BLUEScope Steel says opening a new customer service centre at its Western Port works, Hastings confirms its commitment to local employment and local manufacturing.
Managing director and CEO Mark Vassella said the $34 million centre – with capacity to process more than 100,000 tons a year – consolidated BlueScope’s Victorian steel processing capabilities on one site, “using the latest technology and with a clear focus on our customers, safety and the welfare of our people”.
The centre’s opening comes during the steelworks’ 50th year of operation at Western Port.
Invited by the company to the opening ceremony were Flinders MP and Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt and the state’s Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne.
“The customer service centre IT infrastructure includes an automated slitting head build robot which is the first of its kind in Australia,” Mr Vassella said.
“The robot automatically constructs a slitting cutting head to individual customer requirements without manual intervention from operators or other tradespeople, thus removing the risk of error, greatly speeding up the process of building a new head and enabling a more efficient operation to better serve customers. It also helps keep BlueScope people safe at work by eliminating manual handling and other safety risks.
“The opening of the customer service centre is another investment by BlueScope in enhancing Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability. Recent and current global events have amply demonstrated the importance of local manufacturing for essential products, such as the steel that supplies Australia’s building and construction, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.”
Mr Vassella said the centre had about 30 employees, most of them from the peninsula.
The centre is in an extended existing building and takes steel coils and processes them – for example by slitting and recoiling – to meet the demands of a range of domestic customers.
About 200,000 tons of steel products a year on average, or around 20 per cent of the Western Port works’ production, is exported, with more than 66 per cent going to North America.
In 2022, the Western Port Works is celebrating 50 years of operation.