If you’ve enjoyed the excitement of watching some of the world’s most nail-biting motorsport competitions (on and off road), chances are, those vehicles were using Unifilter foam air filters.
Unifilter Australia is a world leader in foam air filter design and production.
Over the past 40 years, the company has sponsored the winning drivers and riders in races such as Motocross, Supercross, V8 Supercars, Australian Safari and Speedway Car and Bike competitions.
We spoke to General Manager, Myles Gooch, about the history of the firm and what makes it so successful.
Who started the company?
- Unifilter Australia originally started-up in 1986, importing UNI Filter USA motorcycle products. In the early 1980s, the company began making its own range of air filters in Australia.
- In 1987, Haydn & Nan Gooch bought Unifilter Australia. They set about increasing the range and improving the manufacturing capabilities. Haydn was instrumental in the introduction of new automotive air filters, including a range of flat panel automotive and 4×4 filters. These products used the same dual layer foam design incorporated into the Unifilter dirt bike range.
- A few years later, they introduced 4×4 snorkel pre-filters to the range.
- The company continued to grow, and in 2003, they bought out their biggest competitor, Finer Filter. With this purchase, they gained the O2Rushbrand, which continued to be marketed to the motorcycle industry.
- The company grew from 5 to 10 staff over the next 10 years. The filter range was increased to include the introduction of the Rampod. This filter was unique. Its design was based on the knowledge Unifilter had gained from working with many of Australia’s leading race teams.
- By 2006, Unifilter Australia had outgrown their Hornsby facility and relocated to West Gosford on the NSW Central Coast.
- In 2017, Myles took over the day to day running of the business, and now drives product innovation. Haydn and Nan are still involved in key decisions for the firm.
- They recently moved operation to their new, larger premises in Somersby. The new facility has led to significant changes to the way foam air filters are designed.
What type of businesses use your products?
“The company supplies its products to some of the world’s leading automotive, motorcycle and power equipment manufacturers. Around 55% of our business services the motorcycle industry.”
These leading brands include: Yamaha, Husqvarna, Suzuki, KTM, Stihl, Holden, Ford, BMW, Touratech GMBH, Nitto Envirocycle Systems, CF Moto, Sydney Ports Authority and Ryco.
What are the key ingredients to the company’s success?
Innovative manufacturing processes
“Traditionally, foam air filters were largely handmade.
“To contain costs and remain Australia-made, we’ve invested heavily in R&D. This has helped us develop new products and innovative ways to make those products.
“We’re the only manufacturer of foam filters in the world using CNC laser and CNC oscillating-reciprocating work-head equipment.
“These production techniques have:
- Increased the efficiency of our production process – we reduced errors and waste significantly.
- Increased our turnaround time from design to production – what used to take 4-6 weeks, now takes less than 24 hours.”
Close collaboration with client
“We work closely with our clients in automotive, motorcycle and power equipment manufacturing. With all of our processes done in-house, we can more easily adapt our designs to meet our clients’ needs.”
“Our foam air filters help increase the performance of a vehicle and help protect performance engines. They’re designed to perform in the toughest conditions. They’re also washable and reusable.“
“We’re conscious of minimising our carbon footprint. Our manufacturing facility is solar-powered and all waste foam is recycled or repurposed.”
“I think many people appreciate that we’re Australian-owned and our products are all made in Australia. Where possible, we source our raw materials locally, including packaging and accessories, such as filter oil and cleaner.”
How has Joyce helped support your success?
Unifilter has worked with Joyce for over 30 years.
“Joyce has helped us develop new products for many of our core customers. They’ve provided different grades and profile cuts of foam to suit our customers’ requirements. Having a local supplier of raw materials makes product development easier,” explains Mr Gooch.