Local defence suppliers merge to boost manufacturing capability

In a major boost to the state’s defence manufacturing capability, two South Australian defence suppliers are joining forces to offer a comprehensive suite of integrated design and engineering services for a range of customers, including Defence.

South Australia’s Toolcraft Australia, which specialises in complex mechanical system integration, is merging with local company Mitchell & Cheesman to deliver significantly expanded advanced manufacturing and technology development capabilities.

Established in 1957, Mitchell & Cheesman brings an extensive range of design, engineering and manufacturing services for precision tooling, jigs and fixtures. Complimentary capabilities include metal component pressing, fabrication and surface finishing.

Toolcraft General Manager of Business, Greg Stevens, said the merger will bolster the company’s competitiveness and efficiency by reducing lead times and boosting production output, making the company more attractive to Defence customers.

“The merger significantly enhances our capability to deliver turnkey solutions in the mechanical defence systems space. Together, we will provide advanced design and engineering expertise to enhance our precision machining, welding and powder coating capabilities,” Mr Stevens said.

“With a workforce approaching triple figures, this partnership now gives us the scale to compete for bigger projects and improve the competitiveness of current bids, including those with global aerospace customers.”

Future Managing Director of the new group, Bill Sardelis, said the merger is designed to help the company secure and expand on current opportunities.

“We are excited to grow our group and increase sovereign capability,” Mr Sardelis said. “For us it’s always been about growing our local manufacturing base and providing sustainable employment by being a diverse business which focuses on customer service.”

Mr Sardelis estimates the business will grow its total revenue by 20 to 30 per cent annually throughout the next decade and create a proportionate number of new jobs for local mechanical tradespeople, engineers and quality officers.

“The merger also brings new customers from other sectors, providing a more secure manufacturing base and reliable supply chain within Australia,” he said.