Investing in People


Forty-two years of history is claimed by Rockpress Pty Ltd. The company is a major manufacturer and fabricator of metal products for a wide range of industries and applications – particularly the transport market. We spoke with Marketing Manager Allan Mortensen about one of Queensland’s most respected metal fabricating operations.

Established in 1972 by Roy Silcock and Col Todd as Rocklea Pressed Metal Pty Ltd, the company is now known as Rockpress. Forty-two years later, the determination and foresight of those two men has seen the company supplying services to a very broad and diverse market.

At the beginning, the workshop was less than 1,000 square metres. Presently Rockpress (still a family run business) now occupies five adjoining properties with a total factory space of more than 15,000 square metres. In 2005, General Manager David Osborne took over the reins and Rockpress entered into a new phase that saw strategic goals put in place enabling it to grow to the point at where it is today.

The company has continually expanded its technology-based infrastructure, investing in the highest quality and most reliable equipment available. “The result has been greater capacity cost efficiencies for customers and the ability to offer even more dynamic solutions.”

To keep pace with the industry and customer demands, Rockpress added a third precision 6KW laser cutter with a 4000 x 2000mm bed to its workshop floor as well as the introduction of 320 and 170 tonne press brakes to further enhance our bending capabilities. “The addition of these resources opened the way for Rockpress to be even more competitive in heavy steel fabrication, attracting new customers representing some of Australia’s most recognized mining, construction and transport brands,” explains Mr Mortensen.

Also in 2006, the company began to offer an end to end steel fabrication solution by establishing a glass bead blasting area. Its experienced team now offers a wide range of finishing options, including powder coating, metal spraying, wet spraying and garnet blasting.

In 2009, Rockpress unveiled its new administration office and main factory workshop. The building spans two properties and houses administration, the estimating team, design studio, receiving and the major metal processing machinery.

Rockpress can be found operating in a wide range of industries and applications. It works is found in the fields of mining, architectural, engineering, food marine, pharmaceutical and construction. Products include enclosures (cabinets), bus and coach components, signs and frame structures, mining components, void cover plates, stainless steel and carbon steel. The biggest industry sector is in transportation, from commercial truck components and semi-trailer parts to heavy mine vehicle components. The list is almost endless – as are the challenges it overcomes.

“The manufacturing industry faces numerous challenges in Australia,” Mr Mortensen says. “The most significant challenge we are dealing with is the intense global competition, sourcing and retaining skilled labour and ever increasing input costs.”

Over the years, some of the major costs in the manufacturing industry have increased dramatically. In order to sustain a competitive advantage, manufacturers are scrutinizing these cost pressures. For this reason, for a number of years, Rockpress has worked intensely on its internal business processes and procedures. “There is an increasing range of forces making it more expensive to do business in traditional markets. Manufacturers are under intense pressure to do more, do it quickly, and to do it for less and with less.”

Rockpress is known as and has built a reputation on being a company that invests in technology and system improvements – but most of all it invests in its people. “Over the past three years, we have been involved in competitive manufacturing. All personnel have, over the three years, been trained and tested in all aspects of the lean concept and have received certificates on the level achieved. We have, over the last three years, seen a vast improvement in efficiencies, waste and staff awareness towards OHS and the environment. This has given us a competitive edge over our competitors.”

Working with Rockpress, one can see why it has such skilled professionals. The work culture is very positive and productive. The company values its role in giving people the opportunity to forge a career in the metal fabrication industry. It aims to develop the trade, professional and interpersonal skills of all its people. It is also worth noting that it is proud of being an equal opportunity employer, committed to creating a workforce from a variety of backgrounds.

In addition, welding personnel are qualified to the highest standards for structural welding, pressure pipe welding, extruded and rolled aluminium alloys.

A rigorous training regime is implemented for all staff including health and safety, environmental and skills training. Each section throughout the company has a skills matrix displayed in its Mini Business Unit (MBU). This allows the section supervisor not only to choose the correct personnel for the task, but also to develop a training plan for each individual.

Its attention to environmental training has paid off with another project called the Spring Hill Enviro-Cottage to which Rockpress was a major contributor. This project was designed to meet the challenge of an environmentally sustainable housing design. Rockpress fabricated metal screening fixed to the exterior of the refurbished cottage.

“Not only do these screens provide insulation benefits and energy efficiencies, they contribute greatly to the aesthetic appeal of the home’s design. That’s thanks to Rockpress’ expertise in precision punching, cutting and forming of large format steel sheeting.”

Quality and value have been cornerstones of Rockpress since the very beginning. To demonstrate that commitment the company gained quality assurance certification ISO 9001 in 2009. It was a four year journey that also gave the company the confidence and ability to gain accreditation in environmental procedures ISO 14001 and national health and safety practise AS4108. In fact, Rockpress was a finalist in the 2010 Quality Assurance Awards in the Occupational Health and Safety category. Rockpress is also an accredited Australian Steel Development Association (ASSDA) fabricator and a Transport and Main Roads accredited supplier.

Another awards garnered by Rockpress has to do with the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (Clem7) tunnel. “Rockpress was awarded the role as supplier of creatively designed steel components for the Clem7 Tunnel entrances. As one of Brisbane’s latest structural icons, a distinctive visual statement that would stand the test of time was the brief-and Rockpress delivered-with Stainless steel lining strips, incorporating neon back lighting, and sculptured stainless steel framing line the tunnel entrances.”

Rockpress has most services on site. “We like to think of ourselves as a one-stop-shop when it comes to metal fabrication,” shares Mr Mortenson. Company services include: drafting/designing, laser profiling, computerised numerical control (CNC) bending, CNC punching, saw cutting, inclinable presses, heavy fabrication, light fabrication, electrostatic coating (powder coating), wet spraying, thermal spraying (metal spraying), garnet blasting and bead blasting. “As for welding, we have the MAX 500 amp pulsed MIG/TIG (water cooled), approximately 40 off MIG, TIG and MIG/TIG combinations, spot welders and rotary welding jigs.”

All equipment is state of the art. The latest addition to its services is through the investment in a CNC vertical milling centre (four-axis) and CNC lathe with automatic bar feed. These two new machines will not only allow it to control deliveries and cost, but will also open doors for new business opportunities. With these capabilities, Rockpress is even better placed to be the number one choice metal fabricator to the mining, heavy construction and transportation industries.

Strategic Resources

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February 27, 2020, 3:33 AM AEDT


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