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Vol 12 No 2


March 2012


INCREDIBLY SMART TEXTILES Amazing capabilities of fabrics



A preview of what’s on offer at this year’s association Expo Showcasing members’ Creative Talents at schools across Australia

The productivity of

Thorline Products

Pathfinder launching M-Series at ACASPA Expo 2012—see pages 9 & 30

ACASPA Member News • Training and Events • Member Spotlight • Developments









03 Reports from the President and Manager 04 Office report 33 Readership survey 36 State reports 40 Fabric Structures Committee report 40 New members 42 Membership Directory

06 Members’ news

38 Glorious gadgets

12 Bustling Brisbane business The productivity of Thorline Products 14 Expo confidential A preview of what’s on offer at this year’s association Expo

CONNECTIONS magazine is published on behalf of the Australian Canvas and Synthetic Products Association Inc. by CommStrat Limited. Publisher CommStrat Editor Nicola Card Creative Timothy Hartridge

10 The business landscape

CLASSY STRUCTURES 18 Showcasing members’ creative talents at schools across Australia

Simon Sharwood takes a look at the latest offerings

26 Incredibly Smart Textiles

IFAI examines the capabilities of textiles

TRAINING AND EVENTS 48 Industry events and a list of RTOs


Activities and achievements

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERS 30 Pathfinder, Ricky Richards and Hiraoka

subscriptions To subscribe to Connections for just $75.00 inc GST annually contact Ruth Spiegel

Who and what is new

Designer Odette Boulton Contributors Barb Ernster Simon Sharwood Sales Yuri Mamistvalov Contact Editorial

COMMSTRAT ABN 31 008 434 802 Level 8, 574 St Kilda Rd Melbourne Vic 3004

Disclaimer: Except where specifically stated, the opinions and material published in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or the ACASPA Council.

ACASPA Suite 201, 22 St Kilda Road, St Kilda 3182 VIC Phone: 03 9521 2114 Local call: 1300 555 787 Fax: 03 9521 2116

MARCH 2012 · 1

ACASPA MATTERS From the ACASPA office Status quo is not an option:

Office Manager Ana Drougas

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. (Louis Pasteur)


My desk calendar provides me with some wonderful thoughts-of-the-day and two that recently captured my attention were: “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal” (Henry Ford) and “What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?” (Logan Pearsall Smith). I cannot help but relate both to the evolution of our association and the wonderful spirit in which members have embraced our forward direction. Remaining in the here and now, the status quo, is not an option and the epitome of that on a much grander and sinister scale is the dire situation in Greece today. Given my heritage people often ask me how such a staggeringly high and depressing youth unemployment market and miserable poverty rates came to be. How did a once proud civilization crumble to this? Here in Australia there are ongoing reports of massive job losses across the banking, airline, metals, telecommunications and other sectors. Despite the alarm, the reality is this barely impacts to a decimal point on unemployment figures which rest at around 5.2%, with our healthy mining sector helping sustain that figure. Happily our niche market, our micro-manufacturing sector, continues to buzz and hum along. While we continue to create structures we maintain productivity and employment levels. If anything our more common collective complaint is our inability to source enough skilled workers. Which brings me to another saying I felt appropriate in today’s climate: “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” (Louis Pasteur) As a group we are indeed tenacious! We are resolute about moving forward and, as you will read on the pages of this magazine, equipping ourselves for the long haul. So, I encourage all of you to be proud and to play an active and visible role in the future of our industry.

Performance barometers

President Glenn Barlow As we all know, weather can often mean the difference between a great season and a not so great one. And summer provided a fascinating picture of the different impact extreme weather has had on our diverse membership base. Some—but fortunately not all—members have been cruelly impacted by Mother Nature’s wrath, and some have performed better than expected. Following are some examples: makers of blinds, awnings and window shade coverings in Victoria, SA and WA have reported healthy sales of automated systems and other products, due mainly to a reasonable and dry summer. However, with persistent rain and flooding in NSW and Queensland sales are way down, but the wet weather has proved a boon for manufacturers of tarpaulins, rollovers, truck curtains, covers and liners, with some members achieving higher total volume and sales than usual at this time of year. Members in the marine and motor trimming sectors have also benefited from a wetter season, with widespread reports of plenty of storm covers and the like being produced for boat owners across Australia. While the weather is just one factor to contend with, there is no doubt that business has been tougher for most members recently, due to the local and international business environments. Having been involved in this industry in some way, shape or form since the 1970s, my passion to this day is undiminished despite the uncertainties that surround us and the challenges ahead. And on my recent road-trip around Australia to talk to members about the association’s initiatives, it was a great pleasure to meet members in venue after venue who share a similar passion and strong commitment to seeing our industry continue to grow and prosper. Again the diversity in our industry—this time shining through by way of expertise, knowledge and experience— really stood out at these meetings. Having members involved in a wide variety of sectors— from shade and tension structures, tarpaulins, geo membrane liners, motor and marine trimming, caravan and camper covers to blinds and awnings, window coverings; and vocations from fabric, machinery and component manufacturers and suppliers to service providers, is strong evidence of a dynamic and vibrant industry. The vibrancy and dynamism at the heart of our diversity is one of our key strengths, and I believe if we continue to push the boundaries of our expertise, knowledge and experience—to become sought after specialists in what we do—our industry we will go a long way towards achieving sustainability as well as longevity and prosperity in the future.



Panel Blinds





Grain Covers Blinds PVC Tension Structures

Ground Covers

Tarpaulins Covers

Sports Equipment Cotton Modules

Awnings Marquees Signs



Banners Nylon Motor Awnings

Hay Stack Covers

Truck Side Curtains Interior and Exterior Jumping Castles

Window Furnishing Fencing Tents Structure and Membrane

Shade Sails Dam Liners Annexes

fabric solutions for australian applications

Roller Blinds

For 30 years Ricky Richards has assisted fabricators across Australia with solutions for a multitude of fabric applications. Our extensive product portfolio, technical expertise and friendly, efficient staff ensures that Ricky Richards offers the highest quality of service available to customers today.


Contact our team today to find your fabric solution! Ricky Richards (Sales) Pty Ltd 16 Park Road Homebush NSW 2140 Phone: 02 9735 3333 Fax: 02 9735 3311 MARCH 2012 路 3

ACASPA MATTERS The wheels are spinning …

ACASPA Council of Management

by Ana Drougas, Office Manager

Australian Canvas and Synthetic Products Association Inc.

The few paragraphs on this page can hardly do justice to the breadth and depth of the association’s current activities. At best I hope to present a sense of the dynamic times in which we find ourselves, as those of you who attended our February meetings well know.

Suite 201, 22 St Kilda Rd St Kilda, Vic 3182 Telephone: (03) 9521 2114 Local Call: 1300 555 787 Facsimile: (03) 9521 2116 Email: Web:


Blogs Our tireless President Glenn Barlow has launched himself into blogs like a duck to water—with ease and proficiency. And Glenn has been prolific in his recent broadcasts which has been very timely and helped us reach more members. Visit our website to read Glenn’s blog and participate in discussion.

Member engagement meetings Glenn likens our lightening tour of meetings around Australia—in which we visited five states in as many days—to that of a rock band! The reception by members in all states was very warm and welcoming and it was wonderful seeing half of our entire membership, whose interest and energy was also very heartening. In all my years as Office Manager I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement. We were delighted too to welcome many members who tuned into the ustream sessions and we will be using more ustream in future.

A surge of committees

Ana Drougas Email:

sneak-peEk For a sneak-peek of the variety and colour of our upcoming Expo and conference, see pages 14 and 16 of this issue of Connections.

Awards for Excellence Go online now and get those entries in! The Awards for Excellence highlight the diversity of our industry and enable members to showcase their innovative skills and design in fabrication. The Awards entry system has been revamped and we have developed an online entry system for faster lodgement: visit our website Please note: entry into the Awards is only open to members of ACASPA.

Industry accreditation

One of the strengths of our association is the diversity of our activities and we are now inviting members to participate in one or more of our newly formed committees: Marketing Committee, Connections Editorial Committee and industry specialist committees. The work of these committees will help propel the association into the limelight and ensure that our name is seen, recognised and respected. Meantime on page 37 read all about the progress of the Fabric Structures Committee.

Industry accreditation that lifts standards is long overdue but very much in line with our association rebranding program and marketing endeavours. We are committed to launching our accreditation program but realistically it will be a two to three year process. The first stage is about benchmarking our members, and we will be developing pathways for our members. Look out for more information being circulated with membership renewal notices.

Young Leaders Group

Reader survey

A positive development that bolsters our future is the very industrious Young Leaders Group; and the two teams are working hard to complete their projects in time for display at our May Expo. I urge you to think about who in your business is a young leader and who, with some nurturing, could also be the voice of our industry.

Early this year the Council of Management (COM) decided to conduct a survey of our 7000+ Connections readers and developed the survey seen in February and March Connections. The COM welcomes feedback and hopes to take action on suggestions in conjunction with a newly formed editorial committee.


President Glenn Barlow Nan’s Tarps 25 Vaughan Street Lidcombe NSW 2141 Mobile: 0409 273 284 Tel: (02) 9649 2334 Fax: (02) 9646 1361 Email:

Vice President Lance St Hill Fabric Solutions Australia Pty Ltd PO Box 6283 Yatala DC Qld 4207 Mobile: 0400 103 534 Tel: (07) 3807 0200 Fax: (07) 3807 8217 Email:

COUNCILLORS Brendan Hall Bradmill Outdoor Fabrics Unit 3, 100 Fulton Dve, Derrimut Vic 3030 Mobile: 0416 280 757 Tel: (03) 9368 2222 Fax: (03) 9368 2211 Email: Kent Williamson Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) 25 Dawson Street Brunswick, Vic 3056 Ph (03) 9925 9182 Fax: (03) 9925 9129 Email: Gary Smith Campbell & Heeps 5/125 Highbury Rd, Burwood, Vic 3125 Mobile: 0419 311 899 Telephone: (03) 98086911 Fax: (03) 9808 3148 Email: Tom Gastin Pattons—Textile Fabrication 80 McDougall St, Kirribilli, NSW, 2061 Mobile: 0414 952 007 Telephone: (02) 9955 2563 or 1300 799 980 Fax: (02) 9959 3158 Email:

Connections Magazine Advertising submissions: Editorial: Nicola Card

Looking for a supplier to solve your industrial fabrics requirements...

the answer is

• Blinds & Awnings • Covers & Tarpaulins • Marquee & Tenting • Banners & Billboards • Shade Sails & Structures

• Architectural Fabrics • Motor & Marine • Solar Protection • Sporting Equipment • Fasteners, Fittings & Accessories

We’ve always got you covered! Sydney – (02) 9669 3333 • newcaStle – (02) 4957 7766 • Melbourne – (03) 9545 5588 briSbane – (07) 3387 8500 • adelaide – (08) 8260 1055 • Perth – (08) 9376 2666 darwin – (08) 8981 1555 •


Movers and shakers 1 1 On the world stage At last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) members from 53 nations gathered at Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre. A ‘leader’s retreat’ was situated in the nearby scenic surrounds of Kings Park, which underwent a special makeover for the important event. Fabritecture was chosen for the work, and the team designed and supplied a 427m2 roofing custom barrel vault structure—frame structural steel with three-coat paint system—as a high-quality permanent roof for the newly opened state reception centre located above award-winning Fraser’s Restaurant. Specifications: Ferrari 1002T2 fabric was used for the structure which has the premium T2 fabric coating. Fabritecture says the pure PVDF coating has greater resistance to pollution and dirt and therefore requires less maintenance and cleaning, which makes it more cost efficient. Ferrari 1002T2 comes with a 15 year manufacturer’s warranty and the anticipated design life spans a quarter of a century. 6 · CONNECTIONS

1. The newly opened state reception centre located above award-winning Fraser’s Restaurant. 2 Conical structures for the ‘Sound Shell’ amphitheatre.


2 In the festival spirit Situated along the sparkling Sapphire Coast is the coastal town of Bermagui, a secluded area of surf beaches, estuaries, wetlands and coastal lagoons. Bermagui is also home to the biennial Four Winds Festival of classical, cultural and world music. The 2012 Four Winds Festival takes place on the Easter weekend of 6 –8 April. It is a relaxed, picnic-style event with attention to acoustics and participant comfort. In preparation for the event, a new ‘Sound Shell’ amphitheatre has been constructed with onsite installation commencing February 7. Working as a sub-contractor for Rankin Builders, Fabritecture was selected to design, supply and install four conical structures for the amphitheatre. The team at Fabritecture is proud to be involved in the venue for this world-class event which is described as “The jewel amongst Australian small festivals” by Jonathan Mills who is Director

of the Edinburgh Festival and former director of the Melbourne International Festival. Specifications: The selected membrane is Sheerfill II PTFE from Saint Gobain which has the ability to transmit light and to bring the open, airy feeling of lighting indoors. The fabric is also durable, stain resistant and comes with a 10-year warranty.

The team at Fabritecture is proud to be involved in the venue for this world-class event which is described as “The jewel amongst Australian small festivals”

at t e n t i o n

A new name for our association

Coming soon MAM8832

MARCH 2012 路 7


3 3 Career by design Early last year Chris Caterer landed back in Australia to further his impressive local and global career. Having notched up 35 years experience he’s worked for international clients as well as many well known companies, among them ABGAL Pool Liners, Curlex Industries, McKenzie Canvas and Caravan County. During his 13 years at Rocklea Canvas Chris was responsible for the design, fabrication and installation of all forms of canvas and vinyl goods associated with the transport industry and has been involved in motor trimming, boat trimming and upholstery. He’s left his mark on some of Australia’s more exotic regions: Hope Island, Sanctuary Cove, Sovereign Island, Stradbroke Island, Surfers Paradise, Marina Mirage Apartments and Palazzo Versace. The list also includes Hervey Bay, Bond University and Coolangatta Airport, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, and the Hunter Valley. His list of overseas project locations is more impressive again. Chris told Connections: “I started at Rocklea Canvas back in 1986 and worked my way up from the shop floor to assistant manager. From there I chased a career in architecture as I was always interested in drawing and did not want to spend the rest of my life on sewing machines.” To spur his career he spent eight years studying architecture 8 · CONNECTIONS

part-time at TAFE and gained the advanced Certificate Level IV in Civil Drafting and Architectural Design. Today he is proficient in CAD and 3D modelling as well as freehand concept drawing and watercolours (as illustrated in the pictures). Chris has also secured all the necessary certificates in access equipment—scissor lifts, knuckle booms, cherry pickers and boom lifts to 11m. “After gaining my design qualifications I decided to pool my industry and architectural knowledge to focus on shade sails and tension structures, and worked for ten years with Horizon Sail Structures on the Gold Coast,” he said. Chris then widened his horizons by setting sail for Orlando, Florida where in 2006 he established Dubl C Design and as a Design Consultant picked up series of interesting projects throughout Florida and the United States, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. “Moving back to Stanthorpe in Queensland’s New England tablelands in 2008, I continued doing design work for clients all over the world, consulting over projects that were being developed in Greece, France, England, UAE, China and Indonesia,” Chris said. In early 2011 he received a call from Wayne Kuliszer of Rocklea Canvas about his plans to retire from the business he had established back in the 1980s,

and suggesting that Chris would be ideal to run the company. And in a future issue of Connections we will relay more of Chris’s colourful adventures from the yacht clubs in Florida to very dry, very sandy deserts of the Middle East.

3 Shademesh and PTFE Canopies, Yas Island and 3D models— conceptual and shadow mapping. 4 Baby Emma Grace Haggerty

4 Big hello to a little bundle of joy  ick and Prue Haggerty from R Elizabeth Machines Co. proudly welcomed their first baby, Emma Grace, into the world on Friday January 20 at Frances Perry House Private Hospital in Melbourne. Rick told Connections “Weighing a healthy 7lb 8oz (3.4kg) Emma and Mum have recovered well and Emma has been growing well during her first five weeks. “We are all looking forward to beginning our new life as a family.” Rick kindly sent in some lovely photos of his beautiful daughter Emma. Congratulations to Rick and Prue from all at ACASPA.

4 Do YOU have any news about your business or personal developments? If so, please email

Expo preview

Get ready to Expo! Saturday May 26 to Monday May 28 2012 Report by Ana Drougas and Nicola Card

Expo venue perfect for us The people on the Expo Committee working hard for your enjoyment are: Ana Drougas, Brendan Hall and Ali Ozen of Bradmills, Gary Smith and Zoe Smith of Campbell and Heeps, Danny Ashby of Radins and RMIT’s Kent Williamson. The venue for this year’s Expo is the mighty Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). It’s the very first time we have been to MCEC and we are rather excited as its architectural design has picked up a string of awards and overall is touted one of the best convention centres. The MCEC proudly promotes itself as the world’s one and only six-star Green Star environmentally rated convention centres. Situated right on the banks of the Yarra River and within walking distance of train stations, trams and a string of cafes the venue could not be more central or more perfect for our upcoming event. The aim of the Expo Committee is to ensure that most events are within walking distance of MCEC and so far we have succeeded. Our last expo in Melbourne was held at the old Convention Centre which was very convenient for exhibitors, visitors and delegates. This year 14 · CONNECTIONS

we are just across the river, and even closer to all entertainment.

Accommodation The main hotels we have negotiated accommodation rates with are the Metropol and Promenade—both within a five-minute walk of the MCEC.

and there is plenty of room to move in and out with ease. A specialised management team operates the loading dock, which spans the entire length of the Exhibition Centre, with a one-way traffic flow to facilitate ease of transportation. There are no space restrictions (ceiling height, doorways etc).

Trade expo What makes our Expo unique (compared to other similar industry events in Australia) is that we incorporate two components—a conference and a trade exhibition. We are filling two bays at the Exhibition Centre, and anticipate the usual very high standard of displays and display material. The trade displays are widely regarded as a most important component of the Expo, the ideal vehicle for suppliers to reach the industry, potential buyers and colleagues. We plan to showcase some of the more eyecatching stands in July/August Connections At last year’s expo we were situated on the conference side of the SCEC exhibition venue and experienced some restrictions with onsite storage and power. This year there will be none of that. Ample storage space and power outlets are available on site at the MCEC

Above and below: The shimmering sophistication of Melbourne’s Convention Centre

MARCH 2012 路 15

Expo preview

Above right: Get ready to rock with Big City Beat!

laneways, grand and ornate arcades and iconic architecture. In recent years this “feet on the ground” activity has become a star attraction for visitors from across the globe and all walks of life.

The fruits of the Young Leaders Challenge

And some very entertaining evenings

In a conference highlight with a difference, the two Young Leader teams will be displaying their final project in the exhibition area. Not a model scale reproduction—a full size prototype shelter that is specially designed for speedy and effective protection for citizens caught out in an emergency. Visitors will be able to examine and inspect each project and then stand back and admire it. On show will be the top-notch craftsmanship that our talented younger members are capable of producing.

Saturday evening May 26 Our welcome reception on Saturday night will be staged at the MCEC. We are duplicating the format of last year’s very successful and by all accounts popular ‘cocktail and canapés’ gathering held on the first evening which enables delegates to catch up in an informal setting. This event will kick off at 6.30pm and conclude at 8.30pm, leaving delegates free to select from the rich smorgasbord that is Melbourne’s nightlife.

Guest speakers At present we have several guest speakers lined up and once they are confirmed we will promote their names and topics. This year on the business side of our Expo we are trying something new with our business sessions and are calling for ‘papers’ from industry.

Daytime entertainment Saturday May 26 To kick off … Being in Melbourne we will be taking full advantage of the football season by fronting up to the monumental MCG to take in the Richmond vs Hawthorn match. Die-hard AFL supporters will not want to miss that game. Also on the program is a walking tour exploring Melbourne’s heritage: its funky 16 · CONNECTIONS

Sunday evening May 27 Time for members to show their true part spirit! The traditional fancy dress themed event that takes place on Sunday May 26 will be in the elegant surrounds of Crown’s famous nightclub Studio 3. The Expo committee is currently finalising all details so stay tuned for more … and then start planning those head-turning outfits! Monday May 28: Awards for Excellence night at the Palladium MegaStars—party the night away to Australia’s most entertaining export! Our night of nights, our jewel in the crown is the Awards for Excellence dinner that this year takes place on Monday May 28 and will be hosted by the very amusing Marty Fields.

This Awards event will be appropriately staged at Crown’s sumptuous Palladium and in a special coup we have managed to secure the colorful, highly entertaining and all-round popular band Big City Beat which is taking its MEGASTAR performance around the globe. Described as Australia’s most versatile and entertaining band, BigCityBeat captures the top popular music—and costumes—of the 60s, 70s, 80s and today. Think Michael Jackson, Elvis, Kylie, Beyonce and more. With a pulsating party vibe, the Melbourne based band has wowed audiences the world over, from Beijing to Singapore, New Zealand, Oman, Adelaide and Darwin … to say nothing of sellout performances to appreciative audiences in and around Melbourne. Now it is our turn. What better way for members to kick up their heels and unwind! Heard on the street: “Brian Rault—one of the most outstanding live performers of today.” Connections managed to track down BigCityBeat band manager/lead vocalist Brian “Are you ready to Rock!” Rault—a man with a personality as big as his celebrity status—who said “Watch out, we have a special MEGASTAR performance lined up for you to help you celebrate your sparkling new name and your emerging industry leaders. Keep an ear on our lyrics! And be forewarned and prepared—we thrive on audience participation. If you are enjoying our gig, so are we! So put on your dancing shoes and be ready to rock! “And for all of you daggy dancers, I can teach you a thing or two … I am shameless and blameless in my dance moves.”

Connections March 2012  
Connections March 2012  

Connections Magazine - March 2012 issue