Leading Australian steel building products company, Lysaght, is this year celebrating 100 years of local manufacturing, an impressive achievement that goes against the trend of offshoring which has prevailed in Australia during recent decades.
While the current Lysaght range covers roof ing and walling, architectural cladding, guttering, fascia and rainwater goods, fencing and screening, steel sections, formwork and framing, patios, carports and structures, it’s undoubtedly galvanised corrugated iron that it’s best known for.
This steel building product has been used on everything from the roofs and bull-nose verandas of heritage homes, through to shearing sheds and outback dunnies, and more recently in en vogue architectural building projects.
The product’s journey to national icon status can be traced back to Britain, where entrepreneurial Irishman, John Lysaght, began galvanising corrugated steel sheeting in Bristol during 1857. He registered the product under the ‘Orb’ trademark and, although it’s a brand that’s no longer used, the Orb name lives on as the trademark under which Lysaght’s corrugated product is marketed today.
After satisfying demand in the United Kingdom which was being fuelled by the Industrial Revolution, Lysaght turned his attention to export markets, namely Australia, where he saw huge opportunities arising from the gold rush of the late 1800s. He began exporting to the colony soon afterwards.
Orb was first sold in Australia through independent merchants until Lysaght established his own distribution company, the ‘Victorian Galvanised Iron and Wire Company’, which acted as a central selling agency. The venture worked well and by 1913, some 80,000 tonnes of Orb had been shipped to Australia.
The next chal l enge the company encountered was World War I, which saw compulsory redirection of production capacity to assist the war effor t. This devastated local supply and highlighted the need for a local production presence in Australia.
Within three months of the war commencing, the company (now under the direction of John Lysaght’s nephew Herbert Royse Lysaght in Australia) was making arrangements to purchase 24 acres of land in Newcastle, NSW, adjacent to a site already owned by Broken Hill Pty. Co. (BHP).
By the following year, 1917, John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd was formed with the intent of establishing a manufacturing site in Australia, and approximately four years later in April 1921, the new Lysaght company commenced manufacturing at its purposebuilt site in Newcastle.
At this point, the popular Orb corrugated profile began its Australian-made journey, and, 100 years on, the company has never looked back.
Lysaght National Manager, Sales, Marketing & Innovation, Matt Lloyde, said the company was extremely proud of reaching the important milestone.
“For Lysaght to have reached 100 years of manufacturing in Australia is an extremely satisfying achievement for our company,” Mr Lloyde said.
“It’s proof that there’s viability in local production. Lysaght has worked hard to develop new product lines, to innovate, and to make manufacturing processes as efficient as possible while still providing premium-quality products and offering superior support.
“Of course, this achievement would not have been possible without the dedication of Lysaght employees and the ongoing support of our business partners and clients, so to all of you we say, ‘thank you’ and we look forward to the future.”
Today, Lysaght ’s parent company, BlueScope, supplies it with Australia-made steel, with manufacturing (customising, forming and profiling) of the Lysaght products overseen by skilled production technicians at over 40 Lysaght branches nation-wide.
Along with products like CUSTOM ORB® – whose heritage can be traced back to Orb – Lysaght has continued to innovate and lead the industry, introducing many gamechanging products to market including KLIPLOK ® and BONDEK®.
KLIP-LOK® was launched in the 1970s to allow commercial building designers to develop roof systems that offered larger water-carrying capacity and concealed fixing to help the weather resistance of these larger structures. It also allowed roof structures with gentler slopes, while providing excellent water-carrying capacity and fewer joins because of its longer length.
The evolution continued with KLIP-LOK 700® in the 1990s, with the introduction of a wider profile consistent with the higher volume profiles of CUSTOM ORB® which increased manufacturing efficiencies.
Then came the current profile, KLIP LOK 700 HI- STRENGTH®, which improved sheet strength and water capacity while providing longer sheet lengths. The introduction of a new clipping system, LOK-KLIP®, also solved problems caused by sheet lapping.
A major leap in roof design and integrity was then achieved by rolling the KLIP-LOK® profile on site and ‘straight-to-roof’, meaning roof sheet lengths of up to 100m became possible, thereby eliminating joins.
In the structural field, Lysaght is also enabling building efficiencies and cost savings with new formwork solutions.
BONDEK® was introduced in the 1960s as a permanent formwork system to replace timber. It provided savings in reinforcement requirements as the BONDEK® system forms part of the steel reinforcement. It also assisted fire ratings.
In the late 1980s a quantum leap was achieved with the introduction of BONDEK® II.
The new design dramatically improved the interact ion between steel and concrete, resulting in further reductions in steel reinforcing requirements and further improved fire ratings. The latest advancement to the range is BONDEK PLUS®, which provides greater spanning capabilities.
LYSAGHT PRODUCT INNOVATION GROUP
All Lysaght product breakthroughs and enhancements are made possible through the work of the Product Innovation Group.
This team of dedicated engineers is responsible for bringing ideas to life, and ensuring all products meet Australian standards and, equally importantly, the lofty standards of parent company BlueScope.
Using its NATA-accredited testing facility, the Product Innovation Group is able to undertake critical bespoke product development tasks, including prototyping, product development, building-system design, global and Australian standard compliance testing, cyclonic testing conditions, design software development and installation and usage guides.