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North West Manufacturer Defies Industry Downturn

North West Manufacturer Defies Industry Downturn

This article was originally published on ABC News, Thursday 11 July 2013. Read the original article here

There is hope the expansion of a sheet metal producer in Tasmania’s north west is a sign of revival in the manufacturing industry.

Direct Edge has officially opened a new factory at Burnie, bucking the downward trend in the sector and employing 75 people in an area with a notoriously high jobless rate.

The Chief Executive Officer, Diane Edgerton, says it is part of a $7 million expansion of the company, which is defying the industry slowdown.

“We’ve probably more than doubled in size to what we originally were, and we are still employing people, and we are still looking for people to employ so we haven’t stopped growing all the way through.”

Direct Edge CEO Diane Edgerton
Direct Edge CEO Diane Edgerton (Image Source: Jonathon Gul, ABC News)

The sheet metal will be sold to mining, marine and car companies throughout the world.

The factory boasts a $1 million sheet metal processing machine billed as the fastest in the world.

Operator Damien Lee Smith says it should increase output.

“Its accuracy is up to point one of a millimetre, very reliable, and environmentally it uses very little power, a low area of compressed air, which I suppose makes it cost effective at the same time.

“Before this machine, the processes that are carried out on the machine, like the bending, the cutting and so forth would have been done individually in each step, whereas on here, it’s all done in the one spot,” said Mr Smith.

Ms Edgerton says it is a strategic investment.

“I have no doubt that manufacturing will continue to grow and manufacturing is evolving into a whole new era, with these types of machines.”