“In a nutshell, our ‘secret’ ingredients are quality, innovative design, great service and the fact that we’re ‘Australia-made’.”
After 40 years in the business, Infiltration Director John Rickman knows a thing or two about making high-end, off-road motorcycle air filters.
We spoke to John about his passion for making great air filters, and what makes the company so successful both here and overseas.
Who started the company?
When he left the Royal Australian Navy in 1975, John was looking for a new challenge. He’d always been a keen motorcyclist and, at one stage, broke his leg quite badly. His sister was working at a motorcycle shop and got him a job there.
Loving his work in the industry, he joined Unifilter, another leading air filter manufacturer. He then teamed up with a business partner to create his own firm– Finer Filter, and ran that company for another 15 years.
Having moved to Newcastle, John started Infiltration Pty Ltd in 2001. He employs a small team of local women who work flexible hours and keep the business ticking over.
“We’ve recently sold off our international business to an overseas manufacturer. This has allowed me to concentrate on the Australian market,” John explains.
What type of businesses use your products?
“Foam air filters have been used in off-road motorcycles for almost four decades. They’re now standard equipment in the vast majority of off-road motorcycles worldwide.
“Infiltration products are distributed nationally to a majority of motorcycle outlets.”
What are the key ingredients to the company’s success?
“I’ve always strived to make the best air filter on the market, and I believe we’ve achieved that. Though we’re only a small company, we’ve been a real innovator in there design of the standard air filter.
“The foam filter’s basic design has hardly changed since its invention. So, we decided to do something about that.
“We came up with the Funnelweb Filter design because we wanted to improve the performance of the air-filter and the motorcycles using them.”
The Funnelweb Filterhas a unique pyramid profiled foam, bonded to an injection moulded urethane seal. This produces a tough, long-lasting air filter which boasts a vastly improved dust-holding capacity while delivering consistent optimum airflow.
“I’m very proud of our product. Australia has the harshest environment for riding motorcycles. Our feedback is that our air filters work exceptionally well in tough conditions.”
Good communications, a great distribution network
“The Australian motorcycle industry has changed drastically over the past 15-20 years. All the manufacturers of high-performance motorcycles market them through tight, professional dealer networks.
“To have any success these days you need a good product and constant representation at individual stores. We’ve worked hard to build up our distribution network.”
Australian-made is a real plus
“The thing that chuffs me the most is that many people have heard of our product. And then they realise that it’s made in Australia – and they’re quite surprised.
“I believe you should always buy the best you can. And if you can buy the best and it’s made in Australia, even better.”
How has Joyce helped support your success?
John first visited the Joyce manufacturing site back in 1978 (when the company was called Cablemakers).
“Apart from supplying us with good quality foam and reliable, consistent customer service, Joyce has been instrumental in helping me to develop our unique foam profiles.
“Foam is great stuff to work with. The secret to our product is its pyramid profile.This doubles the surface area of the filter. Joyce helped me come up with that profile and they’ve continued to supply the material for its manufacture.”
What’s next for Infiltration?
“We’re branching off into vintage off-road motorcycles – which has really taken off. We’re also looking at developing air filters for the adventure bike market.”
“I love what I’m doing, so I don’t see myself retiring any time soon!”
Infiltration’s new website will launch in early 2019 at: www.funnelwebfilter.com.au