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Making more with Mageba – Inside its latest prestigious transport venture

After beginning a major transport infrastructure project for WA operators, Mageba is looking to continue spreading its services in Australia.

After beginning a major transport infrastructure project for WA operators, Mageba is looking to continue spreading its services in Australia.

Family company Mageba has continued expanding in Australia since beginning in Switzerland in the 1960s. It is now pioneering a major Western Australian transport route for operators in the region. ATN sat down with Mageba CEO Virendra Ghodke to discuss the project and what it means for the WA transport industry.

Q: What’s Mageba’s history with transport infrastructure projects in Australia?

A: Mageba is a family company from Switzerland that originated in the 1960s, we engineer and manufacture niche engineering products such as structural bearings used in the Bunbury Outer ring road project, and expansion joints for bridges. Mageba was predominantly a small company based mainly in Switzerland, however now we have grown to a large global company with projects all over the world.

At Mageba, we take pride in calling ourselves an engineering company run by engineers for engineers. And what that means is we always like to serve our customers directly whenever we can. Mageba has been in the Australian market since about 1978 when the first bearings were supplied to the Maldon River bridge in NSW. 

Q: What other transport infrastructure projects similar to the Bunbury Ring Road has Mageba undertaken in Australia?

A: The West Gate Tunnel project in Melbourne is the closest project to Bunbury Ring Road that Mageba has undertaken. We supplied around 300 bearings for that project and for the current project we’re supplying about 240 bearings. The only difference between the two projects, really, is the size of bearings and the load they’re designed to take; the bearings in the Bunbury project are much smaller than the bearings in the Melbourne tunnel. Other similar projects around Australia include the Hunter Express Way and M4 Viaduct duplication in NSW, the Gateway bridge and Toowoomba second Range Crossing (QLD), Urban Superway and Darlington upgrade (SA), Waikato Expressway, Mackay to Peka Peka, Peka Peka to Otaki and Puhoi to Warkworth (NZ).

Q: What were some of the key factors that helped Mageba to win this contract from the WA government?

A: One of the keys factors is that Mageba is present locally in Australia, and not just to assist in designing the bearings for the bridges. We have design and after sales support teams that are easily accessible in Australia. We also have a purpose-built testing facility that is fully accredited by NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) to test the bearings to the Australian standard.

I’d say it’s the capacity to deliver the project locally and overseas in the agreed time. But, most importantly, all of our competitors in the Australian area are resellers of other company’s products, whereas Mageba is representing its own solutions that we have created ourselves. We only design, sell and make our own products. This means the benefit for the Western Australian government is we have full control over our supply chainQ: What does this project mean for Mageba?

A: For Mageba, we have invested a lot of time into this project. Assisting the design team since the concept stage, offering multiple solutions for a variety of different problems they were facing. This was a free service we offered happily, however it’s still great to have won the contract and seen those investments pay out for us in this way.

Q: How will this project benefit local truck and fleet owners?

A: The Bunbury Outer Ring Road, as the name suggests, is designed to take traffic away from suburban areas. This means if local trucks don’t have to deliver anything into that suburban area, they can take the ring road and save a lot of time on their travel. It’s about reduced time and it will also mean a much easier drive as well, with less traffic lights, roundabouts, congestion and general suburban streets to have to deal with, not to mention no variable speed limit.

In terms of driving comfort, Mageba’s expansion joints, which will be in the bridge that’s part of the ring road, are designed to be quiet and smooth when driven over in trucks and passenger cars. Normally other types of expansion joints create a gap as they expand, and the  loud noise the drivers hear as they go over them is their tyres hitting that gap. However, on the Bunbury Road project, Mageba has proposed to use a new type of joint called the Polyflex® joint. This Polyflex® joint does not create a gap when it expands and so will provide a much smoother ride as trucks and cars go over it. Other expansion joints that will be used on this project are mageba TENSA®GRIP RS-LS and mageba TENSA®FINGER RSFD-A type. All mageba joints utilised on this project are the only joint that are fully compliant to AS5100.4 in terms of unlimited fatigue resistance and hence longer maintenance free service life.

Q: What will this project mean to the WA transport network more broadly?

A: This project will save a lot of fuel and transit time for drivers on the network and generally provide increased efficiencies to trucking and transport operations in the central and southwest areas of Perth. On top of this less frequent maintenance means it will save the huge maintenance costs for Main Roads WA.

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