Trailer Magazine

Safety at the core

  • From the December 2018 issue.
Safety at the core

Capral’s Campbellfield facility is known for constantly reinventing itself with new technology and equipment in the interests of providing bespoke aluminium solutions.

In the north Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield, Capral Aluminium holds a 7.2 hectare plot of land boasting three sprawling warehouses totalling around 2.5 hectares. Packed with aluminium processing equipment, pride of place is given to the company’s industrial press – the largest in Australia, notes Brad Ryan, Vic Industrial State Manager.

“We had our press installed in 2003, which allows us to extrude long lengths for the transport and marine markets,” Brad explains. “These days it is running around the clock to meet our customer needs, especially after seeing a lift in volume over the past couple of years.”

Capral is always looking to provide new services. “We’re very future focussed,” says Mark Murray, National Market Manager Industrial Products. “While some companies only look to tomorrow, our vision is five to 10 years ahead. We don’t just supply material, but invest in new equipment to provide a whole range of added value services that help our customers.”

The Campbellfield facilities added value services include powder coating, drilling, knurling and precision cutting capabilities as well as storage and warehouse space for clients, and as of late 2015, the Campbellfield facility is home to a new seven axis robotic CNC machine. While other types of technology have been used in the automotive market, Brad says this new technology will further assist the marine and transport manufacturing industries of Australia.

“The new robotic CNC was an important addition to Campbellfield because it has capability to fabricate up to 17m long length extrusions to meet customer demands,” he explains – adding that the ability to react to Australian road transport industry trends like the longer Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved trailers is only possible for a local supplier. “Being based in Australia means we can invest in equipment like the new robotic CNC to meet our local customers’ needs and to supply material from our warehouses in a much shorter turnaround time.”

Brad says part of finding opportunities to improve our value add offering is through sharing experiences with its clients, which Brad explains are always welcome to come visit the Campbellfield site. “It’s about working closely with our customers to ensure we get an improved productivity outcome.

“There is so much opportunity and the devil is in the detail,” he says. “Continuing to do something just because it is the way it has always been done is not good enough – there are ways to improve productivity and offer our customers a viable fabricated solution. You just have to scrutinise all parts of the business.”

The warehouses are kept in a near-immaculate state with the constant attention of Capral’s high visibility-clad workers, which Brad explains is not just done for aesthetics. Instead, it is part of the heavy safety focus that starts at the top with Site General Manager, Richard Axe. Amidst the orderly lines of packaged extrusions ready for shipping and clearly highlighted walkways, the safety focus is evident from the countless signs plastered around the warehouses.

“Our Campbellfield aluminium operations have full OH&S accreditation, but that’s just where our safety focus starts,” Brad says. “Our people are really proud of how things run, but when you’re talking about safety there are always smarter and safer ways to do things.”

Each new piece of equipment prompts Capral to run its staff through extensive training to ensure it can be used safely. “We always take the time to properly train our staff on new equipment,” he adds. “We make sure that when we take steps to reinvent ourselves with new technology, we never compromise on safety.”

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