Motherwell Automation is proud to celebrate its 20th anniversary under its current ownership, marking two decades of growth and rising influence as a dynamic Perth-based industrial automation company. Over the last 20 years, Motherwell has been productive in introducing well-adopted technologies including leading edge industrial automation, control and information technology products and solutions to the Australian market.
With a company history extending back 36 years, I am often asked the origin of the Motherwell Automation name and how it was founded in Perth. I would like to take this opportunity to share that story with you.
The Company was founded in Perth Western Australia in 1984 with the delivery of a state-of-art control and management systems for the Albany Grain Export Terminal operated by Cooperative Bulk Handling; the grain handling authority in Western Australia. At the time, the Company was known as “Control Systems International” (CSI) and was a satellite office of its parent company of the same name based in the mid-west of the US in Kansas City.
Ultimately the Company provided upgrades for all Grain Export Terminals in Western Australia as well as the Grain Handling Authority of NSW and for Bulk Grains Queensland at the Gladstone Grain Terminal. The services also extended internationally providing control systems for four international grain handling facilities located on the Nile River in Egypt at Sohag, Qus, Al-balyana and Edfu.
In the mid 80’s, the Company became the exclusive distributor for GE Fanuc Process Control System Hardware and Software products in Australia and in addition to the Perth head office, established offices in Melbourne and Sydney. As a consequence, the Company expanded to include dedicated to Bulk Handling, Oil & Gas, Utilities and Water & Wastewater project departments; in addition to the products distribution business.
The Company further expanded by opening an office in Beijing in the Peoples Republic of China. Through this office, the Company secured numerous projects for the upgrade of Iron & Steel Raw Material Handling yards for steel making facilities in the provinces of Tangshan, Handan, Maanshan and Boashan. The Boashan facility is the largest and most modern Iron & Steel production facility in China and operated by the Boasteel Company; much of the Iron Ore exported from Australia is delivered to this facility.
In the mid 90’s, the Company (CSI as it was known then) was acquired by the Motherwell Bridge Company based in the city of Motherwell in Scotland. As a consequence of this acquisition, the company name was changed from CSI to Motherwell Systems and became part of the Motherwell Bridge controls group; this is the origin of the Motherwell name.
In the late 90’s during the dot-com bubble, the Motherwell Bridge controls group was acquired by a UK IT company called Mi Services Group located in Newcastle and Motherwell Systems was renamed accordingly (to Mi Services Group). Mi Services Group in the UK was at the time one of the largest Oracle integrators in Europe.
At this point, the Company had no links to the Motherwell Bridge company in Scotland. However, the products division continued to trade under the Motherwell trading name as it was “Motherwell” that had become recognized in the market and had established “brand awareness” for the products business.
In 2000, at the very height of the dot-com bubble, Mi Services Group in the UK made the decision to put the Australian products division on the market which was then acquired by Jon Swire-Thompson and continues to trade under the Motherwell Automation name to this day.
Today, 20 years later, Motherwell Automation remains a solely owned Australian automation engineering services and electrical automation equipment sales company head officed in Osborne Park, Western Australia.
While initially focused on the distribution and support of products, the Company branched out into providing services and built up an engineering team providing process control solutions; primarily associated with industrial applications.
In 2006, Motherwell Automation was appointed the Systems Integrator for Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) that was establishing a Greenfields Iron Ore enterprise in the North West of Western Australia at “Cloudbreak” (the mine-site and processing facility) and at “Anderson Point” (the export facility in Port Hedland).
Since 2006, Motherwell Automation has continued to provide control system design, implementation, integration, testing, commissioning, support services and hardware to all FMG sites in the Pilbara.
In 2011, Motherwell was appointed the Systems Integrator for Karara Mining that was establishing a Greenfields Iron Ore magnetite facility comprising a mine-site and processing plant in the mid-west of Western Australia and an export terminal at the port of Geraldton.
In recent years, in addition to mining, Motherwell Automation has developed significant expertise in renewable energy; providing solutions for solar farms at Greenough River (WA), Broken Hill (NSW), Nyngan (NSW) and wind for farms at Mumbida (WA) and Mt Mercer (VIC).
In 2019, Motherwell Automation established a Cyber Security division providing products and services to combat the ever-increasing and enduring threat posed by cyber criminals.
Today, Motherwell Automation has a strong engineering capability in a variety of industries and has continued to distribute and support quality products from reputable manufacturers including Honeywell, Moxa and GE.