Precision manufacturer Oilpath will build a new $7 million engineering and manufacturing facility at the Tonsley Innovation District as it gears up to capitalise on strong growth in key industry sectors.
The company designs and manufactures specialised componentry for hydraulic control systems – effectively, the brains that manage hydraulic functions in machinery – for the mining, defence, agriculture and logistic sectors.
Oilpath’s solutions are used across a wide range of functions, from large-scale agricultural equipment such as harvesters and sprayers, through to controlling the underwater fins on naval vessels and in the harsh environment of Australian mines. The company’s hydraulic technology is also installed on at least 70% of all tipper trucks operating in Australia.
Oilpath has been operating out of Edwardstown for almost 50 years and rapid recent growth has resulted in the company outgrowing its current premises, creating the need to build a bespoke facility at the intersection of Tonsley Boulevard and MAB Circuit.
At nearly 3000m2, the new factory will effectively double the company’s existing manufacturing floorspace and will incorporate a two-storey engineering hub to support its research and development, technical support and quality divisions.
The building has been designed to defence industry standards to enable Oilpath to take on more complex defence contracts. It will be a truly advanced digital factory aligning with the federal ambition to grow sovereign manufacturing capability, with Oilpath boasting more than 90% Australian content in its solutions.
“We are growing at around 20% year on year, and we are at absolute capacity at our current premises,” Oilpath CEO Stephen McKee said.
“Our ambition is to take the next bold step in Oilpath’s 50-year history, and establishing our new headquarters in a flagship innovation district surrounded by like-minded businesses is a sure way to set ourselves up for our future. Tonsley will allow us to attract and retain the best people to accelerate our growth and bring us into the ‘age of data’ as we evolve our technology roadmap. Our goal is to provide advanced hydraulic solutions which will give our customers access to predictive maintenance and multiple other forms of remote intelligence.”
The new facility will give Oilpath the scope to increase its workforce from 35 to up to 60 in coming years.
"Oilpath is a proud South Australian company and sees partnership and collaboration as the way forward"
Chief Financial Officer of Oilpath, and Director at Inventure Partners, Callan Rogers said.
“Being neighbours with prestigious centres of knowledge such as Flinders University and working next to leading edge companies including BAE Systems, SAGE Automation, REDARC and many more, will have a catalytic effect on our ability to grow from a technology perspective.”
Tonsley’s advanced manufacturing credentials are underpinned by Flinders University’s Factory of the Future – Australia’s first industrial-scale high-value manufacturing research and accelerator facility with partners such as BAE – which is located within the District’s Line Zero building.
“The Tonsley Innovation District is now home to a critical mass of advanced manufacturing expertise,” Renewal SA Executive Director, Major Projects and Property, Todd Perry said.
"Companies like Oilpath are recognising not just the huge collaborative opportunities at Tonsley but also the immeasurable benefits of an employment ecosystem that is attracting the workforce of the future."
Renewal SA Executive Director, Major Projects and Property, Todd Perry
An artist’s impression of the new Oilpath facility at the Tonsley Innovation District.
Construction on the new Oilpath facility is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2024 with the company moving in early 2025.
About Tonsley Innovation District
As Australia’s first innovation district, the 61-hectare Tonsley Innovation District has become an exemplar for innovation precincts globally. Over the past decade, it has matured into a thriving innovation ecosystem that is home to nearly 2,000 employees with more than 8,500 students passing through the site each year. Under the umbrella of high-value manufacturing, Tonsley Innovation District targets the focus sectors that reflect South Australia’s economic strengths and opportunities.
The Oilpath story began in the 1970s when it recognised there was a gap in the Australian market for quality directional control valves. Soon, the OP20 was born, instantly becoming the industry benchmark. In 2011 a management buyout arranged by Inventure Partners reinvented Oilpath’s business model and in 2013 Oilpath was awarded an AusIndustry (Australian Government) grant in recognition of its team’s success in taking complex hydraulic solutions from concept to commercialisation. In 2021, after successful global roles in Europe and Asia with Schneider Electric, Stephen McKee returned home to Adelaide to lead Oilpath through its next evolution as an integrated hydraulics solutions partner for OEMs around Australia.
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