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Comtruk© is a pioneer of the ute tray. Today, we’re blazing a trail for the future with our Sport Utility Bed (SUB©) , Comtruk side lifter, XT150 heavy-duty rack bars, and HD150 platform racks. Proudly Australian, we operate with a global perspective and strive to manufacture innovative, practical solutions for the way Australians live and work.
Launched in 1978, Comtruk was acquired by Aluminium Industries (Ai) in 2014, but the two companies share a much longer history. Before he started Ai, Jim Gallagher worked for Comalco, where he supplied Comtruk with aluminium extrusions. Later, Ai supplied extrusions to build the alloy trays. A complete redesign began as soon as Comtruk was folded into Ai. The Sport Utility Bed or SUB was the result.
Jim haboured a decades-long vision of turning Comtruk’s humble ute tray into something more. He believed alloy trays should offer greater functionality and look smarter. Why should people settle for a “fruit box” bolted on a chassis cab?
Make your Comtruk SUB a valuable member of your crew. This no-nonsense workhorse is the easiest commercial decision you will make, reduce operating costs, improve efficiency and productivity, improve safety, and improve your brand’s image.
Aluminium Industries of Australia began in late 1996, when Jim Gallagher launched is as a sole trader. Initially, Jim wore all the hats – sales, customer service, marketing, product design, procurement, installation, and delivery.
Ai’s first location was a serviced office in Moorabbin with shared receptionists directing calls for Ai. Jim made logos, designed brochures, and created the Ai flag. In 2000, Ai moved into a small warehouse in Braeside. Operations expanded and Ai started storing pre-cut metal extrusions.
Ai started to expand. Sally Cordell joined Ai on a casual basis, getting the accounts in order. She initially worked one day per month.
The Sydney Olympic Games brought an order about 200 new flagpoles. Jim and Greg filled the order with help machining from Vincent Caia.
Ai moved to Industrial Drive in Braeside in 2001. It was a larger premises with better facilities. However, Ai and team continued to grow and this site, too, was quickly full.
Mark Hill, known to Jim from his Comalco days, joined Ai in early 2002, Mark took on an all-purpose sales role and was Ai’s first full-time employee.
In March 2005, Ai moved to 10 Carson Avenue in Keysborough. A newer, larger facility, this marked a change in philosophy. More people joined the team and people were able to focus more on their area of expertise instead of everyone doing a little bit of everything.
Jim took the entire Ai team to China during the November Melbourne Cup weekend to celebrate the company’s first million dollar month in September 2005.
With Tim Wilks on the team, Ai builds Ai Architectural, an aluminium architectural range. When Ai launched, it offered sourcing services for small to medium end users of extruded products. Ai Architectural introduced supply to the architectural window and door systems market.
Next door to Ai at Keysborough was Pivotech, an Ai customer looked after by Mark Hill. In 2007, Ai acquired Pivotech, a shower door and wardrobe wholesale company with a national network of distributors.
In April 2008, Ai took over 2 Carson Avenue next door. To incorporate the 20 Carson Avenue with the 10 Carson Avenue location, a few brick walls had to be removed.
Jim bought a CNC machine in a Grey’s Online auction in 2009, launching the manufacturing and fabrication services offered by aiFAB. Vinnie remembers getting a call from Jim, and asking if he knew how to operate one. Vinnie answered, ‘not really’. Jim said, “Well you’d better learn fast. I just bought one.”
The Ai powder coat line started at 160 Ordish Road in Dandenond South as a resource for our architectural customers.
In 2010, EDGE Architectural Glazing Systems released a super suite of high performance architectural window and door systems. The EDGE DNA takes international best practices, like thermal break and advanced drainage, and makes them uniquely Australian.
To accommodate the growth and production needs of aiFAB, Pivotech, Intrack, and EDGE Architectural, Ai moved to a purpose-built 12,000sqm facility on Ordish Road, Dandenong South.
In 2012, Ai began our journey of in-house software development with the launch of PivotPoint, an online ordering platform for Pivotech customers, and EdgePoint, an order and specification platform for EDGE customers and stakeholders.
Thanks to our teamwork, innovative activities and industry growth, Ai earned finalist recognition in two categories in Melbourne’s South East 2013 Business Awards, Business of the Year Overall Business Excellence and Environmental and Sustainability.
Ai acquired Comtruk ute trays and Tasman bullbars in 2014. Both brands had been long-time customers of Ai. Comtruk had established itself as the market leader of quality, innovative aluminium truck tray bodies and serves as the industry benchmark.
Tasman produced a comprehensive range of aerodynamic highway bars suitable for combating the harsh and complex elements of the Australian landscape.
To house aiFAB’s growing stable of CNC machines and Comtruk’s emerging Sport Utility Bed product line, Ai added building 1/133 and 2/133 to its Ordish Road facilities.
In 2015, Pivotech launched the Pro, a configure, price, and quote program to accompany PivotPoint. With Pro, customers confidently calculate, draw, and order showers and wardrobes. Pro allows Pivotech customers to simplify complicated configurations, get instant glass sizes, digitise their job records, and reduces order times.
At the end of the 2014/15 financial year, Jim challenged the team on a new target for the 2015/2016 year, with the award of taking everyone to China if the goal was met. The team rose to the challenge and travelled together for the long Melbourne Cup Day holiday. With more than 50 going, this was a significantly larger group than the one that made the team trip to China in 2005.
Comtruk’s Sport Utility Bed set the new standard for commercial use pickup trays. It delivers easier and safer load management, plus increased fuel efficiency and system durability for utes and commercial light-duty pickups.
The team at Pivotech started building a relationship with Holmesglen TAFE, illustrating how helpful PivotPoint Pro can be for their students in the glass and glazing program.
Ai started GLYDE® in 2020 to deliver the highest-quality flexible space solutions for the education and commercial sectors. All of GLYDE’s Operable Walls, Sliders, and Decorative Screens are smooth and safe to operate, can be configured to meet DDA requirements, and offer industry-leading acoustic performance.
Comtruk released the XT150 heavy duty rack bars and HD150 heavy duty platform racks in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA.
Capral Aluminium acquired EDGE Architectural Glazing Systems from Ai.
In March, we won SYSPRO's Spark Award for how our software development integrated our proprietary software systems at Ai, Console, Atlas, Compass, Scout, PivotPoint, and PivotPoint Pro with their ERP system.
On 1 July, George Iliadis was appointed the CEO of Aluminium Industries Australia Pty Ltd.