Attachments, Earthmoving Equipment

Forward planning is key for Norm Engineering

Precise organisation helped the team at Norm Engineering get equipment out to where it needed to be early after recent flooding

Norm Equipment’s rock grab

Proactive planning during the summer meant Norm Engineering could help out early with the cleanup from the ‘rain bomb’, which caused widescale flooding across much of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales in early March.

The flooding resulted in excessive amounts of debris, with both housing and business infrastructure affected.

With the summer months in Australia particularly prone to natural disasters, Norm Engineering and its dealer network made plans to distribute machinery ahead of time.

Machinery capable of cleaning up debris was sent around Australia and was readily available to contractors when the heavy rain hit, helping them to get on with recovery efforts quickly.

“Being based in Queensland, we know this time of year is common for a few natural disasters,” says Norm Engineering Australasian sales manager Scott Rixon.

“Our business model is to sell through a dealer network who distribute the machinery. In conjunction with those guys, we pre-empted this time of year as being fairly prominent for natural disasters

“They either stock up or put in forward orders thinking they would need extra stock throughout this time of year and are able to serve the market.”

Key to the flood recovery is Norm Engineering’s range of rock and log grabs, which can be fitted to excavators ranging from 1.5 to 25 tonnes.

Like much of Norm Engineering’s equipment, the rock and log grabs are Australian made and are designed to work in the toughest environments.

Available either fully hydraulic or statically mounted on a dipper arm, the grabs are suitable for general construction work, landscaping, forestry and general clean-up applications.

Rixon adds that these are among the widest opening grabs in the industry and also feature hydraulic cylinders encased in a protective housing to protect the cylinder and improve operation and maintenance.

“They are 100 per cent Australian made. That way we can control, and guarantee, build quality through the strength, the structural integrity and the quality of the materials used in the grabs,” Rixon says.

“It’s definitely a growing market. There’s always a need for that.”

Norm Engineering began manufacturing its own rock and log grabs a decade ago before ramping up production about six years ago.

The attachments form part of the business’s wider product range, around 90 per cent of which is produced on site by Norm Engineering, which has developed into a one-stop-shop for earthmoving equipment.

Traditionally, Norm Engineering produced four-in-one buckets for track loaders and skid steers, which, along with excavator buckets, forms the core range of the product line.

Other products include rear rippers, slashers, grabs, and hitches for excavators.

Founded in 1984 by Norm’s father-in-law, Wally Acimovic, while Norm was in the Royal Australian Air Force, the business has continued to be a family affair, with Norm and wife Sylvia, son John and his wife Jess all working with the company. Today, John and Jess’ sons are also involved.

“That’s basically the business mindset as well – we know we’re selling to family businesses,” Rixon says.

With the family tree so strong, Norm Engineering decided not to stray too far from its roots when expanding to a new facility.

In mid-2021 the company relocated from its original base in Sumner Park, in Brisbane’s southwest, to Darra – just one suburb over.

“To be able to keep the manufacturing and everything we do in Brisbane is a testament to how they do things and the team behind them,” Rixon says.

“Based on our growth over the last two or three years, we identified the need for a larger facility with a more streamlined production line.”

The new Darra facility features a larger production area as well as a new administration block and an improved dispatch and receiving area.

“The process is a lot more streamlined both in terms of administration and manufacturing. It gives us the capacity to grow our production line as well to increase our output,” Rixon says.

“I guess the thing is having the luxury of more space whether that is an outdoor demonstration area down to simple things like more onsite parking for staff and a larger dispatch area.

Since its formation, Norm Engineering has continued to adapt to what the market requires, developing new products to add to its range.

As for the year ahead, Norm Engineering and the staff at their Queensland and Victorian bases have big things in the pipeline, according to Rixon, however those plans remain under wraps for now.

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