Russell Hughes wins Lifetime Achievement Award

PACE Zenith Awards 2013: Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Emerson Process Management

WINNER: Russell Hughes
from Integra Systems

Russell Hughes is the Engineering Director and co-founder of Integra Systems. Having begun his career in 1957, he has over 35 years of engineering, innovative product development and senior management experience.

Russell started as an apprentice at the Maribyrnong Ordnance Factory. From there, he moved to Caterpillar’s Tractor Factory where engineering design became his specialty.

He later became an engineering and design contractor for companies such as Ericsson, International Harvester, Ford (Geelong and Broadmeadows), Zenford and General Motors Holden.

Russell gained a vast range of skills and experience and became the Senior Engineer for Sidchrome. Russell then took on the General Manager role with Rymer Lighting, a Division of Howard Smith Industries, which then became Thorn EMI.

During Russell’s 17 year tenure at Rymer Lighting, he was promoted to Managing Director, and Manufacturing & Engineering Director of Howard Smith Industries and led the growth of Rymer Lighting from an annual turnover of $1 milion to $33 million.

In 1993, Russell joined Integra Systems as Joint Director with his son, Paul Hughes to develop his dream of harnessing innovation to develop engineering solutions for Australian industry.

Drawing on his engineering and manufacturing expertise, Russell identified a niche in the Australian market for a linear high speed coil processing line that would rival the steel punching competition by punching steel components at a rate that would ensure components less that 300mm wide were produced economically.

As such, between 1993 and 1998, Russell, together with Paul Hughes, invented the world’s first high speed Coil Processing Line. Branded “Punch-IT Coil Processing”, this went on to become Integra’s first production machine.

The Punch-IT linear coil processing line is a 5-axis system consisting of an electronic feed system and a series of 4 punching stations suitable for most linear punching applications. Punching at a rate of 120 strokes per minute, coil is consumed and converted to finished parts at a rate of 20 linear metres per minute – at least 6 times faster than a Turret Punch press.

Karl Wigginton (L), General Manager/ Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, Emerson congratulates winner Russell Hughes.

Karl Wigginton (L), General Manager/ Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, Emerson congratulates winner Russell Hughes.

The Punch-IT line was so technologically advanced that the University of Melbourne’s Engineering Professor, Colin Burvile presented a paper on the machine at the International Conference of Engineering Design (ICED).

In 1999, a strategic decision was made by Integra Systems to build an in-house Punch-IT line for component manufacture, and became the first production machine and manufacturing foundation.

Integra Systems’ services now span beyond the Punch-IT Coil Processing Line, to a complete a manufacturing solution portfolio, but the Punch-IT line is a clear manufacturing differentiator for Integra.

Today, Integra Systems is a 100 percent Australian family owned product development and manufacturing company specialising on engineering and designing products and components built from steel and aluminium to ensure maximum price/cost competitiveness and quality.

Integra achieves this competitiveness through up-front planning and designing, followed by utilising its own manufacturing facility comprising state of the art sheet metal machinery and working with a trusted network of suppliers for outsourced services right here in Australia via its three divisions: Integra Development, Integra Manufacturing and Integra Products.

With 1250 square metres of factory and office space and 13 staff, Integra is based in Broadmeadows Victoria and services a broad range of markets with steel and aluminium product needs.

Russell has been a mentor to his son Paul throughout his engineering and business ownership career and supported Paul’s passion for innovation to ensure this continues to be the key differentiator of Integra’s entire business.

Russell has also played a large mentoring role in the wider manufacturing community by supporting customers with their product development ideas, guiding them in manufacturing methodologies and engineering solutions that are cost effective to produce, and assisting them with taking their products to market.

Over the years, he has often done this free of charge, which has provided a great deal of good-will. Customers have not been the only beneficiaries of Russell’s inventive nature; he  has also worked with trusted suppliers over the years by offering new and better ways to produce certain items with their own manufacturing technology.

Russell has also put a lot of time into younger generations by providing business mentoring, engineering mentoring, personal development and support in the development of some important “life skills”. Those who have had Russell play a role in their lives are richer from their relationship with him, whether it be professional, personal or in a team environment.

Russell’s contribution to engineering design and development is highly regarded by the University of Melbourne and he is a member of the University of Melbourne Engineering Design Group.

At 72 years of age, Russell continues to strive for excellence in innovation for Integra and its customers and is not showing any signs of slowing down.

In awarding the Lifetime Achievement Award, the PACE Zenith judges stated that “Russell is a well-respected mentor to the engineering community. Over the years, he embraced change and used it to drive innovation.”

Emerson Process Management sponsors 2013 PACE Zenith Awards.The 2013 PACE Zenith Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by Emerson Process Management.

Emerson Process Management
03 9721 0200

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