Headland Machinery speaks with Brendan Butler, Production Manager, and Tim Vohmann, Programmer, from AstralPool about their recent purchase of a Makino PS95 Machining Centre.
Why did you need a Machining Centre?
“AstralPool manufacture a range of internal components for our Viron Pool heaters.
“We originally looked at a machining centre to bring our machining of these gas heater components in-house. We did our sums and we figured we could save up to 70% on several high tolerance individual components if we brought this machining in-house.
“We also wanted to move towards a Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing process to improve our efficiencies.
What other machines did you look at?
“We looked at many machining centres, the whole spectrum, from secondhand to new from the cheapest to the most expensive.
“We liked the functionality of the Makino PS, the price and also the fact that it was in stock, which meant there was not a large lead-time you typically get with an imported machine.
“We also liked the fact that we received 40 hours on-site training and also the ongoing local support. The support and spare parts availability was a big factor in the decision-making and Headland could provide what we needed.
What’s the benefit to having the Makino Machining Centre as part of your production?
“Since the machine was installed, we have seen real returns as much as our expected 70% cost savings on manufacturing this in house.
“Instead of outsourcing the manufacture of five different stainless steel header plates, we outsource the laser cutting of two kinds and then we customise the rest in-house. This allows us to be much more flexible with customisation and also reduce our inventory to a huge 95%, this also fits within our Lean / JIT processes.
How can you keep the manufacturing of your product local and still compete?
“The biggest reason why we can keep manufacturing local is our ability to customise our products to meet our customer needs. Most of our competitors cannot customise their products because they are not locally manufactured, they import standard products. Our products are of high quality; so we service the high-end supply, we manufacture and assemble components in Australia at a competitive price.
“We manufacture components as well as assembly in Australia. Many of our competitors only assemble.
“We also invest in technology to keep our costs competitive, and our assembly costs are lower than most.
Where are your offices located and how many people are employed at AstralPool?
“We have over five sales branches Australia-wide, with stock in each state, sales and service.
“We have between 65-120 staff in manufacturing, depending upon the season and we also have 80-100 administration staff including service and sales”.
Established in the 90s, Hurlcon was a locally owned family company that was bought out by AstralPool, an International Company.
Their products primarily service the pooling industry, although they also manufacture Hydronic heating and radiators to offset the cyclical nature of their industry.
Located in Noble Park with over 10,000 square metres of manufacturing and warehousing floor space.
While they mainly service national markets, export accounts for 10-15% of their business, exporting to 52 countries and growing.
Read more about AstralPool here www.astralpool.com.au