A survey of 48 Australian steel fabricators involved in medium to large projects across the country has revealed an average of $4.4 million invested over the past two years in advanced plant and equipment, a total recorded investment of over $210million.
The survey was undertaken this financial year by the ASI. Based on the survey results and data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the total investment across the Australian fabricator community for that period is estimated to be in excess of $400million. This investment takes in the latest technology in new overhead cranes, plate rolling equipment, CNC beam lines, angle lines and plasma cutting lines installed over the period surveyed, in effect increasing total capacity for the sample by 143,000 tonnes per annum. Extrapolated over the total market, this represents an estimated total structural steel capacity increase in the order of 30 percent.
The fabricators surveyed also increased covered production space by around a total of 120,000sqm. This commitment is continuing with a declared investment in plant and equipment planned for the next 12 months (from the sample) of $100million. In the sample surveyed, this represents an increased capacity of another 112,000 tonnes a year or 20 percent projected over the total market. Additionally, this projected investment would increase under roof capacity by a further 78,000sqm.
“Our fabricators are increasing their capability and capacity and investing in Australia’s future not only in the installation of new plant but also by keeping skills in Australia to build and maintain a sustainable steel manufacturing sector,” ASI Chief Executive, Don McDonald said. “Australian fabricators currently report an Australian average utilised capacity running at 76 percent. The sector has ample capacity in reserve and is more cost competitive due to recent investment in automation as well as the lower Australian dollar.”
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