Location: New South Wales
Customer: D & T Balustrades
Industry: Metal fabrication
Illawarra-based custom balustrade company, D & T Balustrade Systems, is a family-owned enterprise founded in 2006. The company is led by husband and wife team Dawn and Til Szabo, with their son Luke and daughter in-law Amanda running the day-to-day operations of the workshop. The business employs several fabricators and prides itself on its stringent quality control.
D & T Balustrade Systems is the preferred fabrication supplier to many major construction companies in Illawarra and is regularly contracted for projects by the Kiama and Wollongong Councils. Specialising in strata management multi-story residential projects, D&T has the expertise to design and install balustrading to exact specifications for large and small jobs.
Business improvements were needed
When Dawn and Til Szabo started their business over a decade ago, they used a traditional steel workbench with a marine ply top to fabricate on. This set up worked well and enabled the business to grow steadily, to the point where D & T Balustrade Systems became large enough to begin servicing the then booming mining industry.
"We realised early on that whilst our methods for making balustrades and other products for the housing industry were fine with the processes we were using, the accuracy required for what we were fabricating for the mining industry was not quite good enough,” explained Luke Szabo.
Szabo had a few years earlier spoken to Leussink Engineering about the Demmeler 3D table system and it planted an idea in his mind. "In the early days of the business, we didn’t really know what we were missing until an opportune conversation with the people from Leussink got us thinking that we could improve our fabricating process."
Up to this point, D & T Balustrade Systems had gotten by using a sturdy but simple steel bench with traditional methods of squaring their jobs up. Fabricating with aluminium and not steel meant that they couldn’t tack the job to the bench to keep it in position.
"We had no real way of setting the job up once and moving forward,” explained Szabo. “During the fabricating process we had to constantly re-check that the job hadn’t moved out of square, which takes time. And while it sufficed, it wasn’t very accurate."
Demmeler accuracy fast tracks business growth
The investment in Demmeler tables from Leussink enabled D & T Balustrade Systems to produce extremely accurate work, which opened doors to bigger clients and larger orders. And there was no looking back. "Within six months of purchasing our first table we changed our workshop around to fit another Demmeler table in. The decision to bring this system into our factory impressed our clients with the level of accuracy we were able to achieve. And because of this improved accuracy, the work came flooding in from our mining client."
Demmeler tables enabled D & T Balustrade Systems to produce work precisely to the millimetre and exactly as per the stringent requirements of their mining client. "Building exactly to the sizes required is key," Szabo said. “And with what we were able to do with this bench, we were getting products sent to us (that other companies had fabricated) to square them up and fix issues that had occurred during the fabrication process."
Like a Meccano set
Since acquiring two Demmeler tables from Leussink Engineering, D & T Balustrade Systems fabricates all its products on its Demmeler tables to achieve engineered accuracy.
"We fabricate steel, aluminium and stainless steel and the Demmeler table system handles each of these effortlessly,” Szabo attested. “With the Demmeler system, we set up the stoppers and clamps at the start of the process, which holds the job in place for welding. Once the job is locked in, it just doesn’t move at all because it can’t, and this really speeds up fabrication time and improves our accuracy.
"Having a table full of holes and accessories that fit perfectly into those holes means we are able to set the job up and clamp the job pretty much in any location and into any position. If the frame size changes, we just pull the clamp or locating bolt out and move it. I think of it like a Meccano set.
Over time Leussink Engineering has worked with D & T Balustrade Systems to engineer and adapt the system to suit their workshop requirements.