Western Metalworx in the Australian Mining Review
Lockdowns, border closures and restrictions haven’t stopped Western Metalworx from growing.
Now firmly established in our larger Malaga premises, we’ve been refining our processes, developing our capabilities and implementing new technology, all while continuing to produce some of the finest custom-fabricated equipment solutions around.
We were excited to spread the word about our services through a recent feature in the Australian Mining Review. The article highlights our commitment to building lasting relationships through a joint case study with Webdrill, one of WA’s leading underground diamond drilling specialists, and shares some insight into the values and the processes that drive Western Metalworx.
You can read the piece below, or see it in the original format in the June 2021 issue of the Australian Mining Review.
Western Metalworx: Collaboration and Culture Drive Innovation
Western Metalworx is a Perth-based provider of custom fabrication and equipment repair services to the WA mining industry.
Known for a near-obsessive dedication to quality and a willingness to tackle custom projects of all shapes and sizes, the company has grown to become a trusted industry partner and go-to fabricator for innovative or exacting projects.
Western Metalworx is backed by years of proven experience and state-of-the-art equipment, but perhaps the team’s biggest asset is a culture of collaboration, exemplified in long-term relationships with organisations such as Webdrill.
One of Western Australia’s leading underground diamond drilling specialists, Webdrill has worked with Western Metalworx on a range of fabrication projects. The two companies first began collaborating in 2017, when an international manufacturer recommended Western Metalworx as the only local fabricator they trusted to deliver custom fit-outs for MCR rigs. Since then, the pair have continued to work closely, building upon a shared commitment to quality, safety and the development of local industry.
“It’s a dynamic relationship,” says Anthony Chiera, Managing Director of Western Metalworx. “There’s a great cultural and moral fit between our organisations, and it’s grown from there. Webdrill have very specific requirements, and we understand how to address them.”
“We share the same style of communication,” agrees Webdrill CEO Jared Webb. “It’s straight up – no nonsense. If you pick up the phone, you know that Ant will answer.”
What follows is a collaborative design process, with Anthony and Jared identifying requirements and sketching out ideas in tandem.
“I’ll just go in, sit with him in the office with a pen and paper and knock an idea out. He then drafts a 3D model on his software [Solidworks, a leading Computer Assisted Design software suite] and we take it from there, making adjustments and refining things as we go.”
Combining iteration and consultation, this process allows Western Metalworx to go beyond simply ticking boxes; the focus is on prototyping, trading feedback and solving problems to create novel solutions.
This outlook has proven successful, with the company having to relocate to larger premises last year in order to accommodate their growing workforce and keep up with demand. The new 3500sqm manufacturing facility in Malaga features CNC cutting and machining facilities, a 200-tonne press brake and a multiple overhead gantry cranes.
These fabrication facilities – suited to sheet metal, stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminium – are certainly a factor in the success of Western Metalworx, but the company’s position within the strengthening WA mining industry is also vital.
Partners like Webdrill choose to work with Western Metalworx because of their knowledge of the local industry landscape, their experience in the harsh conditions of the state’s remote areas and their dedication to maintaining the high standards of Australian industry.
“We’ll often have clients who’ve ordered in cheap products from overseas,” says Anthony Chiera. “When the products arrive and they can actually see the sub-standard workmanship, they call us in to fix it. We’ll have to do anything from addressing poor welding and replacing cheap components to undertaking a full redesign. I won’t let anything leave my warehouse until it meets exceptional quality and safety standards.”
In order to support this level of quality, Anthony invests heavily in the skills and development of the Western Metalworx team. Welders and fabricators are coded to relevant Australian standards and tested every six months by external assessors, while continuous training and improvement programs ensure that all team members operate at the top of their game.
The company’s commitment to integrity is further evidenced by an Indigenous Engagement initiative, which set outs goal s for conducting sustainable and mutually beneficial relations with Australia’s First Peoples, providing opportunities for collaboration and employment. This initiative has seen real engagement with traditional landowners on country and the creation of several steel fabrication apprenticeships for young Aboriginal people.
Having visible values and a strong culture is another shared element in the partnership between Western Metalworx and Webdrill, with both companies making no secret of their safety-first quality systems and environ mental sustainability commitments.
“In everything that we do, we’re committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that we conduct our operations with the highest standards of business and social ethics,” says Anthony Chiera. “We want to build relationships. It’s simple to target easy wins, but we want to undertake projects that drive real growth, demonstrate our capability for quality and innovation and improve the industry landscape as a whole.”
The work doesn’t stop upon delivery, either. Anthony and his team strive to provide consistent after-sales support, checking in to see how their products are performing, then fine-tuning the next iteration, building capabilities and cementing relationships within the industry. These relationships are obviously centred on the mine site, but can often be in evidence long after the tools are down. As the Webdrill team celebrated 12 months of hard-won success at their Christmas party last year, awards were given out for outstanding performance. Each smiling winner went home with an award: a custom tool mounted on a personalised plaque. The awards were handmade by Western Metalworx, testament to the lasting relationships being forged within WA’s mining services industry.
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