Rural manufacturing company Whitlands Engineering is celebrating its 26th year of business throughout 2019 – marking also a decade of continuous growth despite the challenges facing regional business.
Located in a rural farming area in North East Victoria, Whitlands Engineering designs and manufactures Australia’s leading brands of log splitters and firewood processors – Superaxe and Rex. Beginning with the famed Superaxe in 1993, David Burder (now head designer and CEO) had the design ready to go but no experience running a business, but persevered with remarkable success.
Through exposure at local field days, word of mouth and a truly innovative product, Whitlands Engineering expanded, even through the drought and the GFC. These days the business has two manufacturing sites, 25 staff and massive export to NZ and the USA in their sights.
David is wholly committed to employing local people and manufacturing in north east Victoria. Despite the temptation for cheaper production overseas, this decision has now become the cornerstone of the company philosophy and is fundamental to its success, longevity and reputation. David says ‘local manufacturing keeps money in the local economy, supports twenty five employees and their families and most importantly keeps integrity in the manufacturing process. The imported machines may be cheaper but they certainly don’t last very long. To say we are Australian Made means more than anything’.
The other ingredient in their success is though his innovative design and benchmark manufacturing standards. They’re truly made to last. Beyond that, ergonomic design is key, making the backbreaking task of splitting wood simple and comfortable – the operator always has a straight back and lifting is eliminated with hydraulic log lifters fitted as standard
The Superaxe range now includes four models, after some consolidation in January 2018. All models feature the patented sliding blade, ergonomic bench height, the highest quality power packs (Honda or Subaru, both with a three-year warranty), log lifter and heavy-duty construction – all covered by two year warranty.
The WS100 is the smallest model – ideal for domestic or small farm use. It features a 6hp engine, single hand control and a 14 second cycle time.
The WS150 is a step up, with options for a 6 or 9hp engine, a cable and pulley operated log lifter, double handed controls and a larger bench. This model is ideal for farms but is also the machine of choice for Australian and New Zealand hire companies.
The WS3150 is another step up – with a 9 or 13hp engine option (9 and 7 second cycle time respectively), larger bench and hydraulic log lifter. It can be fitted with a three meter fold out elevator for stockpiling. The WS4150 is the largest and fastest machine, fitted standard with an 18hp Vanguard.
The Rex range focuses on bulk and industrial splitting – including the revolutionary Rex 600 and 900 firewood processors, the 800 and 1050 model log saws and the newest addition to the range, the 650C circular saw. The Rex range is further expanding with a range of trommel wood cleaners, elevators and hoppers.
Significantly, the Superaxe design is compliant to Australian Work Cover safety regulations. The two handed control system is designed to make fast work of splitting timber while always keeping the operators hands away from the cycling blade. This innovation was introduced in 2009 when WorkCover updated their guidelines and is the first of its kind on the market. What this means in real terms is that when a hire company or arborist service uses Superaxe in their inventory, they are not liable for any potential injury caused by the machine to staff or customers. For machines which don’t meet regulatory guidelines, in the case of injury, the employer or hire company is liable – rather than the manufacturer. Superaxe is therefore the number one choice for any hire companies, firewood businesses, arborist services and any other type of business which uses a log splitter in their inventory.
The Superaxe has certainly proven itself over 25 years as Australia’s leading log splitter, setting new standards in performance, design and safety innovation.