Case study: Lubrication Engineering Australia: The Viper

5 September 2019

One Australian business that stands to benefit from the favourable arrangements the Australian government’s FTAs have created in overseas markets is Lubrication Engineering Australia, which provides innovative, tailor made engineering solutions for mining and heavy industry.

Photo of Viper equipment.
The Viper. Credit: Lubrication Engineering.

International trade is vital to Lubrication Engineering’s role in the global value chain as a highly specialised mining equipment, technology and services (METS) supplier. While Lubrication Engineering sources most of the components for its products from Australian suppliers, imported components otherwise unavailable in Australia are important to business success.

“If we couldn’t import products, we wouldn’t have such a vibrant export business.”
Rodney Fitzpatrick, Managing Director.

For a highly specialised niche business like Lubrication Engineering, the Australian consumer market is limited in size and exports have played a key role in supporting further company growth and expansion - with exports to over 75 countries representing 30 percent of company turnover.

“Obviously in Australia there is a huge market potential for what we do, but with specific products that we’ve developed - for example the Viper or our rope lubricator range - the real opportunities were overseas. So being able to take our product and the equipment that goes with it and take that overseas to a multitude of countries has allowed the business to grow dramatically over the last six to eight years.”
Geoff Manley, General Manager.

Access to overseas markets free of trade barriers and an ability to compete on a level playing field has arguably been a vital factor in enabling Australian companies like Lubrication Engineering to become global leaders. Lubrication Engineering’s number one export, the Viper, lubricates the wire ropes supporting the Eiffel Tower and has many other applications globally.

Success stories like this help to position Australia as a world leading METS supplier and generate jobs for Australians. Ongoing FTA advocacy is important in ensuring Australian innovations like the Viper are afforded the global market recognition they deserve.

“International trade employs people. At the end of the day, you know, we’re here, we all come to work, so that we can generate income, so that we can employ people, so that we can keep the wheels turning basically.” 
Rodney Fitzpatrick.
Last Updated: 2 September 2019