A family owned business that was founded in 1946, Steber International originally produced timber clinker hull boats, transitioning to fibreglass (FRP) construction in 1959. It is now considered as one of the pioneers in the construction of fibreglass vessels in Australia.
The Apical team recently organised a tour of the Steber manufacturing plant which is on a four-acre site in Taree a town on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
Generous host and General Manager, Alan Steber shared salient advice gained from his experience running a composites business for over 40 years. His strong belief in networking was demonstrated by the calibre of invited speakers, including the Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, and State Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead, both of whom outlined their commitment to manufacturing in the region.
Alan also explained that an active R&D program is critical for continued innovation and growth in regional areas. “Given the distance from key decision makers, we simply have to stay ahead of the pack by knowing more and offering innovative solutions and products,” Alan said.
Alan proudly led a tour of the factory covering a $2m export vessel, 43ft navy vessel, 4380 sports cruiser, 34ft commercial fishing vessel and a host of other projects under construction. Alan explained that it takes on average 43 mouldings to make one Steber commercial and/or recreational composite vessel.
The event was another advanced manufacturing facility tour initiated and organised by our team.
Organised by Apical Int., with a view to showcasing technology, some 80 Composite Australia members enjoyed their visit to Ryman Composites’ new manufacturing facility at Milperra, Sydney.
Guests had the opportunity to tour each stage of the modern 2,500 sq m production facility to see examples of the company’s diverse composite products and view each stage of production including design, lamination, mould making and finishing.
Among the highlights of the display was the opportunity for delegates to experience the award-winning SynFlyt 3DOF (degrees of freedom) outdoor flight motion simulator in a composite pod developed for pilot training schools large and small.
Chris believes strongly that there is room in the market if you are prepared to manufacture professionally. He shared salient advice gained from his experiences running a composites business for over 40 years. Lessons he has learnt — more often than not the hard way — include: run with a good thing; don’t undermine your suppliers; pay bills on time; share your success; and to carry people with you.
He has learnt to be cautious of people who distract you from your business, warning to be wary of customers that may attempt to run your business and inventors who may “never give birth”. Chris’ mantra is to “do it yourself and not buy other’s ideas”.
While always challenging, business is done on the power of good partnerships and customer relationships, says Chris.
Manufacturing is undergoing an historic transformation across the industrialised world. While we can learn from Germany, the reality is that Australia’s advanced composite manufacturing sector will adapt the best elements we have here, and around the world, to service our unique characteristics.
Smart and intelligent textiles and fibres are engineered to sense, monitor, track, measure, communicate, transform, conduct, protect, react, dispense and transport. They can be changed by exposure to stimuli, such as electric and magnetic fields, stress, moisture and temperature and to perform a myriad of functions. This broad and eclectic area of textile technology evolved to find solutions to new millennium expectations in apparel and industrial applications in health, aerospace or geotechnical.
In conjunction with long term partners, Deakin University, the TTNA hosted the Smart and Intelligent Textiles Conference to profile products under development and those that have reached commercial markets including wearables as well as smart textiles in sports, medical care and military applications. In short – what has been commercialised and by how much.
The event featured long term friend and colleague of the TTNA, Dr Ing. Dieter Veit, Dept. Head of Department Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University in Germany whose all-embracing and entertaining presentation included a working model of luminous textiles for architectural applications.
It would appear that opportunities in the field of smart and intelligent textile abound with the world market estimated to exceed AUD 4 billion by 2025.
A heartening confidence in manufacturing textiles in Australia is good reason for the owners of Melded Products to reinvest and reopen the iconic company.
Penguin is a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia; one would think an unlikely place for an advanced manufacturing facility. An invitation by Managing Director, van der Woude, encourgaed fellow manufacturers, suppliers and thought leaders of the Australian advanced composites sector to travel to Penguin
From its beginnings as Canoe N Surf manufacturing canoes and kayaks over 40 years ago, John took us on the challenging journey that has seen Penguin Composites build a diverse portfolio of composite products for Australian and global clients, constantly adapting to a changing environment and client requests.
John’s wise words of advice were to be open to a constant cycle of disruption, innovation and change.
…..another event initiated and managed by the Apical team.
FRP has gained considerable worldwide interest and growing acceptance in the construction industry as internal reinforcement to concrete structures particularly in highly aggressive environments where corrosion of traditional steel reinforcing bar is a major problem. Composites Australia and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) partnered to provide Australian civil and composite engineers with access to the latest knowledge on an innovative solution to the costly corrosion of concrete infrastructure.
Civil engineers from some of Australia’s major public infrastructure organisations were among the many delegates representing more than 30 organisations who attended the workshop at the Royal Queensland Golf Club and kindly sponsored by Iconmat Australia, suppliers of innovative solutions for the Australian concrete construction industry.
Another event managed by the Apical team.
Thanks to the efforts of the Federation of Asian Professional Textile Associations (FAPTA), the Technical Textiles & Nonwoven Association (a client of Apical International), Deakin University and its Institute for Frontier Materials, the Silk Road is coming to Australia in November 2015!
The Australian composites industry trade mission to Malaysia is timely given the country’s focus on realising the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, 2016-2020, and the importance placed on innovation and technology – a nice synergy for Australia’s composites sector and its ability to offer innovative solutions.
A Victorian family business showcases what it takes to succeed in the current challenging manufacturing environment.