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AMT DEC 2017/JAN 2018


State Spotlight

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

fuselage dimensions.

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

Archer team.

“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.”

Archer co-Directors

Russell (left) and

Brad Byrne.

Archer Enterprises’ facility in Somersby, NSW.