By Len Dickman
R.V.Dorman & Co. Pty Ltd was a very small company in the 1950's trying to burst out of obscurity into becoming a major player in its field and always looking for new markets to participate in.
In the 1960's with the boom of the auto industry Dorman's produced components and products for the automotive , white goods and defence industries, in fact anything to pay the bills.
Ron Dorman always had an eye on where he wanted to be. He and other employees designed & built all types of equipment in the resistance welding field. Weld guns, transformers and machines all built to R.W.M.A. Standards .
Dorman & Co. was fiercely independent, the only thing that went out for services were foundry patterns and castings, heat treatment and electro plating, We even made our own cabinet hinges !! Electronics, sheet metal, transformers and fabrication were all manufactured in the Mordialloc Plant that had tripled in size since 1960.
The Machine shop grew to take on the manufacture of our products. Demand was so great that a night shift was operating for 2 years. Our largest machine was a Wotan Boring Machine with 6'' dia spindle and 200''x100'' travel and with the advent of machine tools being designed and built, a Waldrich- Coburg slideway grinder was purchased.
Machine tool manufacture tested our plant to the full, we had some excellent tradesman in those days and were able to come up with the goods for the design team. In our ''hey day'' we had around 57 employees in the workshop. Induction heating was one of the last things to be designed & built that was successful. Unfortunately it created interest from an American competitor company who finally purchased the business. A sad ending for the Mordialloc Plant. Reduced plant & manufacturing was relocated to Seaford, Victoria.
In my time we went through great changes in workshop practice e.g. manual control machines to C.N.C. tape to programmable controls. Also laser cutting, improved carbide and diamond tools, digital measuring, robotics. etc.
My position at R.V.Dorman for 30+ years as Foreman/Supervisor were some of the most interesting times in one's working life, meeting some impressive talent and the satisfaction of seeing the end result.