Jet Engineering

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Jet Engineering’s founders had worked together at several different places, before they joined forces and became known as industrial problem solvers.

“Tony Hutchinson and I started the business in 2006,” says co-founder Shayne Ritchings, “and we have spent the last 10 years or so growing the business and increasing our capabilities.”

Jet Engineering specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of custom-built machinery for the mining and construction industries.

“Our flagship product is our hydraulic tyre handler, which we developed for the Australian underground coal mining sector,” says Shayne.

“We really enjoy ‘end-to-end’ projects, where we work with our customers on the design, and then manufacture it using our own drawings. We’ll even install it for them, if need be.”

“It’s an approach that makes our customers feel like they’re buying an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, when in fact it’s been custom built to their specifications.”

A major export opportunity

“Mining is our bread and butter, especially underground mining,” says Shayne, “although we also work in the construction and ports industries, both of which are closely aligned to mining.”

Jet Engineering won a large export contract for a modified version of its hydraulic tyre handler, which was to be installed in an underground platinum mine in South Africa.

“We’d done a little bit of exporting, having previously sent a crane to a mine in Papua New Guinea a few years ago,” said Shayne, “however this was nowhere near the scale of this South African project.”

The new customer’s mine was in Rustenberg, which is in the North West province of South Africa, around two hours from Johannesburg.

“The mine operators actually approached us after they saw our tyre handler on our website,” said Shayne.

“This attachment normally goes on the front of underground machinery, like a front-end loader, which then takes it to the vehicle to change the tyre.”

“Our customer was looking for a permanent version, so we re-designed it so that their machinery could come to it when changing tyres.”

“The contract is for just the one attachment initially, and a critical spares kit for repairs,” said Shayne, “with possibly a second one down the track.”

“Off the back of that, we’re now talking to a mine in Mongolia about the same tyre handler product as well, and we’re currently looking at ways that we can customise it to suit their requirements too.”

A helping hand

Like many specialist manufacturers that export, there was going to be a long lead time – up to 60 days from the delivery date – before Jet Engineering would receive payment for its product.

“This was where Export Finance Australia’s Small Business Export Loan made a world of difference to our business,” said Shayne.

“What was great was that Export Finance Australia was willing to look at the transaction, rather than the equity in our homes, and fund the transaction on the basis of that – something that our bank wasn’t prepared to do.”

“And their responsiveness was a real lifesaver,” added Shayne, “as it was just a little over two weeks from when we applied, to when we had the funds in our account.”

“For an export transaction like this, that sort of speed from a traditional bank simply doesn’t happen.”

An exciting future

“By being willing to adapt and look outside our core market, we’ve found a number of new industries in Australia to target,” finishes Shayne,
“However, it’s exporting that’s opened up a whole range of exciting new opportunities for us to consider.”

Export Finance Australia’s support has been a game changer for our business, and has allowed us to see the difference that exporting can make to specialist manufacturers like us. Shayne Ritchings, Co-founder and Director, Jet Engineering

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