Swanson Industries: Digging deep to expand its mining footprint

Swanson Industries: Digging deep to expand its mining footprint

Swanson Industries is a world-leading provider of hydraulic cylinder manufacturing, remanufacturing and repair services for mining and mobile industries.

With the global headquarters in the US in Morgantown, West Virginia, Swanson provides a vast array of products and services for several industries globally, including fluid power, mining – open cut and underground – coal mining, off-highway, and steel.

It also produces hydraulic drilling mining products and mechanical parts and offers machining and plating services from its various sites around the world.

Swanson Australia has been able to benefit from the depth of experience in Swanson WV, and the parent company – which is owned by AEA Investors LP – recognises the huge potential Down Under.

The coal mining industry is buoyant, being Australia's second largest export earner, contributing, on average, $40bn a year, and the mines that invested

in new capital equipment pre-2012 now require renewals, repairs or replacements by law.

The acquisition of Waratah Engineering, formerly trading as Kopex Waratah, based in Argenton in NSW when Swanson Industries bought it in 2016, has been an important one.  

With Waratah’s suite of capital equipment and its experience in remanufacturing longwall roof support systems and mobile equipment, the partnership fulfilled another step in a strategy to be a full-service supplier to the Australian mining markets.

To help the smooth transition, executives moved over to help the process carry out as smoothly as possible.

Waratah’s facility specialises in major, on-the-ground mining machinery like hydraulics cylinders, and other large and complex pieces of kit that can take anywhere from three to seven or eight months to build from start to finish.

Due to the acquisition, the workload capacity has increased by three or four times, and Beal expects to continue that trajectory for at least the next two years.

Swanson is looking to expand and diversify its four sites, three of which are in New South Wales – Lambton, Georgetown and Argenton ­– and one in Mackay, Queensland, even more to become a full-service supplier to the Australian mining markets and beyond.

The site in Lambton, Newcastle, is a mirror image of the one in West Virginia – diverse, and manufacturing multiple cylinders and shafts for various mines. While it doesn't do the full repair of that equipment, it removes all the parts that need machining, like shafts from molters to build up and laser clad. It also does a lot of open cut work and deals with the Tomago aluminium smelter.

Swanson Georgetown Chroming Facilities is an area that is expanding, and being constantly being upgraded. The business recently outgrew its facility in Glenella and has moved to new premises in Paget, the production hub for mining industry.

One of the new site’s major advantages is a gigantic 2,220 sqm workshop and a 6,700 sqm yard.

It should set a new benchmark with regards to hydraulic cylinder overhauls in Queensland, and there is more opportunity to expand in the territory over the next 18 months, with Swanson planning to diversify in Western Australia as well.

The company is looking to target gold and metalliferous mines, open cut and underground, with Western Australia offering an opportunity to execute this vision.