As Australian manufacturers look for ways to survive amidst an unrelentingly strong Australian dollar and high labour and factory costs, one lighting manufacturer seems to have uncovered the right mix.
Australian owned lighting manufacturer Wadco has geared its operations to be both boom and bust resistant the company’s general manager Rob Day told Ferret.
“A lot of manufacturing companies get into trouble with high overheads,” Day explained.
Wadco carefully manages overheads throughout the entire supply chain, with management taking a ‘hands-on’ approach to everything including in-house product design, and testing to development and purchase of tools for injection moulding, metal spinning, extruding, and high pressure casting.
Day explained that manufacturing in Australia isn’t easy; however it creates jobs that would otherwise go off-shore.
“It’s very hard to be a local manufacturer because anything done in high volume can be re-engineered in China and sent to market,” he said.
Acknowledging the challenges, Day explained Wadco has managed to stay under the radar because they produce a niche and specialised product range.
Wadco has specifically designed light fittings for dirty environments and many fittings are noncorrosive and proven in port and mining applications. They have also supplied factory, warehouse and food sector lighting for the past 38 years.
Recently the company found a gap in the food industry; Day told Ferret that has resulted in the production of surface mounted LED lights for freezers.
Wadco has also invested in the development of high performance LED lights for abattoirs and food preparation areas that meet industry OH&S and Department of Primary Industries and Energy Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service requirements.
The durable lenses, which are manufactured in the outskirts of Sydney, provide even illumination and distribution, eradicating ‘hotspot’ problems found in LED fixtures generally.
The Wadco LED light range has also been developed to control glare and can be completely hosed down.
Wadco’s lights are designed with retrofitting at front of mind to assist existing customers minimising installation costs.
Reliable mine site lighting is costly but necessary for safety regulations to be met and to keep machines moving 24 hours a day.
Over the years Wadco has supplied the likes of BHP and Rio Tinto with 316 stainless steel fittings and recently released the Wadco Ex hazardous lighting systems for adverse locations.
Day explained that Wadco’s lights comply with International Standards and the company takes its responsibility to ensure every light is constructed exactly as it’s been certified very seriously.
“We put all of our lights through incredible amounts of testing,” Day said.
“The new hazardous LED range alone had $30,000 worth of tests completed, including temperature, dust and ignition test to ensure safety.”
The company’s new high performance LED lights are more efficient and environmentally friendly then metal halide or fluorescent alternatives.
“The entire lighting industry worldwide is changing with major breakthroughs in LED technology,” Day told Ferret.
“In the last six years every lighting company has gone through big changes.
“It’s been really terrific for the industry,” he said.
Wadco is now expanding, having purchased larger premises to increase warehouse space and expand production.