At a gala event, attended by several hundred leading Victorian manufacturers, men and women from a broad range of industries were recognised for their outstanding contribution.

This year’s inductees included Toyota Australia, Alcoa, industrial textile manufacturer CE Bartlett and Oz Press, a maker of metal press fasteners. Also among the 2006 list were Patties Foods, Marand Precision Engineering, Neo Products and noodle manufacturer, Hakubaku.

A major boat manufacturer Haines Hunter and bus manufacturer, Volgren were inducted along with GKN Aerospace Engineering Service and Metaltec Precision International. Two other leading manufacturing inductees were Air Radiators, air-conditioning and heating company, and Sealite, manufacturers of marine aids.

Announcing the inductees, the Victorian Minister for Manufacturing and Export, Andre Haermeyer, said all were awarded for their innovative approach to global expansion.

“These manufacturers have gained recognition for the key roles they are playing with international supply chains and highly competitive global markets,” Mr Haermeyer said.

More than sixty Victorian based companies have been recognised by the Hall of Fame since its launch in 2001.

Paint manufacturer, David Haymes, printer George Gatehouse and car manufacturer Peter Thomas received Hall of Fame Honour Roll Awards for their contribution to their industry and community.

Archie Cowan was awarded the Jim Watkins Award from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

The Victorian Young Manufacturer of the Year Award went to twenty-eight year old, Prue Morgan from Gippsland Aeronautics. The company produces the GA8 Airvan, used for search and rescue, security and touring. It is the only commercial manufacturer of aircraft in Australia and Airvan is sold globally.

Prue Morgan is a commercial pilot who now demonstrates the Airvan at airshows around the world. After the devastation of the tsunami, Morgan flew an Airvan from the Latrobe Valley to Medan Sumatra to deliver medical supplies.

A new Innovation in Manufacturing Award was given to Colour Vision Systems, CVS, for its fruit grading systems. The technology based on the integration of mechanical conveyors with advanced sensor and vision electronics is aimed at automating the process of fruit grading, bringing the age old practice of sorting fruit into the 21st century.

Since1989, CVS have grown from a turnover of $950,000 to over $14 million with a third coming from exports.

CVS has developed and patented new products including a conveyor suited to the gentle handling and high accuracy weighing of a wide range of produce, a new generation of defect grading electronics and a non-invasive sweetness grader.

Inductees in the limelight

Fourteen successful manufacturers have been inducted into the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame 2006.

CE Bartlett was established fifty years ago by Cliff Bartlett. Bartlett made and repaired tarpaulins from his home and his son Keith now manages the business. Today the company makes blinds, awnings, canopies and covers.

The company is developing new sealing and fabrication techniques for woven polyethylene fabrics producing a range of tank and dam liners, semi-trailer side curtains and tarps as well as covers for grain and hay.

CE Bartlett now exports wine press membranes to the US to assist in grape crushing, and Flexiflume, used for irrigating sugar in Ethiopia.

Neo Products started as an industrial design consultancy in 1987 and now has an established manufacturing arm for small and medium production runs of a range of products with clients including NEC, Philips, Tabcorp and IBM.

The company is a major supplier of gaming machines, public access terminals, multimedia payphones, photoprint kiosks and music download kiosks for Sanity and Virgin music stores.

Sixty per cent of total sales are in SE Asia and Europe. Several thousand photo kiosks are supplied worldwide for clients such as Konica, Sony, Kodak and Fuji.

Sealite manufactures a range of marine navigation aids including solar-powered marine lights, ocean buoys and remote monitoring equipment using GPS and radio-based technology.

The company has an annual turnover of $12 million with its products including channel markers and LED lanterns as well as more than three thousand rotationally moulded shipping buoys each year.

A number of Sealite’s products have been US Coast Guard approved for use on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sixty per cent of the company’s products are exported to the US, UK, Europe and Middle East. After hurricane Katrina they shipped 1500 navigation buoys to the US.

Sealite operates a separate business unit called Avlite Systems, which caters for strategic solar-powered airfield lighting applications including lighting for the Royal Flying Doctors, mining companies and remote indigenous airstrips throughout Australia.

OzPress started out as K&K Fasteners in Ballarat in 1974, manufacturing small pressed metal fasteners for holding cars and whitegoods together.

The company has since adapted, changing with new demands to develop components for automotive design. With clients including Victa Lawncare and Trico, OzPress provides products throughout Australia.  The company also won the Toyota Supplier of the Year award for 2005.

Patties, the name well recognised for its high quality food products, started as a family-owned cake shop, and is now one of the largest Australian-owned food manufacturing companies, with an annual turnover in excess of $108 million.

Patties has just been granted a US export license and is now the largest pie manufacturing company in the southern hemisphere.

Air Radiators, a market leader in heat transfer and air movement solutions, was established in 1974. The company designs and manufactures custom industrial radiators for power generators for the rail, mining and heavy truck industries.

Customers Include Kenworth, Caterpillar and Bombardier Transportation. Air Radiators exports to the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the US contributing to an annual turnover of $30 million.

Alcoa began operations in 1963 at the Point Henry Smelter and now has an annual sales revenue of $2969 million. Alcoa produces one-third of Australia’s aluminium production and is the only manufacturer of rolled aluminium products. Alcoa exports to Japan, Korea, SE Asia and Taiwan, which accounts for six per cent of Victoria’s merchandise exports.

Alcoa is leading the way to making aluminium ‘climate neutral’ which means the global warming impacts of aluminium production will be fully offset by the amount of carbon dioxide emission saved by the use of aluminium in the transportation industry through light weighting of vehicles and improved fuel efficiency.

Volgren has been producing buses in Victoria since 1977 and is now the biggest operation of its kind in the country. With an annual turnover of $75 million its clients include Grenda transit, Dyson and Keffor Corporation.

Volgren exports to Singapore and Hong Kong and supplies ‘bus kits’ to Malaysia. It also has facilities in Western Australia.

GKN Aerospace Engineering Services commenced operations in Melbourne in 2001. Over ninety-five per cent of its aeronautical engineering services are exported to clients including Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The company has utilised its unique processes and systems to avoid having to relocate services in geographic proximity to manufacturers.

Haines Hunter, established in 1959, now boasts a range of thirty-two purpose built fishing and pleasure craft.

The boats are manufactured in modern premises in Melbourne with a complimentary facility north of the Gold Coast in Queensland.

The company exports to Malaysia and Noumea while keeping up with domestic demand remains a priority.

Hakubaku is the largest selling dry noodle brand in Japan. It produces two thousand tonnes of noodles a year from its Ballarat based plant.

Hakubaku exports six noodle varieties to Japan from Australia.

Marand was established in 1969 as a one-man tool making business for the automotive industry.

Today, many global manufacturers use Marand’s diversified capability in engineering solutions and systems integration.

The company exports thirty per cent to the US, Portugal, China, India and Singapore, with clients including Hawker de Havilland and Ford.

Metaltec is an engineering project management business servicing the manufacturing industry. The company has been designing and manufacturing equipment, tooling and processes for diverse markets and the aerospace industry for the past fifty years.

Metaltec created the Australian Synchrotron’s precision positioning system and now exports thirty per cent of its services to the US and the Asia Pacific region.

Toyota Motor Corporation Pty Ltd produced 110, 000 vehicles last year in Victoria to the value of $42.5 billion, making it one of Australia’s largest manufacturing enterprises and largest vehicle exporter. 

With plans to expand its Altona plant, Toyota now exports to the six countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council in the Middle East.  

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