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VEEM History

Gormley statues – Manufacturing one of Australia’s largest outdoor galleries

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In 2003, VEEM worked closely with Antony Gormley to bring to life 51 alien-like sculptures to be placed across the flat salt-encrusted expanse of Lake Ballard in Western Australia. The ‘Inside Australia’ project was the largest outdoor gallery art project in Australia at the time and still draws thousands of visitors from all over the world to the remote site.

The project was part of the 50th anniversary of the Perth International Arts festival and took over six months from design through to installation. VEEM Ltd was able to bring Gormley’s designs, which were naked representatives of the residence of Lake Ballard, to life in our local, non-ferrous foundry.

The moulding and casting process were carefully choreographed and occurred over several days. Once the patterns were carefully cut and assembled, polystyrene runners were fixed between the limbs and body to allow for the metal to run through the whole piece. To assist pouring the liquid, ‘in-gate’ risers were also attached to figures shoulders and backs.

The life size patterns were then placed face up on our foundry floor for moulding. To create the mould, we used a combination of silica and zircon casting sand, dampened with phenolic-setting resin. Each mould was left to harden for at least a day before the intricate casting process began.

To cast, the figures were lined up side by side and a temperature controlled alloy containing titanium, molybdenum and vanadium was poured throughout. After the casts were left to cool, any excess metal was cut off with a grinding disk, a process known as ‘fettling’. The last step of fabrication was the fitting of the footings, after that the figures were loaded onto a flatbed road-train and transported to Lake Ballard.

‘Wirin’ Statue – Cast by VEEM and erected in Perth’s Yagan Square

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  • In early 2018, VEEM cast one of the biggest statues of an Aboriginal figure in the country. 
  • ‘Wirin’, which is 6.1m tall was cast at VEEM in January and installed in Yagan Square in Perth, Western Australia prior to the squares launch in March. 
  • The statue is one of the largest artwork casting projects the foundry has ever seen.

The large ductile iron sculpture “Wirin”, designed by Tjyllyungoo (Lance Chadd) and sculpted with Big Spoon Art Service, left VEEM on the 23rd January 2018 and was installed in Yagan square prior to the square’s opening in early March.

The intricate manufacturing process, which spanned a number of months at VEEM, utilised the in-house alloying facilities and foundry to cast the statue in a unique metal that would oxidise over time to match the surrounding buildings.

The ductile iron metal was chosen by VEEM and the artist to provide the required strength and patina and was carefully poured using 5 tonnes of liquid metal. The statue, which started off with a silver appearance, has already begun the oxidisation process and transformation into a rustic appearance to match the building facades in Yagan square. It is expected that the patina will continue to develop further in the many years to come.

The casting process at VEEM began with the statue’s mould, requiring 38 pieces of individually made sand blocks shaped around the pattern, which formed the statue’s shape as a cavity that was subsequently filled with metal.

Daniel Lenane from VEEM said the project presented many unique challenges and required artisan skill in the forming of the mould, production of the metal and finishing processes such as grinding. “This was an extremely interesting but challenging project for the entire team at VEEM and very rewarding to see the final result become part of the Perth landscape for years to come”. Stuart Green from Big Spoon Art Service was happy with how the project worked out, commenting “Just up, Brilliant! Well done all at VEEM”. 

In the video below, the designer Tjyllyungoo talks about the installation in Yagan Square last year.

VEEM Lathe – A History of Innovation

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The Lathe is just one example of VEEM’s innovation and precise manufacturing throughout history. Heavy Duty lathes are an essential piece of equipment for workshops, tool rooms, class rooms and other production work, however, prior to 1975, there was no heavy duty factory-scale production of lathes in Western Australia.

Students using VEEM lathes at Carine Tech

When VEEM began manufacturing lathes, the company was run by Charlie Miocevich, the original founder, and had a work force of 26. At the time, VEEM specialised in dynamic balancing and precision engineering, including tail-shafts and precision turbines, shop turbines and dust extractor fans.

Prior to VEEM’s production of the Mark 3M lathe in 1975, the Mk. 3 light duty Premo lathe was being manufactured by Tulloch Ltd in New South Wales. Tulloch began manufacturing the Mk. 3 Premo lathe in the early 1960’s, however, ceased trading in 1974 and sold the drawings, rights, and patterns to a family associate Mauri Yelsich, who later passed them onto Charlie.


A batch of VEEM lathes at final stage of production in Willetton

With the introduction of Metrication in Australia 1971, the Mk. 3 Premo design was in need of an update to meet the demands of the WA market, so Charlie began a number of improvements to the design before beginning production of the Mk IV MVEEM Lathe in 1975. A geared head headstock was incorporated along with a general modernization of the major components.

To cater for the production of Lathes, VEEM purchased a Jig Mill from DeVlieg of Scotland, which produced the bed, headstock, saddle and the tailstock of the VEEM Mk 3M. The DeVlieg Jig Mill is still operational at VEEM today and is used to manually mill a wide variety of products almost every day.


De Vlieg is still operational at VEEM today

VEEM also invested in two Capstan production lathes, a Herbert and a Ward, to manufacture the smaller components of the Mk. 3M lathe.Other parts of the Mk. 3M were cast externally using wooden patterns and assembled at VEEM.

The VEEM Mk. 3M.

After months of planning, modifications, and machining, the VEEM Mk.3M was in full production by 1975. Retailing at around $3,000, the VEEM Lathe was sold to various groups around WA, including the education department who received their first lathe on the 10th of February 1976, unfortunately the same day VEEM founder, Charlie Miocevich passed away.

VEEM Mk. 3M Lathes on route for delivery

Production continued and in 1978 the Mk. 3M design was modified specifically for the education department to feature 6 speeds. VEEM hosted a local competition in the factory to come up with the design for a multi-speed lathe and approximately 30 of these units were purchased.

By the early 1980’s VEEM had sold over 180 lathes throughout Western Australia and the running of the company was taken over by Charlie’s sons: Gary, Mark, and Brad Miocevich. The company began taking on more oil and gas and defence work and with the changing world through cheap imports, eventually disbanded the production of lathes.

A Mk. 3M Veem data plate indicating manufacture during 1976

VEEM offered the drawings, patterns, and designs of the VEEM Mk. 3M lathe to the education department to provide a meaningful apprentice project and a spares source for industry. Unfortunately this was not taken up and the patterns were destroyed.

VEEM continues its rich history of innovation and precise manufacturing to this day, continuing to offer advanced engineering services across the globe as well as developing world ground breaking marine technology.

Anzac Bell brought to life at VEEM

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Perth’s newest addition, a 6.5 tonne bell to be installed into the Perth Bell Tower to mark the centenary of Anzac, has become a reality this month with VEEM recently completing a successful casting pour.

VEEM was heavily involved in bringing the Anzac Bell to life, from working with designers to develop 3-D printing to show the giant frieze through to test castings of decorative elements.

Even though the final tuned weight will be approximately 6.5 tonnes, a total of ten tonnes of liquid bronze (80% copper & 20% tin) was needed to properly cast the ANZAC Memorial bell, which was undertaken on the 3rd of August.

Representatives from the Bell Tower, the Minister for Culture and the Arts, and the MP for Jandakot were present at the pour as well as the RSL and the Royal Australian Navy, as the senior service of the Australian Defence Forces.

The Anzac Bell is the first of its sort to be cast in Australia and it will be the largest swinging bell in the Southern Hemisphere. It is expected to last over 500 years and would be a lasting legacy to acknowledge the Anzac centenary.

The Perth Bell Tower is currently home to 17 bells which are made up of 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields and 5 bells from the London diocese of the Church of England. These bells were gifted to Western Australia as part of the nations bicentennial celebrations in 1988.


Video thanks to Today Tonight.

VEEM Ltd Enters the Family Business Hall of Fame

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VEEM Ltd was recently inducted into the Family Business Australia FBA WA Hall of Fame, joining other successful WA companies with rich histories and contributions to the Western Australian economy.

VEEM was established in 1968 by Voyka and Elizabeth EliseMiocevich and began as a small engineering services company specialising in the repair and dynamic balancing of drive shafts, engines and other rotating equipment.

Today VEEM a is a marine technology company specialising primarily in propulsion and stabilisation systems and also provides products and services to the marine, defence and mining industries. The company has grown to become a premium manufacturer of sophisticated equipment for a variety of industries and was awarded the Australian Marine Exporter of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

VEEM is a proud family business, with a strong European work ethic, a focus on engineering perfection and a “can do” problem solving approach. These qualities are now firmly embedded as core company values and are reflected in the pride taken to deliver a first class product to their customers.

Watch the short videos below.

VEEM’s history – a timeline

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1968 – Commencement of VEEM

In October VEEM Engineering Services commenced trading as a partnership between

Voyka and Elizabeth Elsie Miocevich at 14 Whyalla Street Willetton.

The business was established to carry out Dynamic Balancing services and Drive shaft re-manufacturing. These services were steadily expanded to cover a range of repair machining services, heat-treating and the manufacture of a small metal turning lathe.

1976 – Death of founder

In February 1976 Voyka (Charlie) suddenly passed away. The business employed twenty-two people and was placed in the care of employed management with Elizabeth over seeing the business.

1982 – Takeover by current Directors

Late in 1982 there was a recession in the Engineering industry which caused VEEM to reconsider its management structure. The business was taken over by Gary, Mark and Brad Miocevich, the sons of the founder. There were then fourteen people employed by VEEM.

1987 – Quality System Accreditation

As VEEM grew and started to take on more oil and gas and defence related work it became apparent that a quality system would be required to develop the business to maximise the market opportunities. VEEM was the first company in Australia to achieve accreditation with no major non-conformances and was one of the first accredited companies in Western Australia.

1988 – Commencement of ERP system

In an effort to better manage production VEEM embarked on a custom written ERP system. The system covered labour collection via bar coding on each job and computerised purchasing enabling a completed job cost report to be printed for all jobs. Job costing and customer details were able to be stored on computer for future reference.

1989 – SS Engineering

SS Engineering was a non-ferrous foundry that manufactured a range of marine propellers and provided non-ferrous castings to industry. The business had been owned for a number of years by a group of investors and had been poorly managed since the retirement of its long serving manager Ron Morrison. VEEM had the opportunity to purchase SS Engineering which was about to play a significant role in a large contract VEEM had secured to manufacture submarine hull valves. SS Engineering was one of only two significant non-ferrous foundries in Australia.

1989 – Premier’s Award for Excellence

VEEM won the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in Industry and Technology, which was  recognition of the unique high quality defence work VEEM had brought to Western Australia, VEEM’s advanced computerised ERP system and VEEM’s performance in achieving AS 1822 quality accreditation.

1994 – ABE framework adopted

Following intensive studies of Baldridge award winning companies in the USA, VEEM elected to adopt these principles which were developed by Demming, and others in Japan, as part of the US rebuilding program after the Second World War. Australia’s adaptation of these principles is the Australian Business Excellence Framework. VEEM adopted this as its management model to encourage a sustainable management system for the future.

1995 – Management Restructure to integrate SS Foundry and VEEM Corp

VEEM Corporation owned both SS Engineering and VEEM Engineering. The finance and administration function was carried out in VEEM Corporation. This structure was not ideal and was changed so that all finance and administration functions as well as SS Engineering were integrated into a renamed VEEM Engineering Group.

1997 – Commencement of TSA

As part of a business planning process VEEM searched the world for a suitable gas turbine maintenance partner. Thomassen International proved to be such a partner and a company was formed which was jointly owned by Thomassen International and VEEM Engineering Group. This company was called Thomassen Service Australia Pty Ltd (TSA). The aim of this company was to provide GE frame type gas turbine maintenance services previously unable to be performed  in Australia. This business concluded in 2005.

1998 – Relocation to Canning Vale

By 1998 VEEM had outgrown its existing facilities and employed around 90 people. It was decided to relocate all three facilities, two in Willetton and one in Welshpool, to a new larger site in Canning Vale. The new site featured 25 tonne overhead cranage throughout and  had around 5500 sqm of floor space. The site has been widely recognised as the premier engineering facilities in the state.

2000 – Management Restructure to create the Commercial Division

To take advantage of the efficiencies offered by having all divisions of the company on one site, the company split into Commercial, Production and Finance and Administration divisions. This restructure enabled VEEM to concentrate on marketing the business more effectively to industry and increase its market share.

2000 – Upgrade of ERP system

Although VEEM had added many modules and reporting functions progressing into the initial ERP system, there was still a need to upgrade to a windows based system and to pursue other strategic objectives. In 2000 VEEM embarked upon a major upgrade of the ERP system to include areas such as intellectual property management, quote and job control by operation bar codes (as against general job card bar coding), paperless purchasing and debtors system, scheduling and production control monitoring. The operating system was upgraded to Oracle to allow search engines to be used.

2001 – IPS workshops

VEEM reached an agreement to take over the mechanical workshops operated by IPS at the Western Power premises in Kewdale. VEEM employed many of the staff and also purchased key equipment. By applying the VEEM ERP system VEEM was able to turn this work into a profitable part of the business. This relationship was also the springboard for the working relationship created between IPS and TSA to jointly work in the gas turbine maintenance industry in Australia.

2001 – Exporting propellers to the USA

As VEEM had developed sophisticated designs for a range of propellers and enjoyed a low Australian dollar, VEEM decided to market its marine propeller range into the USA. This was very successful with the VEEMSTAR – C proving to be the best high-speed propeller on the market. This led to a continually increasing amount of orders originating from the USA.

2002 – Exporting Controllable Pitch Propeller Components

Through a MJP Waterjets agency, VEEM was also able to commence exporting controllable pitch propeller components to Sweden. The components were cast hubs of up to 3 tonne for large frigates.  Europe had a shortage of high quality non-ferrous foundries and Australia’s low dollar placed VEEM in a very attractive position.

2002 – Acquisition of Timcast

The purchase of VEEM’s major competitor Timcast, allowed VEEM to combine the complimentary resources of both companies in copper and nickel alloy melting technologies.  Timcast performed similar bronze sand casting to VEEM, as well as a unique centrifugal casting process of hollow bars.  This proved to be a very successful acquisition.

2002 – Manufacture of Components for Large Hadron Collider

Delivery was made of large cast and machined components for the Hadron Collider under construction at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) high energy particle accelerator.  The components manufactured from a lead bronze alloy were cast, machined, tested and trial assembled prior to delivery for installation. The components made up key elements of a radiation shield to protect instrumentation to be used in the ATLAS experiments being designed to uncover fundamentals questions of physics to advance the understanding of the deepest laws of nature. The Hadron Collider confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle in 2012.

2004 – PowerPlay Research and Development Project

The PowerPlay project commenced following a successful submission with the government Start Grant Program.  This allowed the development of a range of propellers that became very successful in the US and European markets.  The project developed a state-of-the-art design and manufacturing system.  Some of the key features included:

  • Web based propeller-ordering system.
  • Software to manage automatically created propeller geometry and tool path data.
  • Acquisition, installation and development of 5-axis CNC machining capability giving VEEM the unique ability to fully machine propellers in one set-up.
  • Acquisition, installation and development of robot sand machining capability. Advanced robotic technology has been lodged for patent protection which enables VEEM to manufacture infinitely variable propeller castings to an accuracy not seen before in the industry.
  • Acquisition and commissioning of a high-powered 64ft Viking test vessel that allows the testing and data collection of propeller design iterations.

The outstanding success of the PowerPlay program resulted in the decision to make propeller marketing and manufacturing a key business feature of the future company direction.

2005/6 – New workshops

The acquisition of Timcast had resulted in the outgrowing of the 1998 constructed workshops.  A new factory to house 5 axis CNC machines was constructed. A new foundry was also constructed to combine the existing Canning Vale foundry and the operations at Osborne Park.  The combined floor space of the new and existing factories became approximately 10,500 sqm. The new workshops provided state-of-the-art facilities in foundry, sand recycling, centrifugal casting, fume extraction, metal melting, and associated processes. The operations at Osborne Park were discontinued and all operating processes relocated to the new Canning Vale facility.

2006 – Interceptor Project

Investigations were made into the viability of an Interceptor style propeller being released to the market.  The investigations included preliminary proof of concept trials, manufacturability trials and market acceptance research.  The outcome was favourable and this resulted in the decision to invest in the research, development, and commercialisation of a range of Interceptor propellers. The project was conducted between 2006 and 2010 whereby an integrated and automated system to manufacture propellers using Interceptor technology was developed.

2007 – Lodgement of Patents for Interceptor

Patents applications were lodged to protect the intellectual property relating to the Interceptor propeller design.  This included the proposed groove and strip design as well as the application of a nickel coating. This advancement has cemented VEEM Propellers as the world leaders in commercial mono block propellers.

2008 – Establishment of VEEM Ltd

In 2008 it was decided to change VEEM Engineering Group from a proprietary tmited company to publically unlisted company to allow for easier potential capital restructure in the future.

2009 – Strategic Marketing Model Development

In response to the structural changes to Australian industry brought about by the GFC and higher Australian dollar, VEEM developed a new business operating model based on selecting potentially larger product or service volume targets. These targets could offer volumes large enough to justify the necessary research and development expenditure to significantly increase their profitability

2010 – Supacat UK announces support contract with VEEM

Supacat UK announces that VEEM will become its Australian service partner on the new Nary high mobility vehicle being supplied to the Australian SAS. The contractual arrangements between Supacat and VEEM is considered by the Department of Defence is considered to be revolutionary is it allows local support services via their LPO system, but comes with full OEM approval. This allowed fast and OEM approved repair of the Nary high mobility vehicle deemed as critical by the SAS.

2011 – Acquisition of Halcyon assets for VEEM Gyro

After studying the stabilization market for some years, VEEM Ltd decided to develop a range of gyroscopic ship stabilisers. This was specifically identified as a product that could meet the company’s key criteria of:

  • Advanced technology
  • IP protection
  • Company manufacturing capability
  • Marketing within existing framework
  • Meeting financial risk profile

2011 – Development of the ‘Forever pipe’  range of wear pipe.  

VEEM Ltd developed a bi-metal bar that is centrifugally-cast and has a wear-resistant inner pipe cast inside it during the manufacturing process.  The new pipe was estimated to extend the life of wear pipe by 6-10 times that of traditional wear pipes at 10% less cost. Wear pipe is used extensively in the mining and mineral processing industry. VEEM recognised an opportunity to develop the next generation of wear pipe.

2012 – Fast Loop Manufacturing

The implementation of a semi automated fast loop manufacturing process into the foundry, enabling castings smaller than 1.4 m to be manufactured far more efficiently.  This was recognised as being particularly valuable for the manufacture of propellers, as it significantly offsets the impact of the high Australian Dollar.

2012 – 4 year LCS contract secured

Commencement of production on the next 8 ship sets of the mechanical components for the Littoral Combat Ship manufactured by Austal Ships.  VEEM successfully secured the contract to manufacture 2 ship sets of ride control components per year for 4 years.

2013 – Supacat awards VEEM $3mil LCS contract

Supacat awards VEEM a $3mil contract to perform a major upgrade on the 31 Nary high mobility vehicles. This contract is to bring the vehicles to the necessary configurations and strength specifications to withstand the vigorous demands of the Department of Defence.

2014 – ASC award partnership contract with ASC

Australian Submarine Corporation awards VEEM the first of a new generation of partnering contracts for the Collins Class Submarine. VEEM is embedded into ASC South Australia operations and the Submarine stores are relocated to VEEM in Perth.

2015 – Market release of new VEEM Gyro stabilization unit an achieves first sale

After four years of exhaustive research and development and engineering design, VEEM releases the first of three VEEM Gyro modes, the VEEM Gyro 120. The first unit was sold and will be despatched March 2016.

2015 – VEEM Gyro 120 and 260 enter production

Due to the positive market reaction VEEM commenced manufacturing the 120 and 260 model gyros. Ten of each unit are commenced through the VEEM global supply strategy. They are due to be completed progressively through 2016/2017 financial year.

2015 – 3 year LCS contract secured

Commencement of production on the next 6 ship sets of the mechanical components for the Littoral Combat Ship manufactured by Austal Ships.  VEEM successfully secured the contract to manufacture 2 ship sets of ride control components per year for 3 years.

2015 – Supacat appointed VEEM as an Australian partner on the Redfin 1B

Supacat appointed VEEM to participate in the Australian build program of the Redfin 1B high mobility vehicle (similar to the Nary). This is a $2mil contract for the manufacture of 18 chassis to ‘the waterline’ level, so that they can be driven.  Final assembly is carried out in Sydney by others.

2016 – VEEM releases a range of Conquest Propellers

VEEM developed a series of propellers under a new brand, Conquest Propellers, targeted specifically at the global replacement propeller market. These propellers are available anywhere in the world within 7 days.

2016 – VEEM Successfully lists on the Australian Stock Exchange

In October 2016, VEEM Ltd successfully listed on the ASX (code VEE).