side land on New Zealand’s
South Island, the history of
Bradken’s Dunedin Foundry dates
back to the late 1800s.
Wilkinson Callon Ltd was established
in 1896 as a family business run by a
group of brothers from the Wilkinson
and Callon families. The foundry made
its mark on the steel making industry
during the war years producing a wide
array of products from boot protectors to
mine sweeper components, large gears,
and agricultural products. In fact, their
reputation for providing quality castings
was such that by 1925 the foundry was
doing business with every industry in the
region requiring steel or alloy castings.
Through the 1920s and 1930s the
Business grew and evolved. Two
original Cupola furnaces were shut
down in favour of an electric furnace.
The foundry buildings were extended
with the addition of lean-to roofs and in
1939 a Patternshop was added.
In early 1964 a new 1.3 ton electric
arc furnace was purchased, installed
and commissioned. This addition drew
the attention of Bradford Kendall Ltd of
New South Wales, Australia and on 1
July that same year the acquisition of the
foundry was completed.
Although the foundry retained itsWilkinson
Callon name until the mid-1990s (when
Bradken was under the ownership of ANI),
Bradken swiftly set about modernising the
facility to take advantage of increasing
regional demand for small to mid-sized
castings. New equipment and technology
was installed including tea-pot spouts for
pouring, a controlled annealing oven, a
quench tank and a rotary shotblast facility.
Over the years the foundry has
demonstrated great flexibility in relation
to the type of work it has taken on.
In the 1990s the foundry supplied
various sectors of New Zealand’s strong
forestry industry with product ranging
from refiner plate offerings to pulp
wood to fibreboard to the manufacture
and supply of harvesting equipment for
delimbing, felling and sizing of trees.
The local Aluminium smelter in Invercargill
and a large steelworks plant in Auckland
have provided an opportunity for the
manufacture of various syphon pipes,
rabble arms and other consumable
products, and in the late 2000s the site
became the ‘pilot plant’ for the casting
development of Bradken’s Crawler
Systems Business’ load roller range.
Roger Denston, Program Manager for
Bradken’s Transport & Industrial Products
Division and former Manufacturing
Manager at the Dunedin facility, said “In
its 50 years under Bradken ownership
the Dunedin site has maintained a strong
focus on safety, with responsive teams
and a positive attitude towards working
out how to do things, and then getting
them done.”
“A high level of customer focus combined
with the ability to rapidly respond to
market needs has been and remains the
cornerstone of the facility’s success,”
Roger said.
The foundry has also been a breeding
ground for Bradken in terms of the
development of several employees
who, having benefited from the wide
ranging scope of duties at the site, have
gone on to key roles within the wider
organisation across varying disciplines
including manufacturing, sales and
technical positions.
Staff and employees recently gathered
to celebrate the site’s 50th anniversary
with a BBQ lunch and cake.
In December 2012 Bradken purchased
a second foundry in Dunedin (on Hillside
Road), located just three kilometres from
the existing foundry site (on Tewsley
Street), which offered a significant
increase in melting capacity to allow for
future expected growth.
By January 2015 the operations of
these two facilities will be integrated
into the larger capacity site, signalling
the end of an era for Bradken and for
the city of Dunedin on the historic
Tewsley Street site.
in July 1964,
Bradken acquired
the former Wilkinson
Callon foundry in
Dunedin, New Zealand.
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