Production ceases at Tasmanian Powder Metallurgy plant

September 10, 2014

September 10, 2014

ACL Bearings has finally closed its steel-back sintered bearings and PM part facility in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, after failing to find a purchaser for the business. The company had been in receivership since 2009 and received a multi-million dollar Federal Government bailout. However, as no offers were received for the business as a going concern the decision was taken in July 2013 to close the plant by the summer 2014 with the loss of 136 jobs.


This PM sinter-brazed spacer tube used in a

steering column tilt/reach assembly won a

MPIF Award in 2012

At its peak ACL Bearings had a workforce of 730 and was one of Australia’s major PM producers supplying steel-backed sintered engine bearings, PM valve seat inserts, timing pulleys and sprockets, and a range of PM parts for water and oil pumps and brake systems to companies such as Ford, GM Holden, Toyota and Mitsubishi. The company was spun out of the failed Repco group in 1986 when senior managers bought ACL from the new owners of Repco.

ACL relied heavily on the automotive sector and whilst a considerable portion of its production was exported, the decision by Ford to halt car production in Australia from 2016 combined with disadvantageous exchange rates for the Australian dollar in recent years dealt the final blow. In 2012 ACL received a prestigious design award from the MPIF for a PM part it supplied to Futuris Automotive for use on steering columns. The part involved a sinter-brazed spacer tube used on the Ford Falcon steering assembly since 2008 to provide positive steering adjustment and supporting the tilt adjustment components.

The company also manufactured its own copper-based powders using water atomization in a plant having 150 tonnes/month capacity. Copper-lead powders were produced for use in bearing strip from which steel-backed engine bearings are formed. The copper-lead powder is bonded to steel by sintering and rolling in a continuous atmosphere furnace. Production of the sintered copper-lead strip was said to be approximately 35,000 metres per month. 

Powder Metallurgy Review magazine:

Your email address:

Useful links: Download PM Review magazine | News headlines | Browse articles 

September 10, 2014

In the latest issue of PM Review…

Download PDF

Extensive Powder Metallurgy industry news coverage, and the following exclusive deep-dive articles and reports:

  • From powder modification to rejuvenation: Fluidised Bed Reactors in metal powder production and Additive Manufacturing
  • Retech: Enabling the atomisation of reactive and refractory alloys at substantially higher levels of productivity and lower cost
  • Sustainability in Powder Metallurgy: Highlights from the 41st Hagen Symposium
  • Innovations from Japan’s Powder Metallurgy industry: award winners highlight novel automotive and healthcare applications

The latest news from the world of metal powders, delivered to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of PM Review, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Join our community

Discover our magazine archive…

The free-to-access PM Review magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of Powder Metallurgy from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading PM part manufacturers, metal powder manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.


Browse the archive


Looking for PM production equipment, metal powders, R&D support and more?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our
advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of PM Review magazine.

  • Powders & materials
  • Powder process, classification & analysis
  • PM products
  • Atomisers & powder production technology
  • Compaction presses, tooling & ancillaries
  • Sintering equipment & ancillaries
  • Post-processing
  • Consulting & toll sintering
View online
Share via
Copy link