliers
such as Okuma. Today, there are 11 people who make up the
“This business has always been central to us,” says Brad Byrne. “I
remember working part-time for Dad after school for pocket money.
He had me putting slots in pistons, de-burring, and polishing engine
“The business we run today is a legacy of our grandfather’s courage
and determination, and our father’s philosophy,” adds Russell
Byrne. “They had an eye for detail. They were perfectionists. They
looked at every job with a can-do attitude.”
“They were willing to take risks,” adds Brad. “And they were long-
term thinkers. In everything they did they planned for the future,
and this is why we have been so focused over the past decade
in making ourselves unique, being able to think outside the box,
having a holistic approach to each project, and building up a
complete end-to-end solution for world-class product realisation.”www.archerenterprises.com.au
Russell (left) and
Archer Enterprises’ facility in Somersby, NSW.