Tuesday, March 28, 2023

AWMA opens its doors

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Kirstin Nicholson, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper

Cohuna business, AWMA, opened its doors to the public last month providing an insight into what the business does.

Open Day at AWMA
Members of the public attended the open day at AWMA and viewed various projects in manufacture, including this flood barrier. Photo: Kirstin Nicholson.

AWMA was started 21 years ago by business partners Brett Kelly and Rick Bilton, supplying irrigation products for the local area. Since then, the business has evolved, employing over 50 staff, and designing and manufacturing products that are a far cry from its early years.

Managing director, Brett Kelly, said that the company works with water control infrastructure and now designs and manufactures around 20 types of gates in sewerage treatment plants, mining, desalination and environmental work, which are different versions of those they used to use in irrigation channels. 

Flood mitigation is another area that AWMA has entered and comprises about 25% of the work at AWMA. “It is a whole new market that has allowed us to diversify,” said Brett.

Fish screen
Inside a fish screen in the manufacturing process. Photo: Kirstin Nicholson

Fish exclusion screens, penstocks, water control gates and trash screens are just some of AWMA’s products, each of which, is unique. Each is designed, engineered and manufactured specifically for the customer, the site, and for each application, in-house, in the industrial estate right here in Cohuna.  

AWMA’s reach is extensive. It has supplied products for projects here in Cohuna, across Australia and internationally, from New Zealand to Saigon.

Without knowing it, there is a high chance you have driven past, driven over, or walked over one. 

One of the flood barriers that AWMA manufactures is for the entrance to underground car parks. When a flood event occurs, the water triggers the barriers which raise up to protect the carpark. Visitors to the open day had the opportunity to see one on display.

On a local level, you might associate AWMA with manufacturing products for the weir and the fish screen project on the Gunbower Creek, and there are many others. Those fish screens are just one of many fish screen projects across the country and overseas that AWMA has been a part of. 

Its latest fish screen project is for New Zealand’s largest irrigation system on the South Island, which takes about 3,000 megalitres per day and services five irrigation districts and a hydro system at the bottom. Visitors at the open day viewed one of the seven impressive T-Screens which measure 2.1m in diameter, 8m in length and weighs six tonnes.

Fish screen
One piece of the fish screen project, destined for New Zealand. Photo: Kirstin Nicholson.

From small-scale irrigation products to now manufacturing large-scale projects found across Australia and internationally, AWMA is leading the way in water control solutions. For a business that had humble beginnings, Brett, Rick and the team at AWMA have proven that being based in a small rural community is no barrier to becoming a successful business.

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 6 May 2021

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 6 May 2021.


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