Martin O’Brien Formes buys Triforme Australia

Martin O’Brien Formes buys Triforme Australia
Diversified business key, says director, as all nine staff kept on

The shakeup in the formes sector is continuing, with Martin O’Brien Formes acquiring Victorian outfit Triforme Australia, rebranding as Triforme.

Triforme will continue to operate out of its existing Croydon premises.

Former director Ian Mannix has come over as a director at the new Triforme, and all nine staff have joined the new company, working out of the same factory in Croydon. The other two Triforme Australia directors have left the business.

Martin O’Brien now has around 35 employees, a tad under its pre-GFC peak.

Triforme was founded in 1981, and specialises in the manufacture of flatbed steel rule cutting formes, flatbed label dies, and die cutting supplies for printing and scrapbook industries; Triforme says it also does design and sample making for cartons, folders and cardboard stencils.

Rick Tisdale, director, Martin O’Brien Formes says, “The addition of Triforme adds experience and expertise, in cutting formes and Gallus rules.

“The staff are all experienced, and the ones that came here have slotted in nicely. They were used to the bending equipment, and ours is a little newer.”

The company has also picked up three staff from Hygrade, which was recently liquidated.

Martin O’Brien Formes is achieving growth in the shrinking forme sector, attributing its success to branching out beyond traditional print applications.

Tisdale says, “The plan is to keep up the great growth in cutting formes. We do forme cutting, mounting, computer cutting, router cutting, and we have an engineer on-site who repairs our equipment, and equipment from other companies.

“It keeps us growing in a shrinking market. We deal with a whole range of industries, plastics, corrugated cardboard, signmakers and printers.

“We have just installed a new laser for cutting rubber. We are currently running two lasers, two routers, and five auto rule bending processing machines.

“We have been busy over the past few years heavily investing. Most is about five to seven years old. We like to buy new, so that we can get the mileage and keep up with the latest technology.”

As to why Hygrade closed, Tisdale says he can only speculate. “Hygrade has always been a company that we looked up to. When I was a six-year old boy my father would take me there for his cutting formes.

“It would be hard to say. They were dealing with a lot of high-end cutting formes. My personal opinion is that they were being undercut by businesses working out of China. Also, the shrinking and consolidation of printers in Australia means there is less work overall.

“Branching out helps protect us from that. We find when one side of our business is quiet, another will be busy. It is not a rule of thumb but it happens.

“Hygrade’s biggest problem was too many office staff, and not enough on the floor, the ratio was not good. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

“We took on the three Hygrade staff when they went into liquidation, as we had an excess of equipment here. It also forced us to lift our game on different areas, including steel plates and male and female stripping formes.

“We have seen some good growth within cutting formes, and it is amazing how many new leads have come through for those departments. Just now I am looking in and seeing three new customers.

Source: Australian Printer

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