Motion Australia’s Workshop and Design Hub in Chullora, New South Wales is a perpetually growing enterprise of engineering savvy and ingenuity that services the Australian industrial centre nation-wide. “We get a lot of enquiries for weird and wonderful things that give us the opportunity to showcase our extensive manufacturing capabilities, both custom in-house solutions and refurbishments,” remarks Workshop Manager Mark McKiernan.
“Advanced machining and surface treatment technology allows us to create more sustainable, affordable solutions for customers on a much quicker turnaround time. We do a lot of things—bearings, sheaves, pulleys—to name a few. For customers, it’s much more efficient to work locally with us to get components, than ordering from overseas.”
Mark began his career at Motion Australia in 1977 as a fitter and turner and has since become well versed in the engineering side of the business.
After 40 years of service, his passion for his work remains clear: “Motion has been good to me over the years, and it’s a two-way street,” he smiles. “I love what I do. I do a lot of work with local industry—producers, manufacturers, and heavy industry across sectors. My clients span from all over Australia and Indonesia— and quite frankly, there is nothing more satisfying for me in my work than a happy customer and a job well done.”
In recent years, the Chullora team has been getting more involved in reclamation for bearings housings.
“A lot of older sites use housings that they trust and prefer local solutions,” says Mark. “In my role, I get the housings shipped in from the customer’s site along with their requirements. Then I examine the housings for cracks and fractures and send them out to be x-rayed and tested to spec. Once it’s back in the workshop, we clean up any cracks or fractures, weld them, machine them, and spray them with a stainless-steel blend with a fine bit of copper in it. That adheres to the casting and then depending on the customer’s preference, we spray it with a tungsten carbide thermal spray or a ceramic which bonds with the stainless steel.”
“From there, we have it shipped back to the customer and installed back on their original equipment, and there it is —a housing just like brand new.”
The cost of reclaiming an old housing is about two thirds cheaper than casting a new housing from scratch and the lead times are significantly shorter, according to Mark. Once the team at Chullora receives the housing to the workshop, they typically give themselves a three-to-four-week window to do the job. Whereas the lead time for manufacturing an entirely new housing can be up to six months.
Recently Mark and the workshop team did a job for a customer in Newcastle just days before Christmas. The lead time getting a new bearing was going to be at least 12-14 weeks.
“We managed to perform the restoration and have it back on site for the customer in two weeks,” he says. “The customer was very happy with a cost saving of 60% off the quote for a new bearing and such a quick turnaround time. It was a win-win for the customer, and for us, because we earned ourselves a new client from this job.”
When it comes to sheaves, Mark says the engineering hub at Queensland and Chullora —led by Josh Price —does the design entirely in-house using engineering capabilities and the advanced 3D modelling software, Solid Works.
“Our sheaves are constructed to Australian standards in accordance with Crane Codes,” explains Mark. “Basically, the sheaves scape is all based around freight loading. We fabricate the frames, and all the mechanical parts are tested and certified to spec. Many of our customers have sites that require a full inspection test plan, and we assist with arranging that and ensuring it’s fully certified and signed off.”
Drumming up more business relies heavily on experienced sales and technical engineers who perform site visits state-to-state, according to Mark, who rates Motion’s engineering expertise in Australia second to none across all facets of engineering. “Our team in the field come back with a lot of enquiries from sites. We put a together a quote package, drawing up designs from scratch, and making suggestions for improvement that are then relayed back to the customer. All the channels that work to make this happen really speak to how Motion Australia’s business works like a well-oiled machine,” he concludes.