Fabrication Expertise Acknowledged

Specialist mineral processing maintenance equipment manufacturer, Russell Mineral Equipment, has won the WTIA Fabricator of the Year Award for 2012 in the Large Company category.

Australia’s leading organisation promoting research and technical expertise in welding, the Welding Technology Institute of Australia, judged Russell Mineral Equipment (RME) against rigorous criteria, including its health and safety record, quality, export success, take-up of technology, training, and management expertise. 

RME were presented their Award at a Gala ceremony in Sydney recently.  Representing the RME Fabrication team, Manufacturing Manager Dr Rick Coker observed that “good welders always take personal pride in the quality of their work.  Whether it’s the integrity and neatness of the weld itself, the craftsmanship in producing a fabricated item, or the coding of complex machining and cutting equipment, unfortunately these skills often go unrecognised or unrewarded by those who don’t understand the effort required to do these jobs well. This award is greatly valued as an external recognition of the quality of skills displayed by RME’s Fabrication Team.

“This award is different to other sources of verification of the skills of RME’s welders that we have, such as ISO accreditation.  This fabrication award is assessed by our industry peers, and to be acknowledged by the WTIA Council with this award, certainly supports the fact that what we do at RME is regarded as more than ‘just welding’.”

Speaking in regard to how RME internally acknowledges and supports the performance of their Fabrication cohort, Dr Coker said ”in 2012 RME introduced a formal system of performance based pay for the 30 boilermakers employed by the company.  We did this to clearly communicate the performance standards that each team member was individually expected to achieve, and to actively assist them to further develop their skills to move up the quantitatively and qualitatively graded pay scale. 

“So, far from being unacknowledged as skilled and dedicated tradesmen, the fabricators at RME have many opportunities to be rewarded through remuneration and professional development.  We believe the fact that this has made RME an employer of choice in the local labour market was a strong influence on the judges’ decision.”

Through 2012, RME responded to a large increase in demand for its products by introducing a number of technological improvements to the company’s fabrication operations.  Dr Coker said “to boost the volume of works put through our fabrication facility, and to ensure that quality was not compromised, the company invested in advanced plasma cutting and sub arc welding resources.  This uptake of technology, and the training opportunities it provided some of our team, also boosted RME’s standing with the WTIA judges.”

Russell Mineral Equipment is the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of specialised equipment and services to a niche hard rock mining market.  RME’s equipment and services makes the maintenance of grinding mills faster and safer, and has boosted the productivity of mine sites in more than 45 countries.  Russell Mineral Equipment exports around 90% of their production overseas, and has around 340 staff located in its Toowoomba headquarters and three aftermarket sales subsidiaries in North America, South America and South Africa.