Lean manufacturing behind Eastgate Engineering’s success

Investment in advanced CNC machinery, strategic supplier partnerships and lean manufacturing processes are enabling Brisbane-based manufacturer Eastgate Engineering to evolve and prosper.

Repetition engineering company and component manufacturer Eastgate Engineering has a history of precision production machining going way back to the 1950s. In 2013 the business was purchased by Mick and Dianne Bonanno, who have since invested heavily in modern CNC machinery. In January 2019, Eastgate opened operations at its new custom-built, climate-controlled facility at Lytton in the Port of Brisbane area.

Raising the bar

Mick and Dianne’s vision of European-style lean manufacturing processes and quality control has put Eastgate at the forefront of modern machining in Australia. This commitment to excellence and continuous improvement leaves visitors impressed by the professionalism and quality of the staff, equipment and parts produced at their manufacturing facility.

Medium-to-high-volume production of small-to-medium-sized componentry has always been the mainstay of Eastgate’s business. The Bonannos have invested in twin-spindle multi-axis lathes, an option which offers true cost effectiveness and short lead-times for its many customers. These represent a broad spectrum of industries including architectural, building infrastructure, medical, aerospace and defence, food and motor sport.


Winning cost versus performance

The move to the new Lytton facility has seen Eastgate invest further in five-axis milling to specialise in all aspects of this advanced machining process – and this is where the long-established relationship between Eastgate and Sutton Tools has really come to the fore.

According to Operations Manager Peter Cleary, “Our complex milling is programmed using Solidcam when adaptive full-depth trochoidal toolpaths are used. This is where the 5 Flute Harmony Endmills excel. I’ve tried many other brands of solid carbide tools over the years, but the Harmony takes some beating on performance and cost. Not just in terms of speeds, feeds and material removal rate, but in tool life as well.”

“When you’re removing as much material as we do, you need to be able to trust a tool that will make it through the entire cycle, time after time,” he adds. “Whether it’s cutting mild, high-tensile, or stainless steels – and even exotics like titanium – the Sutton Tools Harmony endmills have been unbeatable in terms of cost versus performance.”

Peter says Eastgate also uses a wide range of through-coolant carbide drills and taps from Sutton Tools. “Again, their performance-to-cost ratio is very hard to beat.”

Long-term partners

The relationship with Sutton Tools goes back to long before the Bonannos acquired ownership of Eastgate Engineering. Mick’s other business, Callide Manufacturing Company located 100 kms south west of Gladstone in central Queensland, been a long-time supplier of Sutton Tools products. Along with being a key Sutton Tools distributor for the Biloela and Moura region, Callide also specialises in fabrication, machining and water cutting.

Eastgate Engineering prides itself on creating innovative engineering solutions for its customers – which often calls for raising the bar of manufacturing in Australia. This relies in turn on the innovation of its partners like Sutton Tools – making us integral to the success of this evolving long-established Australian manufacturing business.

For more on the services provided by Eastgate Engineering, visit its website. You can learn more about the Sutton Tools Harmony range of Australian-manufactured endmills here.

About the Author

Peter Sutherland
Peter Sutherland
Peter Sutherland is a 40-year veteran with experience in the automotive manufacturing industry in Australia and Southeast Asia. He also has extensive experience in cutting tool design and manufacture for the transport, mining strata control, Oil and Gas, and aerospace sectors. Principally responsible for Sutton Tools specialty ‘made to order’ tools, he collaborates with a close-knit team of Product Engineers.