- November 10, 2023
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Power Machinery Australia’s 50 Year Milestone
Presented by: Power Machinery Australia
In the dynamic world of sheet metal and fabrication machinery, Power Machinery Australia has stood the test of time celebrating its 50th year in business this year under the watchful eyes of the Christensen and Manning family’s.
In the early 70’s, Pat Manning crossed paths with Chris Christensen, a Danish Boiler Maker who was on the run from National Service and seeking a new life in Australia. Little did they know that this chance encounter would mark the beginning of a partnership that would endure for over 30 years, shaping the landscape of machinery sales in Australia.
In 1972, Pat, already established in a small factory in Brookvale, recognised the potential in Chris and welcomed him aboard as a salesman. The partnership between Pat and Chris proved to be complimentary; Pat excelled in sales, while Chris took charge of the operational concerns, earning him the title of the ‘eternal worrier’. The decision to have one less competitor and one more salesman quickly turned to them becoming partners and Power Machinery Australia was officially incorporated in 1973.
Initially focusing on power tools and small machinery, Power Machinery Australia quickly pivoted to the more profitable market of used machinery. The factory became a hub of activity, with semi-trailers unloading a mix of precision machines and, sometimes, absolute junk, creating a spectacle that literally stopped traffic.
The late ’70s and ’80s marked a period of transition in Australia’s manufacturing landscape. The country faced global competition, and traditional workshops were giving way to modernisation, with CNC machines replacing old setups. Power Machinery Australia thrived in this environment, capitalising on their horse-trading talents and navigating the wild west days of machinery sales.
In 1985, with business flourishing, Chris brought his son, Ken, into the fold. Ken, as a qualified Toolmaker, joined the team during a time when the industry was undergoing significant changes. The late ’80s saw the business gradually shift toward new machines, including exclusive agencies for Omes Cold saws from Italy, Hydrabend Press Brakes from Perth, and Forte Bandsaws from Germany.
By 1990, Power Machinery Australia had secured agreements with European Machine Tool manufacturers, representing brands like Cidan from Denmark, Mep from Italy, and Adira from Portugal. These agreements posed a dual challenge—introducing unknown brands in Australia and incorporating cutting-edge technology into their offerings. The philosophy behind these brand choices continues to this day. Power Machinery Australia continues to focus on machines that provide innovative solutions for sheet metal and steel fabricators. “The early 90’s saw a shift towards CNC machines and as you can imagine this was baffling for Pat and Chris! Being in my early 30s and across new technology, I was able to ensure we stayed up-to-date with the changes in the industry.”
In 1995, Power Machinery Australia evolved, with Ken Christensen purchasing the business and taking over as the sole Director. The company’s commitment to innovation persisted, focusing on machines that provided innovative solutions for sheet metal and steel fabricators.
Tragedy struck in 2005 when Pat Manning passed away, leaving a void in the vibrant business. However, the legacy continued, and Power Machinery Australia remained true to its philosophy, consistently focusing on innovative solutions. By 2010, the company had installed numerous Adira Press Brakes and Shears, some of the largest ever sold in Australia.
The next decade witnessed a shift from used machinery to a focus on new European brands. A dedicated service department emerged in the early 2000s, ensuring continued support for machines dating back to the late ’90s. This institutional wisdom became crucial as machines outlasted their manufacturers. Ken states, “With a service department and technicians that have decades of experience, we have the capacity to keep machines that have been operational for 20 years plus going. Not many other companies have the ability to do that.”
As Power Machinery celebrates its fifty-year milestone this year, the passing of Chris Christensen in May marked the end of an era. Yet, his legacy lives on in the heart of Power Machinery Australia. Moving forward, with over 1000 MEP Saws installed Australia wide and 100’s of CNC Press Brakes, Shears and full range of quality European equipment for the steel fabricator they continue to build knowledge and expertise and support their customers.
The company’s success, rooted in core principles of honesty, integrity, and service, stands as a testament to the resilience and adaptability that has defined this powerhouse business in the Australian machinery industry.