El-Gra's product evolution aimed at safety

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El-Gra Engineering has made safety top priority in changing its product range, with new technologies helping keep the business ahead of the curve

For family-owned business El-Gra Engineering, an unwavering commitment to safety and duty of care underpins everything it produces.

El-Gra’s core business is in post drivers, slashers and mixers, and with everything being designed, manufactured and sold from their New South Wales base – the emphasis on customer service and product quality is paramount.

Owned by father and son Elton and Graeme Robinson, plenty has changed since the business started in South Nowra in 1990, but these core principles have not.


El-Gra manufactures a range of post drivers that come in different cell sizes and be fit to a range of machinery

Elton, a farmer who moved into engineering after his return from the Vietnam War, knows that accountability both before and after selling a product is crucial.

"We test everything here and I make sure it’s all correct," he says.

"All our products that leave the yard are all tested on a tractor, so we know the safety is correct on it. Duty of care is a big thing.

"We back the product here and I answer the phone 24 hours a day if I need to.

"We have dealerships throughout Australia but, if there is no dealership nearby, I will give the customer my number and they can call me direct.

"I will give them my mobile number for after hours and say, ‘give me a call and, if I can help you out with any questions, I’ll do so’."

El-Gra’s emphasis on safety has seen its product range change throughout the business’ lifetime, with items such as drop hammers being phased out and replaced with alternatives that eliminate risk of injury.

"We ditched the drop hammer and went into the hydraulic hammer about 15 years ago," Elton says.

"It’s a safer machine than any drop hammer will ever be because you don’t need any screens around the hammer and the hammer can’t accidentally fall at all.

"It’s all hydraulic and it won’t fire unless all the weight of the driver is actually on the post, so the injury factor on a percussion driver is nil.

"The cement mixers are all paddle mixers, which are also user-friendly because they’re hydraulic and they empty out to one end with a chute. You can’t get in to the top because it’s got a grate across it, so you can’t accidentally fall into it.

"We think about safety all the way and we don’t leave any little holes for people to be injured."

Another area which has changed over time is the role of technology in El-Gra’s design and engineering work.

Having completed a "top to bottom revision and upgrading of the engineering shop" in the past decade, the business has added numerical machine control, sophisticated computer-aided design (CAD) software plus plasma and laser cutting of machine parts to ensure they are at the forefront of design trends.

El-Gra’s local design and manufacturing means they can build and customise according to any customer requirements to ensure they are catering to the widest possible audience.

"We cover all bases of people," Elton says.

"If someone says they want a post driver on one side of the tractor and one on the other side, I can manufacture that.

"The other thing we do on a post driver is we have four different cell sizes – there’s a 50, 75, 100 and 200 as far as the post drivers go.

"There’s a high lift version as well as a 2.5m under the hammer.

"There’s one for a bobcat, one for an excavator, one for a front-end loader and one for a telehandler."

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