Fenner Dunlop to invest $23.5m in Kwinana plant expansion

Fenner Dunlop plans to undertake a $23.5 million expansion at its Kwinana manufacturing facility in Western Australia to meet the increasing demand for conveyor belts in the state.

The manufacturing plant also incorporates an innovative testing and research and development (R&D) laboratory to ensure that all work is done to the highest quality and safety standards and all systems are under constant review and continual improvement.

Site work is scheduled to start in March next year with the commissioning in December 2021. The new press line will start full production in January 2022.

“The plant expansion is part of our longer-term strategy, following the plant opening in 2009 and the initial expansion in 2013. While the expansion is a reflection of our success, it allows us to maintain our responsiveness in quoting, production and delivery to meet the constantly changing requirements of our customers,” Fenner Dunlop chief operating officer Steve Abbott said.

Fenner Dunlop specifically built the $70 million plant in 2009 to produce steel cord belting.

At the time, it represented the largest investment in conveyor belting manufacturer ever made in Australia by any company.

In 2013, an additional $20 million was invested to install a second press line to double the plant’s production capacity and increase the Kwinana workforce by 30 per cent.

Australian manufacturing has survived many challenges over the past decade. The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 has demonstrated the value of Australian manufacturing to the economy and to the mining sector in particular.

While other companies are contracting and moving their manufacturing operations offshore, Fenner Dunlop continues to support the local economy and is proud to be the largest conveyor belt supplier in Australia and the only company to manufacture the complete range of conveyor belts for all mining applications locally.

“Kwinana is close to its main customers, allowing us to provide a quality product with reduced lead times while keeping the investment in WA. Our customers have the convenience of dealing with a global business, supported by a state-of-the art conveyor belt manufacturing facility in their backyard and the assurance of technical support that understands the local operational environment,” Abbott said.

Today, the facility houses two of the world’s largest steel cord press lines and has the capability to produce steel cord and rubber ply belting up to 3200 millimetres wide and up to 50 millimetres thick.

Fenner Dunlop has once again partnered with Siempelkamp to commission the third line, which is the finest multi-piston press and associated equipment in the world, continuing the longstanding partnership in the production of high-quality conveyor belts.

The third line will increase the plant’s capacity by a further 50 per cent, and additional investment will support the efficient manufacture of fabric conveyor belts for Western Australian customers.

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