The business was established in Melbourne, Victoria in 1919 by Norman Gray Clark, an importer, indentor and merchant of various chemicals and materials for general industry.
Norman Grey Clark quickly established himself in business and prospered in the growing post-war economy, such that he was able to survive recession and war during the 1930’s and 1940’s. John Boyd Clark and Norman Kerr Clark returned from active service in World War 2 and joined their father’s business. They worked alongside him until his death in 1951.
Following the death of Norman Grey Clark, John B Clark and Norman K Clark incorporated the business as Norman G. Clark Pty. Ltd. and diversified into the manufacture of textile machinery and weaving reeds. During the 1950’s they also became Australian agents for Godfrey L. Cabot Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts, W A Scholten of Holland and ZBF of Switzerland – three very important and enduring relationships in the history of the company.
In the early 1960’s, the company’s manufacturing operations were enhanced by obtaining the licence from the Horton Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota to manufacture Air Champ Clutches and Brakes in Australia.
During the 1960’s and early 1970’s the company also established its present relationship with the Deublin Company of Northbrook, Illinios, and obtained other agencies such as Polysar (Synthetic Rubber), Schenectady (Synthetic Resins), Timberjack (Logging Machinery), Sabre (Saw Chain), Nodwell (Tracked Vehicles), Wagner (Spray Guns), Cabot (Fumed Silicas and Plastic Masterbatch), Mimik (Hydraulic Tracers), Kissel and Wolfe (Screen printing Auxiliaries), General Mills (Mining Chemicals), New Jersey Zinc (Mineral Sands), Fife (Guiding Equipment) and many others.
During this period, the company also became involved in the following direct investment ventures:
- Oil and Mineral Exploration Transport Pty. Ltd. – off highway transport for geophysical exploration.
- Airchart Flying Services Pty. Ltd. – a flying school and air charter service using its own fleet of light aircraft.
- Forest and Construction Equipment Pty. Ltd. – southern states distribution of CLARK heavy construction and forestry machinery, in a joint venture with Generalfin of Milan, an Italian merchant bank.
- Repfin – another joint venture with Generalfin, providing lease finance to purchasers of heavy equipment through Forest and Construction Equipment.
In 1976, the company commenced manufacture of Horton Fan Clutches, in addition to Horton’s traditional Air Champ range which was now fully established in the Australian market and successfully exported to New Zealand, South Africa and South East Asia. The Air Champ range was split off from the Horton business and now operates independently under the Nexen Group.
John Boyd Clark and Norman Kerr Clark both retired in 1987 and sold the business to John Clark’s two sons, John Robertson (Rob) Clark and Norman Anthony Boyd (Tony) Clark. Norman Kerr Clark died in July 1992 and John Clark in January 2003.
Rob Clark has been Managing Director (Chief Executive Officer) since the early 1970’s. Tony Clark joined the business in 1986, having formerly been an officer of the Royal Australian Air Force and commercial pilot with Ansett Airlines of Australia. He has been a pilot with Virgin Airlines since 2003.
Norman G. Clark (A/Asia) Pty. Ltd is today still owned by Rob and Tony Clark and currently employs 26 people. The Horton Fan Clutch is the largest volume product in the range followed by Nexen/Air Champ and Deublin Unions.
Distribution of a number of other products are also actively promoted and sought to maintain a degree of diversity which is seen as essential in a market as small and volatile as Australia.
Management and staff proudly celebrated the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the business in 2009.
Nature of Operations
The nature of the business can generally be described as:
“Manufacturer and supplier of equipment and materials for industry”.
Briefly, the activities of the company can be described as follows:
Manufacturers, importers and distributors of HORTON Fan Clutches and NEXEN Air Champ Industrial Clutches, Brakes and Tension Control Equipment. Distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
- Australian distributors of DEUBLIN Rotating Unions and Air Shafts.
- Australian distributors of NETT Catayltic Converters for Combustion Engines.
- Australian distributors of FLIGHT SYSTEMS Diesel Engine Protection and Monitoring Equipment.
- Australian distributors of OBLAN air intake pre-cleaners for internal combustion engines.
- Australian distributors of INDEX temperature and pressure switches.
- Australian distributors of SUCO centrifugal clutches and brakes.
- Australian distributors of ROBAR Wire Rope Ferrules and Wedges.
- Australian importer of AMERICAN COOLING SYSTEMS diesel engine plastic cooling fans.
- Australian distributors of AVEBE Starch Derivatives for the Paper Industry.
- Non-exclusive Australian distributors of NIRECO Tension Control and Guiding Equipment.
- Contract CNC Turning, Milling and Drilling, including design, to specifications.
Quality Accreditation to ISO 9001:2000 quality standard.
Raw Materials & Suppliers
In respect to manufacturing activities, the company sources as many components and materials as possible from local suppliers, subject to ongoing availability, product quality and price. Parts and materials not available locally are sourced from overseas.
In respect to the major non-manufactured product groups, inventory is directly imported, ie.
Horton – Britton, SD, USA
Nexen – Webster, WI, USA
Deublin – Chicago, Illinios, USA
Nett Technologies, Toronto, Canada
Oblan, Sante Fe, Argentina
Flight Systems – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
The company has a centrally controlled and computerised purchasing system that, while minimising inventory levels as far as possible, allows for adequate safety stocks due to the extended and varied lead times of many items.
Facilities and Plant
Norman G. Clark (A/Asia) Pty. Ltd. is situated at 44-48 Kylta Road, West Heidelberg, in the State of Victoria. West Heidelberg is a suburb about 10 miles north of downtown Melbourne. The premises are located on a corner site, in an industrial area that was established in the early 1960’s. The building comprises 21,100 square feet in total, on three levels and made up as follows:
- Office : 3,500 Sq Ft
- Factory and Workshop : 7,000 Sq Ft
- Warehouse and loading bays : 9,000 Sq Ft
- Amenities and Other : 1,600 Sq Ft
The property was purchased and extensively renovated in 1989 specifically for the company’s requirements. It is in excellent condition and provides a safe, comfortable and efficient work environment for Management and staff. The building has the capacity to accommodate a reasonable degree of expansion in respect to personnel, production and warehousing.