Upgrade a big vote of confidence

STRONG COMMITMENT: Richard Della-Riva and FMP exectutives at the official opening.
STRONG COMMITMENT: Richard Della-Riva and FMP exectutives at the official opening.

AUSTRALIA'S largest brake parts manufacturer has made a strong commitment to Australian manufacturing and to the Victorian state export program with the commissioning of a new $3.5 million moulding press as part of an $8.8m upgrade to its Ballarat manufacturing facilities.

The new advanced moulding press investment, supported by a $2m grant from the State Government's Industry Transition Fund (ITF), was officially opened earlier this month at a ceremony in the Ballarat plant by the Minister for Manufacturing, Export and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva.

Employing more than 280 personnel and producing in excess of 13.1m brake parts each year, FMP Group (Australia) Pty Ltd (Bendix) is already a leading exporter of automotive components and a major contributor to regional Victoria.

Speaking at the opening ceremony FMP Group (Australia) general manager, Graeme Dixon, said: "The new press from world leading manufacturer IAG Industrie Automatisierungs gesllschaft M.B.H of Austria delivers a new era in technology, allowing our highly skilled engineering team to develop and bring to market the most advanced products to secure our future as Australia's and the region's leading brake component manufacturer. This high-tech press coupled with investments in other advanced equipment totalling $8.8m is the largest made in this business in the last decade and demonstrates our commitment to our shareholders, our employees and to Australian manufacturing."

The new fully automatic press centre is capable of handling various friction material compounds, automatically weighing, apportioning and compressing material to metal backing plates in a technically advanced hot pressing and curing process with 16 pressing and ventilating cycles. Press and ventilating cycles as well as temperature divergences are controlled by microprocessors which automatically calculate and control the required cycle time. The production capacity and efficiency of the new press will increase output dramatically and assist in advancing leading edge brake technology.

FMP Group (Australia) Pty Ltd is a joint venture company owned by Honeywell International (USA) and Pacifica Group Limited (Australia) and is the technical engineering and research and development centre for Asia Pacific. In addition to the extensive Australian manufacturing facilities in Ballarat the company operates manufacturing plants in Malaysia and Thailand.

Mr Dixon and the management team were supported at the opening ceremony by Dr Rainer Bostel, Honeywell International President of Friction Materials worldwide.

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