Council helps engineering solutions company on growth path
15 years in business is a significant milestone and that is what Tony Bowyer from Automation Systems & Controls in Bayswater will be celebrating next year. Not bad for a business he started in his suburban garage.
Tony and his business partner Ricky Colling have guided Automation Systems & Controls to achieve 35 per cent growth over the past two years, which he attributes in part to connecting with Knox City Council’s Economic Development Unit.
“The first event I attended at Knox Council was a business breakfast seminar on networking and not long after was invited to participate in a group training program,” Tony said.
“We have since attended and participated in a number of events and programs that has contributed to our current success.”
Automation Systems & Controls is an automation engineering services company that supplies a broad range of industries with automation, machine vision and identity, robotic and safety solutions.
It has considerable experience in food, pharmaceutical and manufacturing with the company’s staff providing tailored solutions throughout Melbourne.
Since connecting with Knox Council staff numbers have grown from eight to 13.
Business growth is coming from the desire of manufacturers to automate processes, whether that is for improved quality control, greater efficiencies or getting more value out of their expensive production lines.
“We provide a total engineered solution to companies. In years past, most manufacturers would have had their own in-house engineers to develop and install automation, but this is now outsourced to specialists such as ourselves,” Tony said.
Two recent projects completed by Tony and his team demonstrate the benefits of automation.
Plastic packaging manufacturer
Automation Systems & Controls designed and built from scratch an in-mould labelling machine applicator for plastic packaging for the food industry such as ice cream, soup and yoghurt containers.
Previously this type of packaging had labels glued on, then the plastic was printed with an ink label. Now, the labels are printed in the same plastic material and injected to form part of the plastic container. It’s a much better, smarter-looking product because it’s all in the one unit.
The project involved a considerable amount of service, mechanical, PLC and engineering work.
Bottle production line
With limited production runs in Australian manufacturing, reducing the time taken to change from one product to another on the same conveyor, can result in significant bottom line savings.
Automation Systems & Controls has just completed a project utilising robots, vision and conveyors, sorting randomly laid plastic bottles so they are placed correctly on to a production line ready to be filled.
The camera identifies where the bottles are and the robot picks them up and places them in line, thereby providing a fully automated solution. The fast changeover from a 100mL bottle to a one litre bottle is now software driven, which is far superior than the previously mechanical process.
Tony’s association with Knox Council saw him join the Bayswater Business Precinct (BBP) last year where he is benefiting from connections he is making.
“BBP is great from a networking perspective and I enjoy attending their events and talking to other business owners. I have now also joined SEMMA and while I understand that networking takes time, I have laid the seeds for future collaborations with other companies in Melbourne’s east,” he said.
“One of the Council’s opportunities we seized included a government subsidised training program, which led us to appoint a business coach who has been instrumental in our growth.
“In addition, it’s been important having the right direction for the business, understanding our time because we are all time poor, having clearly identified roles because we found some were duplicated, and defining a clearer structure for growth.
“If I hadn’t attended that breakfast seminar, I’m not sure that our recent business growth would have occurred. Now we can be confident in our attempt to double the size of the business in the next three years.”
Fellow Directors of Automation Systems & Controls, Ricky Colling and Tony Bowyer in their Bayswater factory with a robot that is used for a variety of manufacturing applications.