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Each year Australian advanced manufacturer REDARC spends a significant slice of its total sales revenue on innovation and R&D.

For Managing Director Anthony Kittel, it’s not only a “non-negotiable investment” above industry benchmarks, but a highly effective and profitable growth strategy.

It is this steadfast commitment to remain ahead of the curve that has propelled the privately-owned company into new and expanding markets across the globe.

REDARC designs, manufacturers and supplies power conversion products for use in recreational and non-recreational vehicles across a range of industries.

Four-wheel drive cars, boats, trucks, mining equipment, bus and emergency vehicles in Australia, North America, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and South Africa all rely on its off-grid battery power solutions.

And with the company already expanding into defence, it is now preparing for a seat on the greatest road trip of all – space.

Global demand driving unprecedented growth
While the global pandemic caused widespread disruption across industry, the increased demand for domestic travel fueled an almost doubling of sales in REDARC’s power conversion products to $128.6 million in the 2022 financial year.

Export sales have grown 122% over the past two years while employee numbers have risen from approximately 200 to 380 in that time. This was in response to demand from an expanding customer base including grey nomads and young families to large mining and
defence companies.

However, the foundation to REDARC’s success lies not just in supplying current demand but thinking ahead to meet the future needs of markets.

Collaborating closely with customers to produce tailored solutions to their complex challenges is central to this approach.

“We’re constantly looking at opportunities to grow our markets by innovating and diversifying,” Mr Kittel said.

“It’s about taking the time to truly understand the challenges facing our clients and then working closely with them to tailor a technical solution that does the job.”

This strategy has allowed REDARC to enter the highly competitive global defence sector and work on complex projects involving armored vehicles to sovereign electronic warfare systems.

The 100% Australian-owned and managed company is also a Tier One supplier to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive sector and is now in formal discussions with space companies seeking to use its technology.

Making bold moves
Since Mr Kittel took over the business in 1997, he has instilled a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

“It really comes down to being serious about R&D and the investments you make in building exceptional teams within the business that are ambitious and share a vision,” he said.

Approximately 15c in every sales dollar generated is invested back into innovation, a figure which is well above the industry average

This allows for continuous upgrading of the technology and automation in use across its manufacturing and testing facilities.

It also includes new capital projects, new products and e-commerce capabilities, as well as structured professional development for staff.

Plans are underway to build a new $20 million dedicated defence and space facility at its Lonsdale site in South Australia which will include the latest manufacturing and testing technology and equipment to support its expansion in these key sectors.

The company has invested heavily to develop and release new products to the market. This included the world’s first portable dual battery system, GoBlock, tested in some of the harshest conditions on the planet and recipient of a coveted Good Design Award, representing the highest honour for design innovation in Australia. This adds to an expanding collection of accolades for REDARC including Australian Export Awards.

REDARC has also invested significantly in its e-commerce capabilities, exposing its products to new global markets and improving customer experience.

Over the past year alone its workforce of engineers, designers and testing specialists has grown by more than a third while intern and apprenticeship programs, study assistance and university collaborations foster continuous learning and upskilling.

“As our business expands into new and existing markets, we stay focused on the basic principles that got us to where we are today – high quality products and high quality service. That’s our promise to ourselves and our customers.” Mr Kittel said.

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