A sign of progress: Company gets $88K grant
A NORTHERN Rivers company will receive a $88,000 grant from the Federal Government as part of the Manufacturing and Modernisation Grant.
The funding will allow the business to buy a new state-of-the-art printer to modernise its production line, double the firm’s output while using less harsh chemicals, reduce costs and also offer extra jobs to locals.
Brian Clarke, owner at Miller Metal Imaging in Byron Bay, said the business employs five people, offering two main types of services and products: durable signage for outdoor settings (think national parks and outdoor council signage) and industrial labelling (including QR codes, barcodes and others).
This printer will automate the production of their photo anodised aluminium products, where the dye is embedded in the metal, producing extremely durable and high quality products.
“National Parks and councils love it, because it’s really durable and long-lasting, the dye and the image become part of the metal” he said.
Mr Clarke, a Northern Rivers resident for the last 15 years, said the new machine will allow for a much more efficient operation.
“The machine costs around $140,000, plus training and changes we need to make to our site to accommodate the new printer to the site, the government’s grant will match dollar for dollar for our part of the investment,” he said.
“It’s going to revolutionise our business, it will take away the manual processes we currently do, it will decrease our production costs, increase output and double it. And also, it means we can employ high skilled labour in our process, because it becomes more cost effective – hopefully up to two new workers in 12 months to two years,” he said.
The machine will be ordered on July 1, and it’s expected to arrive from Europe, be installed and operational by January 2021.
Mr Clarke said some of his company’s work has ended up in highly visible places such as the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea and locally, at Rocky Creek Dam.
“We produced interpretative signage for the Kokoda Trail about four years ago, which we mounted on corten stands” he said.
“The company has been producing Australian Of The Year Plaques for the last 30 years which you can find around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
“If you visit Wollongong Harbour, you will see a project we completed, a series of signs which was produced to encourage the public to fall in love with the site, telling its story and about some of the local characters, and locally, you can find our work showcased at Rocky Creek Dam.”