Published: 21 October 2019

SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS Tuesday 17 September, 2019

Ms FORREST  - Mr President, recently I visited Epiroc's Tasmanian operations in Camdale near Burnie.  Epiroc is an international company based in Stockholm, Sweden, with its Australian headquarters in Perth, Western Australia.  It is an industrial company created in 2018 when it was split off from Atlas Copco, a company founded in 1873 in Stockholm.  The company makes mining and infrastructure with manufacturing plants all around the world, including Sweden, the United States, Canada, China and India.

The advanced manufacturing operations in Tasmania build underground mining equipment sold in the eastern Australian states.  This is a very innovative and skilled operation; it employs around 30 people, including some casual labour, with many other contractors coming and going every day.  Their current schedule for the year is to build 38 machines.  These machines include trucks, timber drills, jumbo drills, shotcreters, loaders and raisebore.

When I visited a couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a genuine passion for excellence and customer service, and a focus on the customer in the building of these amazing machines that are modified to meet the specific specifications of the customer.  The workshop was clean, tidy and really well organised.  I was privileged to visit the workshop to see the almost complete assembly of the drilling rig before it was shipped off to BHP's Olympic Dam.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may well have seen photographs of what was probably the world's first assembly of a large drilling rig that was affectionately referred to by the assembly crew as 'the Ikea flat pack drill rig'.  I am happy to share the photos.  The rig is a Simba M6 and it weighs 26 tonnes.  It will be used for underground production mining of 102 mm diameter holes up to 50 metres deep.  Usually these rigs arrive from Sweden pretty much fully assembled. The Camdale crew modifies the rig to meet specific customer requirements and to meet, and usually exceed, Australian standards.

When this rig was required by the customer, the plant in Sweden did not have time to assemble it, so it was sent in many crates.  The crates arrived en masse from Sweden and any instructions on the crates were in Swedish.

It took the crew at Epiroc about a month to completely assemble and modify this rig ready to ship off.  They have done that since I visited the site when it was only a few days away from shipment. 

I was very proud to meet Dylan Chester, the young man who oversaw the assembly.  Dylan is a young guy with a real passion for his job.  They call the modifications made to the rig 'Dylan's mods', and Dylan redoes the circuitry drawings and other diagrams to include all his mods so that the receiving crew has accurate drawings to support the rig.

Significantly on this point, Dylan is self-taught in this skill; he taught himself to understand the circuitry drawings and to modify and adapt them to truly reflect the rig as delivered.

I continue to be amazed at the precision, skill and pride in the world-class work carried out in the advanced manufacturing that comes out of my electorate.  I am told that feedback from Epiroc's customers has been overwhelmingly positive, leading to more contracts, so the future looks very positive.

Epiroc is also looking to the future with fully automated rigs and other machines and technology to improve safety on site but also of the machines themselves.  Epiroc's website states -

We believe that technologies such as automation, interoperability and battery are the future of our industries. And at Epiroc, the future is already here. These are not just great ideas - they are reality.

I witnessed this reality and saw the innovation and creativity needed for our future.  They are already building fully battery-electric machines that result in zero emissions, which is important both below and above the ground.  It was fascinating to see them.  They are doing really world-leading stuff there.

The website also states -

We are leading the charge towards sustainability in mining through battery‑electric, zero‑emission equipment.  After more than 75,000 operating hours, we are expanding our proven battery offering and zero‑emission underground fleet with the second generation in loaders, mine trucks and rigs for face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement.

Clearly this is the future.  I saw it already underway in a big shed in Camdale.  I commend John Stanton, the regional manager for Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand, and his team, and I wish them all the best with the future they are helping to create.  When you visit the company website vision and beliefs, it states -

Our brand promise is strong:  United in performance.  Inspired by innovation.  Our core values:  innovation, commitment and collaboration. 

In reality not all companies live by their vision, mission or beliefs.  Meeting John Stanton, Dylan Chester, Phil Robinson and Donald McLachlan showed me that this company does live its vision and beliefs.  It lives and breathes them and practises them every day.  It also works collaboratively with the other engineering organisations in Camdale and shares a workforce.  How innovative and creative is that?  They have done so in developing the first 'IKEA flat pack drill rig'. 

I thank them for allowing me to get up close and personal with these amazing machines, and I wish the company and its workforce there all the best.


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