Steel manufacturer sets sights on leading the way

A BENDIGO castings and engineering company is pushing innovation to the limit with the goal to become one of the leading manufacturers of steel in the world. 

Keech Castings works with Deakin University to research new materials to improve the quality and performance of the steel used in its products for the mineral mining industry. 

The company received $50,000 as part of the state government's Technology Voucher Program and will use the funds to continue its research. 

Chief executive Herbert Hermens said the company would not be able to continue to push its way to the forefront of steel manufacturing without support through funding. 

"The key to our business is understanding the properties and wear life to the application steel," he said. 

"We believe we can improve on the quality of steel we have got for our industry. 

"For that there is heavy reliance on research and very high (level) of academic research needed." 

Mr Hermens said the company employed about 200 staff in Bendigo, with 60 per cent of its manufacturing aimed at building ground-breaking tools for the mining industry. 

"Ultimately I believe we can stay in Australia as a manufacturer if we lead the world in technology," he said.

"Some people interpret that as we have to go to the high end of the market.

"I interpret it as being the best at what you can do.

"If you are the best at what you do no matter what market you're in you will be able to survive anywhere." 

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said the funding would help Keech Castings to work to increase the longevity and performance in mineral mining. 

The company was also announced as Australia's most innovative company this week. 

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