DSI Underground typifies the passion and ambition of local manufacturers in the Hunter Valley.
With its manufacturing facilities at Bennetts Green, older residents of the Hunter might recognise DSI Underground formerly as ANI Arnall.
For the last 40 years it has been training and employing locals and supporting manufacturing in the local area.
In the wake of a recent acquisition, the company is moving boldly into the future with expanded capacity, providing new horizons for its skilled and expanding workforce.
"We have just completed a major acquisition of a company called Fero Group, which has plants in WA and QLD," regional chief executive officer Derek Hird said.
"It operates primarily in the 'hard rock' mining space, which is an area we work in too, but it has hot dip galvanising and meshing capabilities which will expand our capability moving forward.
"We have our headquarters here, and now have other operations in Perth, Brisbane, Kalgoorlie, Mackay and Burnie, employing over 500 people.
"The Newcastle facilities will remain a key component of our operation, but we are bringing in new things and working smarter to consolidate our growth and position us for the future.
"We've gone from a small business to a very sizeable operation turning over approximately half a billion dollars in the Asia Pacific area alone."
The business focus at DSI Underground is two-fold.
Firstly, as a product-based business working to provide infrastructure solutions for clients working in the underground space.
"Whether it be coal mining, hard rock mining, or tunnelling, we design and supply the largest range of strata support products in the Australian market to suite any ground conditions," Mr Hird said.
Secondly, DSI Underground operates in the Research and Development realm, developing solutions and designs for specific ground support applications.
For example, DSI Underground is a long-term supplier of Centennial Coal in the Hunter.
"They might develop a couple of kilometres of roadway underground, and they need a certain number of bolts per metre to reinforce the overhead ground and side walls as the coal is being extracted," Mr Hird explained.
"We design and supply those bolts, as well as plates, mesh and other products, facilitating production with our suppliers in the most cost-effective manner for our clients.
"We don't install, but we do auditing, checking, testing and validation to ensure those who are using our products are not only using them the right way, but also that the products are performing as they are designed to.
"If you amplify that type of scenario across a myriad of situations with other customers, then you start to understand the type and scope of work DSI Underground does."
DSI Underground's manufacturing facilities at Bennetts Green employ nearly 200 people
"You wouldn't know driving along Bennetts Green that we have a 250m-long factory on one side of the road and another on the other," Mr Hird said.
DSI Underground is proud of the role it plays in local manufacturing and supporting the community.
"We've worked hard on smart manufacturing so that we keep manufacturing in the Hunter," Mr Hird said.
"Traditionally the business has been steel bar product (solid bolts) and also wire rope products, hot roll coil.
"We also make the chemical resin anchors that are used as glue to anchor the product into the ground, plus, ancillary products like hangers and brackets. We do a lot of work with Hunter-based companies and have a big export business as well.
"We keep things lean as possible, embrace automation where appropriate, we're big on upskilling and striving to move into the digital space, all the time working with suppliers to make sure raw materials are cost effective.
"We're a proud part of the community and ultimately our focus is to supply the growth of the community going forward."
DSI Underground head office is located at 25 Pacific Highway, Bennetts Green. For more information visit www.dsiunderground.com.au or call (02) 4948 9099.