Albion Park, New South Wales, Australia
Adrian van de Ven, founder and managing director of Cammthane, is a veteran of the engineering plastics and polyurethane industry in Australia. Based in Albion Park, New South Wales, Adrian says that Cammthane is 25 years “young” but “always evolving”. After more than a quarter century in the plastics world, Adrian van der Ven knew very well what he wanted from ERP software. “I wanted to build on our positioning as offering the fastest turnaround in the industry.”
As business owner and manager Adrian needs a solution that will help him pull in the various components of producing a product from scratch, one that is customised to the needs and specifications of the customer. This involved bringing together the drawings, the photos, the materials specifications, and the prototyping and production schedules. “It can otherwise be time consuming to gather in the various elements of a product. After all, each product is unique.”
He said that he also needed a platform that would allow his facility to scale up in a modular fashion to cater for peak loads and not necessarily be exposed with excess capacity in leaner times. “We are building on the basis of being fastest in turnaround and we need to be able to reschedule production quickly and easily when the situation demands.”
Longevity does not mean legacy assets
As a company that has been in business for as long as Cammthane, and one that is linked to the fortunes of the minerals and resources sector in Australia, Adrian van de Ven wants to remain at the forefront of this burgeoning industry and not be a slave to legacy assets; especially as the pace of change in technology continues to accelerate. “This is true especially in materials technology.
“We’re across a range of industries—mining, steel, galls and automotive both in moulded and machine production. But it is materials technology that is advancing and that’s where we need to maintain a leading edge.”
Materials technology and resource markets are the drivers
With products such as the ‘Rock Crusher Belt Pulley Guard’ used in mining, Cammthane is well and truly a beneficiary of the great boom in resources and mining that has seen Australia’s mineral and resources sector grow to a US$150 billion a year industry. But the reality for down-stream suppliers such as Cammthane is that as the ‘low hanging fruit’ of open cut mines dwindle, mining companies are being forced to mine in ever more remote and obscure locations. These locations can encompass environments with extreme heat, high altitudes, freezing conditions and high winds and therefore require technology to drill beneath the ground, work that can often be extremely dangerous.
“All our parts go underground” says Adrian van de Ven. “You have extremely high demands being made on the materials; they need to do their job in an environment of depth; to be fire resistant, anti static and many other variables come into play. It’s an aggressive environment underground.
“In the old days a bit of plastic was a bit of plastic; nylon was great for wear and tear. Now you have much more demanding requirements. That’s the working environment of our products.”
Why M1? Customization.
Cammthane’s needs are, like many other ERP users, unique. For sure there is the need for systems to integrate internal and external management of information across an entire organization—embracing finance, accounting, design and manufacturing—and to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.
For Cammthane, with its hundreds of materials compounds and hundreds of products, each customised to a particular customer’s needs, together with the extreme demands placed on these materials in ultra-challenging underground mining applications, Adrian van de Ven and his team had quite a challenge. “Cammthane has a small, tight-knit workforce; each person needs to be across M1’s capabilities. That’s a competitive edge for us in a very competitive marketplace.
“The decision wasn’t all that difficult actually. We had a few options, looking across at our requirements—the production plan and the various packages available.
“To make decision-making (within this complex environment) easier, I designed a spreadsheet. I guess you could say I’m very hands-on in that regard.
“This became the decision-making tool for ERP requirements. We looked at four or five different vendor options.
“It was not price alone that was a factor. It was also about the vendor capabilities. What was the back up? What was the capacity to add modules?
“M1 was the clear choice for our particular needs. Its customization abilities were a stand-out.”
From rollers to technology
Now a technology-based company with M1 on board, Cammthane started off supplying rollers to the steelworks. “We then moved into engineering and now have 14 employees.
“We are suppliers and manufacturers of polyurethane and engineering plastic products. Our material range includes both TDI and MDI based polymers—engineering plastics covering the full range of materials, such as Nylon, Acetyl, Polyethylene, Teflon, Polycarbonate, Polypropylene, PVC and Acrylic.
“Some of the industries we supply into are the steel, automotive, steel coating, timber, and mining. We can supply products such as sheet, rod, tube, rollers, moulded parts or machined parts that can be produced in our fully equipped machine shop.”
Adrian describes himself as a ‘ do-er’ in the literal sense where he is manager and leader as well as being hands on “I do like to tinker.”
“We expanded our range of polyurethane products to include moulded parts for industries such as timber and automotive. We later included a large variety of parts to service the mining industry.
“Our range of engineering plastics is ever expanding and we ensure we keep up to date with the latest materials.
With more than 450 customers and more than 2,000 separate items produced, the company is not a stockist as its product range is completely built around each of their customers.
“Every item has a particular customer. We don’t sell widgets.
“In a manufacturing environment, we want our suppliers and our vendors to be around for a long time. We also need software that has regular upgrades. Regular upgrades assist us in modifying or customizing M1 as required.
Cammthane is no laggard in deploying new technology and recently acquired 3D printers. “We are well advanced in our rapid prototyping.
“This will ensure that we have a genuine competitive edge. The industry is very different from 25 years ago.
“Technology, including software such as M1, is now integral to our future.”