The History of Fenner Dunlop Australia
A story of success
Through the innovation of JH Fenner and Hopkins Bros. & Odlum, our manufacturing history goes back over 150 years.
On May 31, 2018, Fenner PLC was purchased by Michelin. The acquisition of Fenner Dunlop represents a strategic alignment for the organisations to leverage both companies expertise in high-technology materials. Fenner Dunlop are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Michelin.
The Fenner Group itself was founded in 1861 by Joseph Henry Fenner in Hull, England. The company initially manufactured leather belting for use in power transmission, lacing and hoses, including fire hoses. By 2015, Fenner PLC had revenues of £667 million, and with operations spread across the world, is a recognised world leader in reinforced polymer technology.
Hopkins Bros. & Odlum
In Australia, two British belting tradesmen, Arthur and Charles Hopkins began manufacturing leather belting in Melbourne, not far from the site of today's main plant. They were joined in 1891 by an Australian, George Odlum. The company of Hopkins Bros. & Odlum prospered during one of the most exciting periods of Australian mining, making belting for Mt. Morgan in Queensland, Broken Hill in New South Wales, Mt. Lyell and Mt. Zeehan in Tasmania and Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Conditions were tough with extremes of temperature, dust storms, drought and sudden storms. Communication and supply lines barely existed and equipment provided to those mining pioneers had to be solid and enduring.
In the 1920s, rubber and textile began to be used (instead of leather) and those belts were the prototypes of the products we know today. These belts became renowned for their quality, and they still are.
In 1952, the brand Apex Belting was formed, a name still synonymous in Australia with high quality conveyor belts. Branches were established throughout Australia, selling Apex belts.
In 2001, Enerka-Apex joined forces with Fenner PLC, trading as Apex-Fenner. In 2005, the Australian division was renamed Fenner Dunlop Australia.
Through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, such as the purchase of Statewide Belting, rEscan and Australian Conveyor Engineering (ACE), Fenner Dunlop continues to innovate and find new ways to deliver higher productivity and lower costs to mining and industrial businesses.