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MBE: Paving in partnership

Matthews Brothers Engineering and Metro Asphalt have solidified a strong professional relationship.

Matthews Brothers Engineering has become the trusted equipment supplier and partner of Metro Asphalt, thanks to a collective passion for quality, growth and local business. Roads & Infrastructure is taken behind the scenes.

With services including but not limited to asphalt spraying, civil construction, bulk earthworks, road reconstruction, concrete and asphalt paving and more, Metro Asphalt could be described as a Swiss army knife of Victoria’s asphalt industry.

Operating throughout Melbourne, a big part of Metro Asphalt’s adaptability is the versatility of its crews, and importantly, its machinery. Quality and achieving the best possible outcome for its clients rank high in the company’s list of objectives.

Identifying the opportunity for the company to increase its capacity and reach within the sector, Elvis Centofanti, Contracts Manager – Metro Asphalt & Cole Civil, set out to acquire an additional spraying unit at the turn of the decade.

This marked the beginning of the professional relationship between Metro Asphalt and specialised road making equipment manufacturer Matthews Brothers Engineering.

“We were looking at expanding our business and capabilities within the industry. We were aware of the Matthews Brothers Engineering product, which had a very good reputation in the marketplace,” he says.

“A big thing for us was being able to deal with a local supplier, whether it be for spare parts or repairs and maintenance, having a local service was – and still is – important to us. On a couple of bases, they ticked all of the boxes.”

Support and servicing

Matthews Brothers Engineering have been manufacturing specialised bitumen handling equipment since the 1970s, designing and producing such machines in-house, built for Australian conditions and applications.

Since the delivery of the first machine in 2020, Matthews Brothers Engineering has been a key supporter of Metro Asphalt, with the first new unit being delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

MatthewsBrothers Engineering provides extensive customisation, as well as maintenance and technical support for each of its patented units.
Matthews Brothers Engineering provides extensive customisation, as well as maintenance and technical support for each of its patented units.

Despite challenges such as the pandemic itself, financial pressures from the market, as well as a transition within the Matthews Brothers Engineering business, the relationship has flourished. Centofanti believes this is due to an un-dying commitment from the company catering to its customers’ needs.

“When I initially met with Paul Matthews (Managing Director), he immediately understood who we were, what we did and what our vision was for the future. He was very accommodating with his time and knowledge,” he says.

“He was instrumental in advising us in the early days and what options Matthews Brothers Engineering had. He was very pivotal in terms of getting us off the ground, in a fashion that we could build upon going forward.” 

This also marked the first official handover between Matthews Brothers Engineering and Metro Asphalt, which came with a complementary training session.

“I asked him if he could help out with some training and he obliged, spending about half a day with us, getting myself and the team up to speed. That experience was invaluable,” he says.

Richard Bailey, General Manager and Design Manager – Matthews Brothers Engineering, has been a leading force in placing a greater emphasis on the company’s servicing and support. Matthews Brothers Engineering approaches its support and servicing department as it would with any machine, looking at what works well, as well as what could be upgraded.

“The on site handover in 2022 would’ve been a completely different beast to what we’re doing now. Originally it was about getting them in the cab, showing them the sprayer, some of the buttons and then sending them on their way,” he says.

“Now we’ve tried to make that handover training a lot more inclusive. We fill up the spray tank with water and actually take the customer out on spray runs. We let their operators jump into the driving seat and have a go rather than simply pointing out the controls and explaining what they do. It’s a great opportunity to give them hands on experience within a controlled environment, where they can experiment and really get to know the machine.”

Centofanti says that from a customer’s perspective, this culture and support can be felt across the entire business. 

“That knowledge and IP has been transferred more than adequately across their team. They’re exceptional across the board. Their turnaround for repairs and maintenance in particular has been great,” he says.   

“The transition has been seamless from my end. The service hasn’t changed; what we got from Paul, we’re still getting now. It was great working with Paul and great working with their team because I feel as though we speak the same language.”

One figure that has been instrumental in this ethos across the company is Service and Maintenance Coordinator – Jake Hally, who works directly with clients on areas concerning support and repairs.

Centofanti says his dealings with Hally and the rest of the support team has been an easy and streamlined process.

“Jake’s very good to deal with, not only on a technical level, but also in the way that he communicates. He’s very clear and keeps us abreast of what’s going on. He’s a pleasure to deal with,” he says.

“It’s one thing to have the knowledge, it’s another to be able to communicate that effectively. In those areas he’s exceptional.”


 

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Hally is relatively new in the role, but not new to the Matthews Brothers Engineering business. He’s worked on just about everything that comes out of the company’s workshop for six years, primarily as a fitter.

(From L-R) Jake Hally, Service and Maintenance Coordinator – Matthews Brothers Engineering; Elvis Centofanti, Contracts Manager – Metro Asphalt & Cole Civil; and Richard Bailey, General Manager and Design Manager – Matthews Brothers Engineering.
(From L-R) Jake Hally, Service and Maintenance Coordinator – Matthews Brothers Engineering; Elvis Centofanti, Contracts Manager – Metro Asphalt & Cole Civil; and Richard Bailey, General Manager and Design Manager – Matthews Brothers Engineering.

He says the creation of his role represents a renewed effort from the company to have an efficient and easy to use support service.

“It felt like a fairly natural transition, moving from working on the floor to then learning about the backend of the sprayers as well,” he says. “Also, how specific clients like to use our machines.

“It’s about developing a good rapport. Metro Asphalt are looking to get larger and grow and we’ve been lucky enough to be able to work with them on that goal and help them work towards it.”

Bailey says Hally has hit the ground running, exemplifying the company’s commitment to assisting clients wherever and whenever possible.

“He’s taken the opportunity with both hands. He’s very involved with all stages of the process, which our clients really appreciate. He’s obviously got the background knowledge, he understands the products and he’s interested in learning and developing,” he says.

“Not only developing his role, but also the support services that we can provide. He recognises the importance of having good relationships with customers, which is ultimately critical to the role.”

Another component of this service is the ability to provide spare parts on a local basis, which are manufactured locally. A massive tick for Centofanti and the Metro Asphalt team.

“If we need spare parts, we’re hardly 30 minutes down the road and parts are generally always available. Whether it’s gaskets, spray nozzles, it’s all just a hop, skip and a jump away,” he says.

The Matthews machinery difference 

Metro Asphalt currently has two units from Matthews Brothers Engineering. The highlight among its fleet is the patented 6K Ozibar Sprayer.

It’s in this machine that you can feel Matthews Brothers Engineering’s half-a-century worth of experience, as Centofanti explains.

“A lot of operators are very familiar with their products, which is a huge bonus,” he says. “The crew that we have at the moment are all very familiar with it and the system that they’ve developed, which allows you to dial in your application rates. It’s very user-friendly.

“We’ve found that those factors make it really easy to train up newer operators to the business. It obviously also gives you the benefits of a very accurate application. Particularly through the G-TAR.”

Matthews Brothers Engineering’s G-TAR, or Guaranteed Target Application Rate, provides two benefits. First, it aims to provide a guarantee to the application rate for the operator. Second, it aims to simplify the process for operators by removing the need for traditional road speed charts and a manual set up.

Elvis Centofanti, Contracts Manager – Metro Asphalt & Cole Civil.
Elvis Centofanti, Contracts Manager – Metro Asphalt & Cole Civil.

The sprayer operator can select the number and type of jet to be used, then set the desired application rate.

“It’s a very easy to use and very well incorporated system that helps us on multiple fronts,” Centofanti says. 

Customisation is another aspect that has impressed Centofanti. Multiple options enable the operator to tailor a solution that works best for them, with Matthews Brothers Engineering helping to guide and recommend options where needed.

“When I was looking at the first sprayer, they had a whole menu of options, which was
really impressive. We took up a lot of those extra options on our first model, we’ll be
goingback to that same design for our new sprayer as well,” he says.

Metro Asphalt is currently working with Matthews Brothers Engineering to fine-tune the new model, which isn’t the only new development in the works at the company. It will also soon be opening a new facility in Campbellfield, which will house all of its staff and fleet of new and old machines. 

“That new unit will be a big help in boosting our productivity and expanding our reach and ability to do more in the marketplace,” Centofanti says. “The great thing is that it’s going to be a very easy transition because we know the product so well. We’ll be hitting the ground running from day one.”

From a Matthews Brothers Engineering perspective, much like Metro Asphalt, one of the main focuses will be growth, not only of its machinery and technological offerings, but also its now established support services. As Bailey explains.

“We want to expand not only the services we offer, but also our product range, to allow us to provide even more value to our customers. It’s about us working with customers such as Elvis from Metro Asphalt, to develop an even deeper understanding of their operations and how they use the equipment on site, to identify any areas where we may be able to support them even further,” he says.

“Engineering is in our name. If there’s a need within your operations, then between our design department and the wider hands-on team, we’ve got the expertise to deliver and make our customers ‘wants’ a reality.” 

This article was originally published in the June edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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