Bull Motor Bodies Crafted

Bull Motor Bodies Crafted

Innovative aluminium service bodies for Australian trade vehicles

When Andy Park and John Porteus began a Perth fabrication business 20 years ago, they looked for a gap in the market where they could apply their creativity.

Then, badgered by an electrician friend, they built the first Bull canopies and were soon creating a small run of bespoke canopies. They had identified a need in the vehicle build-up market for a standardised, scalable and fit-for-purpose solution. They began perfecting Bull Motor Bodies’ manufacturing processes and automated production.

The Bull team designed a new way of fabricating vehicle canopies to streamline the process, shed excess weight and create a more stylish body. The resulting AeroBody range led to interstate contracts with large fleets.

But managing director Andy Park says they realised there was scope for their business to innovate further.

“In 2007, we decided to take all we’d learned so far and start again with design. We invested in 3D software and looked at the whole thing differently.

“How would a car manufacturer make this product? How would Ikea make it? How could we use new technologies?

“We wanted to be modular, flat-packable, shippable anywhere.”

They wanted to use their essential material, aluminium, more smartly, using engineering, adhesives and new processes.

Using a clever mix of technology, premium aluminium and automotive plastics, they created a range of strong yet lightweight, stylish chassis-mounted modules to suit all light utilities on the market.

Fast forward to 2013, and Bull Motor Bodies opened its first interstate operation in Queensland and then its national distribution centre in 2018.

Today, 20 years from its modest start, Bull Motor Bodies is the preferred provider for some of Australia’s largest fleets and has built up 15,000 vehicles.

Bull motor bodies withstand Australia’s harshest conditions, servicing mines and supporting emergency services and utilities. For instance, their bespoke northwest mining sector utilities can run 24 hours on off-road corrugated tracks.

Its largest single client sector is mining, with Bull building directly for all large mining companies and businesses servicing the mining sector.

“We work long and hard with our big clients to understand what their technicians do on-site, what tools and weights they carry, what terrain they travel over and how it’s going to be compliant,” Andy explains.

“We sit with them, visit their sites, talk to their people and try to understand what works, what doesn’t, what is essential and what is nice to have.”

Bull provides design concepts for review before creating prototypes to trial in the field for evaluation, with feedback informing final designs.

Its bespoke solutions draw on a wide range of standardised and proven parts, saving its clients time and money.

From their earliest days, Andy says the Bull team found aluminium the best medium to work with.

In 2007 Bull looked for a supply partner which ticked the right boxes in who they were and what they could do and offer.

“We knew we needed lots of extrusions; we needed an experienced Australian company with local die-making facilities able to turn things around quickly, with the capability to advise us on aluminium use. An Australian company that could service us as we grew.”

Capral matched their brief and has become the most important part of Bull’s supply chain, providing more than 30 unique and standard extrusions along with aluminium sheet in different thicknesses, grades and widths.

Andy comments that the ability to design custom extrusions with Capral is part of what differentiates Bull motor bodies in the market “it takes all the complexity out of the day–to–day build but adds all the smarts of the design into it” he adds

As a long-term Capral customer Andy reflects on their relationship as more of a partnership, commenting that transparency has become one of the great benefits to both parties. “We have cooperation as to future needs, warehousing, logistics we work really well as partners rather than a distant supplier. Capral are the most important part of our supply chain” he comments.

Andy stresses that a highly skilled, stable workforce capable of crafting high-quality vehicle bodies has been central to Bull’s success.

“Every time we touch any part of our work, we are thinking how it could be better and what we can improve. We have a culture of innovation; everyone feeds back, and in, we push forward.

“We live and breathe crafting our products; we are all dedicated to making sure our products go out the door perfect. The laser cutting, 3D designs and extrusions give us a head start.

“We don’t lose people. When they join us, we look after them, and they hang around. It’s a good place to be.”

Andy says his focus is on pushing the business forward by making things easier to do, making Bull a better place to work and producing designs other people wouldn’t dream of.

“We challenge ourselves daily to be more sophisticated as a supplier.”

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