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Making next-level manufacturing a reality

Posted: 12pm 12 Aug 2020

New equipment valued at almost $1.8 million has taken Brendale’s Elexon Electronics to the next level – increasing its capability to manufacture for the defence, medical and mining industries. It’s good news for jobs and manufacturing in the region.

The manufacturing powerhouse quietly goes about its business in an unassuming industrial unit at Leitchs Rd.

CEO Frank Faller says the business, part of the Elexon Group, has called Brendale home since 2006 and comes up with creative solutions and new components for clients

“Elexon Electronics turns ideas into products. So, typically we have customers approaching us with either problems or ideas for a new product and we sit down with these customers do some brainstorming what exactly is it that needs to be resolved,” Mr Faller says.

New capacity to grow

Elexon Electronics recently received $890,325 from the State Government’s $46 million Made in Queensland (MiQ) program, which it used to buy new equipment to improve capability, efficiency and precision.

Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher says Elexon purchased a new storage system, jet printer, pick and place machines and soldering systems to update its manufacturing line.

“This has allowed Elexon Electronics to double its productivity while reducing costs to stay competitive,” Mr Butcher says.

“The company has been able to put on two new full-time workers, upskill six existing workers and retain its full workforce as a result of the MiQ project.”

Mr Faller says the new manufacturing line is a game-changer.

“Its cutting-edge technical capabilities allow us not only to be on the forefront of advanced manufacturing in Australia, but also to compete internationally and allow Queensland businesses to have their hi-tech products manufactured locally.

“We very much appreciate the support of the Queensland government. This investment helped us to keep our manufacturing in Queensland rather than having to start looking at offshoring.”

What Elexon Electronics does

Next time you buy a roast chicken from Woolworths, take a close look at the oven. Elexon Electronics created the electronics and display board that controls it … and the oven was built by another Brendale business called Technobake.

Elexon has also manufactured an RFID reader system used by the National Livestock Identification Scheme, which records electronic ear tags and cattle movements in a national database.

It’s also created wireless sensors for tracking iron ore flow in underground mines and caves, bat detectors, and mobile digital presentation signs.

Collaborating to save lives

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it challenges but also opportunities the team at Elexon has grabbed them with both hands.

One such example is the chance to work on a Queensland made and designed ventilator called OzVAder.

“Our part is to develop some of the electronics components. It’s in the testing phase, waiting for TGA approval but it’s looking very promising. My understanding is there are already firm orders in place,” Mr Faller says.

“Of course, we know that time is of the essence. We’re not in the driver’s seat for this project but it’s an interesting project where a company called Olitek … they do all the mechanical parts and the whole system architecture and then there’s software engineering from QUT.

“The idea is that we can manufacture those ventilators here locally and we’re not dependent on any components, any parts from overseas.”

Local manufacturing is vital

Mr Faller is passionate about manufacturing in the region and his message to the broader business community is to think local and try sourcing locally before looking overseas.

“I think that manufacturing is really an area that creates value, that creates sustainable jobs and know-how. It allows us to be independent from outside sources and suppliers in times of crisis can have disruptions as we’ve seen,” he explains.

“Quite often it’s said, ‘ít’s cheaper to take it overseas’. That’s always only a very narrow view. When you look at the total picture, when we include the whole logistics, the communication, the whole timeline of service, then I think local manufacturing has a lot to offer.

“So, where I see a challenge is to get the message out to other players in the industry to say we have capabilities here. We hear so often, ‘we didn’t know this existed here in Brisbane’. So, by default they have the complete product and design, and they say the next step is to automatically go to China to have it manufactured. We can do it better here.”

Want to know more about Elexon Electronics? Head to the website.

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