A classic case of Australians supporting Australians

“We proudly promote the use of Australian steel and we’re pleased to contribute to the sustainability of our local mill.”

With the arrival of the COVID-19 global pandemic in Australia in 2020, businesses had to adapt quickly. They needed to work differently to keep their people safe. They also gained a heightened appreciation for trusted partnerships and dependable supply. Foreign supply chain disruptions early in the pandemic reminded us of our vulnerability as an island nation.

Thanks to the partnership and unfaltering reliability of three South Australian businesses, it was full steam ahead on the Regency Road to Pym Street Project (R2P Project) – albeit in a COVID-safe way.

Here we have a real-time Aussie success story. It involves family-established businesses working together in close collaboration – to deliver high quality infrastructure for the local community.

The R2P road project will result in a 1.8 kilometre six-lane north-south motorway near Adelaide, with a new vehicular bridge over Regency Road and pedestrian and cyclist overpass near Pym Street.

The project includes Australian steel produced by BlueScope, supplied by BlueScope Distribution, precision cut by Adelaide Profile Services, and 3D modelled, fabricated and delivered to site by specialist fabricators, Bowhill Engineering.

BlueScope building strong partnerships

BlueScope Distribution have worked in close supply partnership with Adelaide Profile Services (APS) since 2011, supplying BlueScope manufactured XLERPLATE® steel and TRU-SPEC®.

BlueScope Distribution SA State Manager Steven Dalidowicz says, “Adelaide Profile Services is a key customer of ours and our teams work closely together.

We have maximum flexibility to accommodate any changes in their scheduling and we ensure we’ve always got stock available for them.”

Adelaide Profile Services is South Australia’s largest family- owned steel plate processing business started by Alf Deroma. It has been around for 40 years, and Director, Peter Jensen, has been there for 33 of those years.

APS employees 54 people working across two shifts a day. They’re involved in civil works, windfarms and energy, mining and marine projects.

APS uses hi-definition plasma machines and large oxy plasma cutting machines. This year the hi-def plasma machines have been cutting steel plate up to 75mm thick to precision standards for the Bowhill Engineering R2P bridge building contract.

Peter says, “We look at our relationship with BlueScope Distribution as a partnership. It’s built on trust and the support they have for our key projects.

“BlueScope Distribution can stagger deliveries, which helps us manage our cash flow and our project deadlines. They also share their project management expertise and technical support if we need it.”

The Bowhill Engineering contract has been a big one. Bowhill has fabricated the girder segments for the Regency Road bridge as part of a first package of works. The second package includes the overpass near Pym Street for pedestrians and cyclists.

APS has supplied 1200 tonnes of precision-cut steel plate for the project so far.

Relationships that mean you win before you begin

This has been a very satisfying project for all three companies. “It’s great to support a local project with local material,” says Peter. “There is a real sense of pride: three Australian companies getting behind each other, working together from supply to fabrication and installation. It’s a good feeling.”

There are also the local jobs that result from the project; the efficiencies realised through timely local supply; and the peace of mind that comes from quality construction of large scale civil infrastructure.

Bowhill Engineering Managing Director, Jeremy Hawkes says, “The nature of these enduring works means we will not take risks with material quality. The impact of failure would be catastrophic. Plus the range and flexibility that a ‘local mill’ provides is, we believe, a sovereign and essential capacity for a country the size of Australia.”

When it comes to business partnerships, Jeremy says Bowhill Engineering wants all parties to have a rewarding experience. “We like to help people succeed, and at the same time succeed ourselves. We do this by building trust and respect, which unlocks innovative thinking. It’s only possible when a close and cooperative relationship is built with all stakeholders,” he says.

Bowhill Engineering has been using the precision profile cutting services of APS for more than 25 years. “We’re a multi- generational family business and we want to be around for the long term – so we have high expectations of our supplier network,” says Jeremy.

Local suppliers, local partnerships

“We rely on our local suppliers to be specialists in their discipline. And we expect them to challenge the status quo and find innovative solutions.

“This allows us to refine our processes as a united team. We can rely on BlueScope steel products to always meet our quality expectations. This gives us and our client peace of mind.

And through APS we get custom plate sizes to minimise wastage in part nesting; we can sequence plate sizes to suit the program requirements; and pre-test some material before it leaves the mill.”

This is further evidence of the benefits of cohesive local partnerships.

“We proudly promote the use of Australian steel and we’re pleased to contribute to the sustainability of our local mill,” says Jeremy.

The engineering in this project is breathtaking. All 12 girders in the Regency Road overpass are currently being safely assembled ‘off site’ at the nearby Polonia Reserve compound.

The last 8 girders are planned to be installed after the main Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT) move is completed.

Both pairs of the two 82 metre-long 1,300t, 15m wide spans of the hybrid bridge structure will then be transported to Regency Road by Self-Propelled Modular Transporters and then lowered into its permanent location. This installation method leaves only the bitumen wearing surface to complete once the structure is placed on the concrete piers.

To the lay person, bridge building is miraculous and the scale of a project such as R2P is difficult to comprehend. With high quality local steel, the precision profiling of APS and the masterful engineering of Bowhill, the resulting infrastructure will serve the community in this part of South Australia for hundreds of years to come.

That’s a winning Australian partnership that keeps on giving.

Download Case Study: Australian Steel Story – APS Bow Hill

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