With an air of confidence across the local manufacturing industry, engineering companies in Victoria are investing in the latest plant and machinery to improve productivity, workflow and efficiency, to remain internationally competitive, and to seek out new domestic and export markets.

SWI Engineering – Globally respected machinery

SWI Engineering has grown steadily since the 1990s to become one of the largest sheet metal machinery manufacturers in Australia. The Warrnambool-based company now enjoys significant acclaim internationally as a high-quality manufacturer with the most comprehensive range of high-tech sheet metal machinery in the world, effectively competing against European and US manufacturers, where those companies tend to specialise on just one type of machine. Manufacturing sheet metal folders, automatic slitters and uncoilers, plus the seamless eBend app, the company now has a strong domestic market with volume export sales to United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand and Asia.

SWI Engineering has recently commissioned an Okuma CNC horizontal machining centre model MA-600HII with OSP-P300MA control and ten- pallet facility, along with a Fanuc Robocut model Alpha-C600iA wire cutter with Fanuc series control.

“Manufacturers rave about these machines as they are not too complicated with easy programming, are totally reliable, and provide consistent, high-end quality product.” says SWI Managing Director Ken Veal. “Okuma was selected on performance, back-up service and training from the manufacturer and with all production in-house these were all important aspects we considered.”

The new machine replaces two older machines. Once loaded and programmed, it runs 24 hours a day, with one operator or even unmanned, with remote access where necessary. SWI’s  skilled operators are excited about the new machine and its ability to produce consistent high-quality output.

All aspects of research & development, design, engineering, manufacture and marketing of SWI’s range of machines are handled in-house. Recently, the introduction of advanced and sophisticated networking technology, which allows communication between the company’s various machine models, is now providing a distinct market advantage.

Safeguarding the future of manufacturing in Australia, SWI Engineering continues to train apprentices and has a record of retaining these valuable skills among its 30-plus staff.

Roysen Engineering – Competing through precision

A third-generation family-owned and operated specialist engineering company, Roysen Engineering has invested in its first Okuma machines with the commissioning of the Okuma Genos M560V-e S15 vertical machining centre, an LB3000 EXII BMYCx950 CNC lathe and a Robojob Turn Assist 250 robotic automation solution. The acquisitions are part of a strategic move to improve efficiency and maintain a competitive edge by utilising precision machinery.

“The selection of the Okuma brand was based on the respect this brand has in the market for consistency, dependability and precision along with the company-backed technical training and local service back up,” says Roysen’s Managing Director Jenny Harding. “Okuma personnel have been professional and responsive in every way, allowing for a smooth process from quotation through to commissioning. We are now taking advantage of their training to ensure we achieve the ultimate return from this major investment.”

Roysen was established in 1958, predominately machining components for the automotive industry and other local manufacturers including marine, pump and firefighting industries. In the early 1980s the business diversified and began to develop its own brands. Today, the business continues to engineer and manufacture its own brands while also machining components for businesses associated with the building, construction and mining industries. The company is highly respected for its accuracy, specialising in milling, drilling, tapping and thread cutting.

Today Roysen is also recognised as Australia’s leading manufacturer of commercial fitness equipment under its Australian Barbell Company brand, which is internationally known for its premium-quality dumbbells, barbells, rigs, racks and fitness equipment. With premium-quality Australian manufactured products that are highly regarded around the world, a strategic plan has been developed whereby the company can expand into international markets and take full advantage of the worldwide fitness and healthy living phenomenon.

Roysen Production Manager Craig Jackson comments that the introduction of the new Okuma machines will take the company to a new level, already achieving significant advances in efficiency, workflow and precision – assisted in part by the straightforward programming that these machines require. Jackson adds that the new machines have created an air of excitement among his team and a stimulating work environment, especially for the younger engineers within the company.

Omega Technical Engineering – Taking on new challenges

Established in 2004 in a building just 150sqm in size, Omega Technical Engineering has evolved into an innovative design and manufacturing facility, providing a perfect example for anyone who might suggest that manufacturing is dead in Australia.  The company, taken over in 2015 by the present owner and Managing Director Cheyne Forbes, recently moved into a new 3,000sqm facility, and is investing heavily in the latest and most advanced plant and technology, including sophisticated CNC machinery, robotics and metrology.

Cheyne has overseen the operations of the business since the installation of the first machines, with the company now being the largest CNC machine shop of its type in the region. Okuma is a key supplier in the move by Omega to reduce lead times by increasing machine hours and improving efficiency practises; coupled with the benefit of increasing cost effectiveness. The latest investment is a state-of-the-art Okuma Multus U4000-2SW x 1500 with OSP-P300SA control, complementing existing equipment including a Fanuc Robocut model Alpha 1iE with Fanuc 310isWA control.

“Okuma was a standout for us due to its footprint, the machines specifications, its build quality and the level of factory service available,” says Forbes. “Okuma has a unique approach to fixed service charges with the customer uppermost in mind, treating us as a metro client rather than a regional customer, which keeps our training and maintenance costs down. Also, the level of technical support and unlimited training from people who know the industry is just exceptional.”

The latest machine has reduced eight operations on complex multi-facet propriety turning and milling jobs to one operation on the Multus, producing high-quality finished product from loaded bar stock. In addition, the Multus opens the door to the local production of complex jobs at competitive prices, with the investment providing the company with the capability and capacity to manufacture significant in-house components that were previously imported.

Strategically located in Wodonga, between the major markets of Sydney and Melbourne, Omega is on a solid growth trajectory. With plans to provide clients access to the full range of in-house skills including packaging, brand development and marketing, the company is expanding on the current offering of design, prototyping and manufacture. With strong order books, and a positive forecast from a diverse range of domestic and export clients in automotive, agriculture, medical, defence, mining, food and general engineering, Omega will be producing propriety multi-facet components, while continuing to service subcontracting clientele.

The investment in advanced technologies and equipment is being embraced by the skilled team at Omega. With the recent expansion in facility, capabilities and capacity, the forecast looks bright for this progressive engineering company.

“We are also seeing an increase in interest from highly skilled tradespeople in the region, who see a company willing to take on new challenges and technology as part of the future of manufacturing in Australia,” says Forbes.