Third generation precision engineering and manufacturing company, Archer Enterprises, located on the Central Coast of New South Wales (NSW) Australia, is celebrating a major milestone with its 40th anniversary.
What began in a garage, when fitter and machinist Barry Byrne identified a niche requirement for locally produced bespoke precision engineering and manufacturing, is now a world-class 800 square metre Manufacturing Centre of Excellence.
Archer began by making marine equipment and sprinkler head units for automatic fire extinguisher systems. A decade later Barry was joined by his son, Stephen, who had skills in machining, fabrication and electrical, and a certificate in Fire Control.
The duo moved into a 60 square metre industrial unit and their reputation for producing high-quality precision engineering led to a wide variety of projects – from tooling and truck body fit outs to the first lightweight polystyrene bicycle helmets, to critical-performance parts and backup support for the Collins class Royal Australian Navy submarines. Their products remain in operation on the subs 20 years later.
Archer became known globally when they designed and built sophisticated scientific test equipment which enabled manufacturers of fire sprinkler systems to comply with strict international operating standards. Conventional equipment was very expensive and took up whole buildings. Archers’ radical idea was to replace the massive test chambers with a two-metre trolley mounted apparatus called the RTI Plunge Test Tunnel which revolutionised the industry. It is now being used in laboratories around the world.
This project highlighted Archers’ evolution into a full-service design-to-manufacture Product Realisation Centre involving design, manufacturing, electronics and controls, fabrication, assembly, bench testing and publishing of operation materials.
Other landmark precision engineering projects have included manufacturing complex titanium and stainless steel components with very fine tolerances for the world-first GRANEX renewable energy turbine generator. This included going beyond the brief and providing the client with fraction-of-a-millimetre variants demonstrating the changing behaviour of the materials under extreme operating conditions.
Archer designed and manufactured new-generation Pop-up Underground Pressurised Nozzles for the protection of the Royal Australian Navy’s latest MRH-90 helicopters at HMAS Albatross. This required recalculating spray patterns to accommodate new fuselage dimensions.
In 2003 the third generation of Byrnes joined the business. Russell, with his mechanical-technical background, operated the CNC equipment and Brad stepped in to look after the day to day operational and administrative responsibilities. Since then the company has grown dramatically with the construction of the state-of-the-art Manufacturing Centre of Excellence and investment into the latest engineering and manufacturing equipment from suppliers such as Okuma. Today, there are 11 people who make up the Archer team.
“This business has always been central to us”, said Brad Byrne, “I remember working part-time for Dad after school for pocket money. He had me putting slots in pistons, de-burring, and polishing engine nozzles.”
“The business we run today is a legacy of our grandfather’s courage and determination and our father’s philosophy”, said Russell, “They had an eye for detail. They were perfectionists. They looked at every job with a can-do attitude.”
“They were willing to take risks”, added Brad, “And they were long-term thinkers. In everything they did they planned for the future, and this is why we have been so focused over the past decade in making ourselves unique, being able to think outside the box, having a holistic approach to each project, and building up a complete end to end solution for world-class product realisation.”
Visit Archer Enterprises at www.archerenterprises.com.au
Image shows Russell and Brad Byrne of Archer Enterprises