Proudly Australian made

Bridon-Bekaert The Ropes Group was formed on 29 June 2016, as a result of the merger of the Bridon Group with the ropes businesses of Bekaert. Together, an unrivalled partnership was created, capitalising on over 300 years of combined expertise and technology leadership. As Steve Hennessey (Australian Leader of Bridon-Bekaert) explained, the Australian manufacturing business has a long and distinguished pedigree that extends much further back than 2016. "Australian Wire Rope Works, was formed in 1923 at the steelworks in Newcastle. By 1933, the AU rope manufacturing facilities were a fully-owned subsidiary of BHP. In these early years, the company was involved in major nation-building projects, such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme."

In 1958, BHP consolidated its operations and Australian Wire Rope Works became a part of Australian Wire Industries. "The mining boom of the 1970s saw the company invest in advanced machinery and additional capability so that by the 1980s, it was able to produce rope up to 150mm in diameter in 60 tonne parcels," said Steve.

OneSteel Wire Ropes was formed in 2000, following divestment of OneSteel from BHP. The 2000s saw the company expand again, with one of the world’s largest rope closers—capable of producing 200mm diameter rope— commissioned, and a new polymer injection line installed. In 2015, Arrium sold the business to Bekaert before, finally in 2016, Bekaert merged their advanced cords and wire ropes businesses with Bridon to form Bridon-Bekaert The Ropes Group. 
An image of the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group Australia Team standing in front of one of our large wire rope reels destined for a cable run conveyor.

Australian Made High Performance Steel Wire Ropes

Today, Bridon-Bekaert provides steel wire ropes for every industry, including onshore and offshore oil and gas, underground and surface mining, cranes and industrial, structures, fishing and marine, cableways and forestry. Bridon- Bekaert’s business in Australia is a world leader in the manufacture, supply and technical support of wire ropes in surface and underground mining applications.

“As an Australian manufacturer, we are able to offer a broad range of high performance mining products on a short lead time. Not only do we offer rope manufacturing, we also custom design rope solutions, provide rope inspection services, and have a NATA accredited testing laboratory. Our customers include some of the world's largest mining companies, from Glencore and BHP to Anglo American and Yancoal," said Brad Reed (Sales and Marketing Manager, Bridon-Bekaert AU). 

"We have a range of specialised products and a loyal long-term customer base in areas like flexible highway barriers, crop netting and electrical cabling companies. A growth area for our business is distributing Bridon products lines that we currently do not have the capability to manufacture locally."

People and Product Innovation

When asked why Bridon-Bekaert is still in the business of steel product manufacturing in Australia, Brad is adamant, "It is our product innovation and focus on solving customer problems. We provide our customers with innovative solutions that reduce their cost of operations. We have close relationships with our customers, most customers like the technical credibility that comes with dealing direct with the manufacturer."

"It is consistent product quality and our people that keeps our customers returning. We strive to deliver value to our customers and to support their success. Our people are essential to our success, to our product innovation and our customer service," said Brad.

Bridon-Bekaert has an in-house team of technical experts and engineers that is on-hand to assist all their customers. As Brad explains, this delivers even greater value to their customers, "Our team of in-house engineers designs all of our ropes. This means that they have an in-depth understanding of the capabilities of our ropes. So, on the
rare occasion that something goes wrong, they are able to pinpoint the issues quickly and easily."

Balancing Cost and Quality

Like many Australian manufacturers, the biggest challenge currently faced by Bridon-Bekaert is balancing the cost and quality of Australian-made products against lower priced offshore options.

"Our team constantly questions how to support and balance the quality and high-performing nature of our product, and its associated cost, against that of cheaper imports. We encourage fair competition. Unfortunately, the competition isn't always as fair as it could, or should, be," said Brad.

While there is a push to increase local manufacturing in Australia, particularly post COVID-19, Bridon-Bekaert is able to show that the quality and total cost of ownership is improved.

State of The Art Facilities

Bridon-Bekaert boasts state-of-the-art facilities in Newcastle that employ over 100 people. "We have an 8-strand 150 tonne capacity rope making machine with capability that extends up to 200mm diameter ropes. We also have a polymer injection line capable of producing 130mm diameter ropes," said Steve.

As a proudly Australian manufacturer, Bridon-Bekaert relies on Australian suppliers throughout their supply chain. "We primarily use Australian made prime steel, smelted in Whyalla, and then processed here in Newcastle by InfraBuild. There is negligible imported or recycled steel in our ropes —it's Australian made."

Their facilities are set for a further upgrade over the coming months, with capability to be installed that will include increased ability to cut and terminate high performance Bridon ropes, typically for crane and winching applications. The company is also engaged in ongoing development of its polymer infused ropes.

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