The first 60 years
Ahrens is a fourth-generation family company that has been in operation for more than 100 years. The business was established in 1906 at Sheaoak Log in the Barossa Valley by Johann Karl Wilhelm Ahrens (Wilhelm). For the first 50 years, Wilhelm and his son, Bill, ran a blacksmith shop that served the local farming community. In 1960 Bill’s son, Bob, joined the company and being an entrepreneurial engineer, he grew the business by extending its product range to include grain silos, field bins, rural sheds and stone and land rollers.
In the late 1970s, Ahrens began fabricating its own structural steel at the Sheaoak Log workshop. Construction work in the Northern Territory, as well as projects for the local wine industry, gave the business a strong foundation and it quickly established a reputation as a cost-effective supplier of steel buildings. Bob’s son, Stefan, started working for Ahrens in 1988, initially in Production, but later as a Project Manager/Estimator. In 1995, Stef was appointed Managing Director of Ahrens and since that time has overseen the strategic growth and expansion of its core business activities.
In 1998 and 2002, Ahrens acquired the silo manufacturing and distribution businesses of Sherwell in South Australian and Victoria and Webster in Queensland. In 2003, Ahrens bought M&S Steel Buildings and established a second steel fabrication and construction base in Queensland. More recent Agri acquisitions include MPH Rural’s silo operations in Toowoomba, Queensland and Gilgandra, New South Wales in 2010, and Jaeschke Silos in Tarranyurk, Victoria in 2011. The Agri division now has a footprint of six primary manufacturing facilities in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, as well as a satelite operation in Tasmania.
Design & Construct expansion
As well as expanding its Agri business over the last decade, Stef has transformed the business from a steel fabricator and shed builder to a national Design & Construct (D&C) industrial and commercial builder. In 2003, Ahrens opened a Brisbane office and a Materials Handling office in Toowoomba in 2005. The growth of the D&C business continued with the acquisition of Allbuilt Constructions in Darwin in 2006, and the opening of a Perth office in 2008. Today, Ahrens’ national D&C business, which includes specialist Materials Handling offices in Queensland and South Australia, has the advantage of sourcing steel from its own steel fabrication facilities. Our Steel Solutions division’s capabilities have been extended with the addition of a semi-automated Shot Blast and Paintline and a world-class Custom Engineering Buildings (CEB) line. The Steel Solutions division supplies steel for the majority of Ahrens’ D&C, construction and engineering projects, supplemented by overseas fabricators. In 2010, Ahrens established a Global Procurement office in China, with our own quality team to ensure that all imported products meet strict internal standards.
In 2010, Ahrens purchased Mahon’s Asset Management, in Newman, Western Australia, and established a Mining Services & Infrastructure division to supply residential refurbishments, town and mine maintenance, accommodation services and infrastructure to the Australian mining industry. Through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, Ahrens now specialises in four key business areas – Design & Construct, Steel, Agri and Mining. Today, our national company is focused on the safety and wellbeing of our employees and sub-contractors, as well as providing our customers with excellent quality and service.