A commitment to providing outstanding customer service, staying abreast of local trends, and ongoing diversification led to Jmar Engineering in Shepparton, Victoria, celebrating it 25th anniversary recently.
Jmar, founded by Mark and Janice Hooper, specialises in component manufacturing, repairs and maintenance across a broad range of industries. Using precision turning and milling equipment, its work includes a good deal of reverse engineering, making parts for equipment bought overseas but no longer available.
The business has also been a supplier to the agricultural industry for almost 25 years. It has a unique product called the Christopher Dairy Bails; a retrofit product suitable for herringbone dairies that allows the farmer to feed in the bail at milking time.
Jmar has also invested heavily in 3D modelling, which has been a great sales tool as the company can now provide customers with an accurate representation of the concept design prior to actual full-scale production.
Nearly all of Jmar’s business comes from around the Goulburn Valley area, within a 50km radius of Shepparton. Expanding its sheetmetal and cutting capabilities with a view to obtaining more local work was what first prompted Mark Hooper to invest in a fibre laser, installed by Applied Machinery.
“Our original laser proved a huge success in securing us heavier and more voluminous work and expanding our customer base – particularly those companies that had previously sent work to Melbourne or Sydney,” says Hooper.
“We ended up becoming a contract cutter and it was this that prompted us to invest in an additional Yawei fibre laser. We were struggling to keep up with the work and we couldn’t afford to let our customers down; this second machine ensured we could always offer consistency of supply and maintain our lead times.”
With its 4kW capacity, a Precitec auto-focus cutting head and a Siemens CNC controller, the Yawei HLF has also provided Jmar with a huge increase in cutting speed, material capacity and quality of cut. This improvement in laser cut parts feeding into the company’s seven-axis Yawei press brake means the quality of the finished product is far superior, particularly with stainless steel.
“When it comes to comparing the two machines, the new Yawei 4kW HLF is so much better,” adds Hooper. “It really is chalk and cheese.”
The Yawei’s additional capacity and high-quality cut has allowed the company to fabricate a more diverse range of sheetmetal products. One of these is a custom designed, all stainless-steel evaporative air conditioner that is being manufactured for a local commercial kitchen builder.
“We’re seeing work that we would never have seen before and quoting on jobs that we have previously not been able to quote on,” Hooper adds. “The new Yawei fibre laser is really transforming and expanding our business.
“Like our previous dealings with Applied, the service was just outstanding with the purchase of the Yawei. Every call to Service Manager Matt Keogh and Service Engineer Mark Bury was answered quickly, every technical question was responded to; I couldn’t have asked for a better association with a machinery supplier. Given our regional location, the quality and speed of service is absolutely critical to us and something we value greatly. It’s so refreshing to know that Applied really have got our back.”
Hooper is optimistic about the outlook for manufacturing in Australia.
“Once we’re through the Covid-19 crisis, I think there’s going to be renewed interest in sourcing locally manufactured parts and components,” he explains.
“There’s certainly a realisation that while we may be a little more expensive, the quality of the local product and personal attention we can provide is something overseas suppliers cannot match. The fact that we’ve had to rebuild so many overseas-sourced parts is confirmation of that.
“This new fibre laser not only allows us to produce the highest-quality products in a faster time, but also provides us with the opportunity to add to the diversity of products we produce. I see a very positive outlook not just for us, but for all Australian manufacturers over the next few years.”
Based on an article printed in AMT magazine, www.amtil.com.au
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