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Back to News 27 June 2023

Phoenix Contact – A century of innovation

As Tonsley Innovation District reflects on its first decade of innovation, transformation and achievement, one of the first companies to move into the Main Assembly Building (MAB) has reached a unique milestone of its own – a century of operations.

Established in Germany in 1923, Phoenix Contact is now a recognised global leader in electrical, engineering and automation products and solutions.  Through products and partnerships, it supports customers across a diverse range of sectors, including energy, mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, food and beverage, water/wastewater and renewables, including wind, solar and Hydrogen.

With more than 100,000 products on the market, chances are, that on any given day, one of its products, systems, or solutions, is making a difference to how we live, work, learn and play.

Aerial view of Essen in the 1920s, the company’s premises under the arcades of Essen’s main railway station. The photograph shows an illuminated sign.

Phoenix Contact State Sales Manager, Paul Harrison, said “The decision to locate the company’s showroom and training facility within the MAB, has continued to pay dividends as the District’s reputation grows in stature and the number of complementary tenancies increases.

Being part of this community of innovation and having the association with the Tonsley name, has definitely given us a competitive advantage – an extra street cred if you like,” Mr Harrison said.

The fact that Phoenix Contact shares a space with so many of its customers means the potential for partnerships, collaborations and brand-building are consistently high. It has collaborated on projects with fellow tenants including SAGE, AZZO, Accurate Dosing Systems and REDARC, to name just a few.

“Our customers are right here working alongside us. That gives us incredible access to them, and them to us – best of all they don’t need to get into a car to come and see our products,” Phoenix Contact National Sales Manager Terence Hall said.

As it happens, their showroom and offices are located near a professional-grade, glass squash court, providing Phoenix Contact with a memorable and distinctive geographical point of reference within the Main Assembly Building.

While ‘location, location, location’ remains a universal mantra for achieving commercial success, Phoenix Contract is also leveraging its proximity to TAFE and Flinders University to support the professional development of students and graduates.  Electrical apprentices and students from Tonsley’s TAFE campus, are honing their skill set working on specialised “training rigs’ developed by Phoenix Contact, and the company has also been working with start-up companies from Flinders University.

“If we hadn’t been here, literally around the corner from these campuses, they would probably never have connected with us,” Mr Harrison said.

“Phoenix Contact shared the Government’s vision for what the Tonsley Innovation District could be and that’s why we have been here since 2016.  Even before Tonsley Innovation District became what it is today, we knew that being here was the right decision for us.”

“If you want to associate your brand with quality and innovation, then this is the place to be,” added Mr Hall.

This year, Phoenix Contact celebrates 100 years of operation. To mark this important milestone, it treated many of its Tonsley partners to a special get together on 1 June, complete with a food truck serving German and Austrian food as a nod to its historical roots.  Check out the photos below.

Read more about the history of Phoenix Contact here

Together at Tonsley


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