Advancing Tasmania’s manufacturing
Storemasta is a perfect example of an innovative local company that has found great success with out-of-the-box thinking.
It has carved out a space as Australia’s leading manufacturer of dangerous-goods storage, supplying its product to a raft of our biggest business names from Coca Cola Amatil and Visy, to Rio Tinto.
Based in Burnie, the company is also actively growing its export market.
According to the recently formed lobby group, the Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Committee, Stormasta is exactly the sort of niche operator that has helped spearhead the sector turnaround.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Tasmania’s advanced manufacturing sector,” Committee Deputy Chairman, Kent Wyllie says.
“Not so long ago, there was little positivity around manufacturing, however my observation is that now we are in a period where we are seeing incredible opportunity.
“Two years ago we were worried about workers getting jobs. Today we are seeing a skills shortage.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Committee is charged with guiding the future growth of this sector and is keen to capitalise on Tasmania’s unique advantage as an island state.
“We should not think of Bass Strait as a hindrance,” Wyllie adds.
“On the contrary, our unique island mentality is one of our greatest assets. Our ability to fix problems in an ingenious and unique way is our greatest asset."
While Wyllie admits some of the traditional manufacturing industries are having trouble, he says our focus needs to be on specialist, value-added products, and embracing new technology.
That is exactly the philosophy that guides companies, like Storemasta.
With a manufacturing plant in Burnie, on the north-west coast, and teams of dangerous goods experts based in Sydney and Melbourne, Storemasta employs a workforce of 48 people.
This low-key Tasmanian success story also only sells a fraction of its product – two to three percent – within its home state. The bulk is sold interstate, with a growing export market to Asia and New Zealand.
Storemasta provides an ‘end to end’ service, designing and manufacturing a range of tailored solutions for dangerous goods storage, including flammable liquids, corrosive substances, chemicals and explosives.
It specialises in hazardous storage cabinets, flammable storage cabinets and spill management.
“We build products that reduce risk and improve efficiencies in the storage and management of dangerous goods,” Storemasta Marketing Manager, Walter Ingles explains.
“We are the only Australian company involved in the manufacture of customised dangerous goods storage products.
“Our business is highly automated and highly specialised.”
The business is also spread across a number of sectors, all with their own highly specified needs.
Food and beverage producers – for instance, Coca Cola Amatil, Nestle and Mars Snack Foods – may require specialist storage for highly flammable flavourings such as peppermint.
Manufacturing plants, like Visy, Nustar and Caterpillar, have more extensive requirements, including large storage for gas cylinders, machine lubricants and flammable liquids.
Laboratories require small, indoor safety cabinets, where the segregation of chemicals is of prime concern.
The mining industry needs large outdoor dangerous goods storage for petrol, fuels and lubricants. They also need dispensing stations where large quantities of liquids – including lubricants – can be safely pumped in a contamination free environment.
Storemasta has come a long way over 25 years, from its humble beginnings when sheet metalist – David Urquhart – built small safety cabinets as a sideline business. Today is it continually evolving and embracing new design and technology.
Much like Tasmania itself.
“We need to constantly add a level of digital expertise to be able to compete on the global stage in the advanced manufacturing sector,” Wyllie says.
“Tasmania should not be scared of taking on new challenges.”
Image courtesy of Manufacturers Monthly
12 September 2018, Edition 198