Bruce Rock is situated three hours drive east of Perth, approximately half way to Kalgoorlie. Principally a cropping region, the district grows wheat, barley, lupins and oats. It is this agricultural background that gave Bruce Rock Engineering its beginnings in 1980.
The origins of the business were to provide service and maintenance capabilities to the agriculture sector, gradually evolving to fabricating haulage equipment for grain and later the mining industry. Today, the business specialises in transport equipment, principally trailers, end and side tippers, drop decks, truck trays and bodies. Trucks for this part of Australia typically comprise of two trailers, but can be as long as 3.5 trailers or quad trailers for the Pilbara. For the mining industry, trucks typically haul ore, sand and aggregrate material.
“We design, build and manufacture everything in-house,” explains Bruce Rock Engineering, managing director Damion Verhoogt. “Given our distance from Perth and the eastern states of Australia, we have to be capable of doing pretty well everything ourselves. We have a number of stock designs that we show our customers. Mostly though, it is a custom-build, so our design capabilities are just as important as the machinery we fabricate with.”
It is in large part a result of the equipment that the company utilises that enables them to be competitive both in price and lead time. In the last five years, the company has bought from Haco Australia a band saw, Kingsland punch and shear machine, a 12000 x 3000mm CNC Plasma cutting machine and more recently a 4300mm x 320T 7-axis CNC pressbrake.
“With the pressure of the mining industry on available labour in Western Australia and the cheaper products available in the eastern states, we have to be smart about how we do business,” says Verhoogt. “In order to be competitive we need to be more efficient in our manufacturing capabilities and with the Haco machinery, particularly the new pressbrake, we have been able to lower our overheads significantly.”
The company’s choice in machinery provider has been based on experience. When the pressbrake needed upgrading, Verhoogt went with Haco Australia. “The band saw and plasma cutter from Haco have been excellent,” he says. “So when we needed to upgrade the pressbrake from our old, cheaper, 120tonne Chinese brand I had no hesitation about the model from Haco. Not only did we get a far superior machine compared to the old one, but the service and support from Haco has been well worth it. Support and service when you are so far from a major city centre is vital out here.”
With most of the business arising out of word of mouth and transport operators witnessing the Bruce Rock Engineering trailers on the road, the ability of the company to provide a competitive, quality design and build is vital to their ongoing success in the region and the industry. The pressbrake may only be a recent addition to the arsenal of Bruce Rock Engineering, but is already making its presence felt.