Posted 8th March 2017
Australian Financial Review
Military Uniforms getting Next Generation Innovation
Forge Magazine – March 2017 Edition
Innovating Defence Apparel
A long time supplier of Uniforms broadens its Market.
Based in Thomastown (Victoria) with a manufacturing facility in Bendigo, ADA began as a government owned business in 1912 responsible for the manufacture of uniforms to Australia’s fighting forces. Over the years the company has evolved and is now a subsidiary of the Canadian based Logistik Unicorp.
ADA employs 250 people, and is the nation’s biggest manufacturer of customised Military garments and protective equipment. In addition to the Defence sector the company designs and manufactures high quality products for Industries such as Emergency Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Logistics and Corporate.
Matt Graham ADA’s Chief Executive Officer feels strongly about the need to retain its capacity to Design and Manufacture locally – “ADA has a strong commitment to the long term sustainability of local expertise, and the key is placing a strong emphasis on Innovation and incorporating new technologies into our business”
In terms of R & D, combat wear remains at the apex of design re using new materials and technology to enhance protection, durability and comfort. These advances are now flowing down into the uniforms that ADA is developing for its clients in other Industries.
ADA’s locally designed and manufactured Backpack Frame that can be adjusted to the needs of the individual, has recently won a major Defence Industry award. In September ADA were awarded the Land Defence Australia – 2016 National Industry Innovation for the ONE299 Adjustable Backpack Frame.
The adjustable frame was designed in response to the ever changing profile of Military Personnel which now includes a larger contingent of female service personnel as well as a broader size demographic in general. Soldiers are carrying increasingly heavier loads on their backs during training and operational exercises.
Mr. Graham said the Frame was attracting serious interest worldwide including Defence Forces in the US and United Arab Emirates, as well as wider use in recreational markets.
“The pack frame was designed to be both sturdy and adjustable, ensuring that every soldier is able to move freely. “The pack fits each individual wearer, no matter their size,”
ADA has also developed a Covert Body Armour System, which has lightweight Armour concealed in a T-Shirt that can be worn as an under garment. This item will be used in the Law Enforcement, Defence and Security industries. The company has just delivered a major order to the Presidential Guard in the United Arab Emirates, and the system was recently displayed by ADA at the “SHOT Show” in Las Vegas in January. The SHOT Show is the world’s largest tradeshow for professionals in law enforcement.
In December ADA announced that it had acquired Australia’s leading tactical equipment supplier, LE Gear. LE Gear was formed in 1999, and has grown into the leading supplier of Law Enforcement, Military, Public Safety and Outdoor products throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. Graham said the acquisition broadens the company’s offering giving access to new markets, and the LE Gear distribution will enable ADA to introduce our specialised Tactical product to a broader market.
Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club State Team – Powered by Industrial Athlete
ADA via its Industrial Athlete brand is proud to be a supporter of the Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club.
This includes helping outfit their team participating in the upcoming NSW State Championships.
ADA supports a number of Community initiatives throughout various parts of Australia.
ADA acquires leading tactical supplier LE Gear
Left to right: Chris Dixon (ADA), Matt Graham (ADA), Mark Foote (LE Gear), Daniel Keighran (VC), Ed Holbrook (ADA), Archie Fraser (LE Gear)
ADA (Australian Defence Apparel) today announced that they have acquired Australia’s leading tactical supplier, LE Gear. The acquisition is in line with ADA’s growth strategy through diversification.
LE Gear was formed in 1999, and has grown to be Australia’s leading supplier of Law Enforcement, Military, Public Safety and Outdoor products with distribution across Australia and New Zealand.
ADA’s Chief Executive Officer, Matt Graham, said the acquisition broadens the company’s offering giving access to new markets, new customers and access to established relationships with key suppliers.
“LE Gear is an attractive acquisition, consistent with our strategy of diversification in areas that complement our well established manufacturing and apparel business.”
“The LE Gear distribution will enable ADA to introduce our specialised tactical product to a broader market.”
“In addition to opening the door for us to new markets and providing access to key suppliers, we will now have a proven e-commerce platform for direct to consumer distribution, including the opportunity to introduce the ADA specialised tactical product to the LE Gear audience, putting the business in a strong position to grow faster than the overall market.”
LE Gear’s Managing Director, Mark Foote, will stay on as General Manager of LE Gear, a division of ADA, and will be responsible for delivering key contracts and managing supplier relationships.
For more information about LE Gear, visit their website at https://www.legear.com.au
Posted 20th November 2016
ADA raises funds for Soldier On – City 2 Sea Run
The ADA Team entered 25 individuals in the City 2 Sea Run that was held on Sunday 20th December in Melbourne who participated in both the 5km & 10km events.
ADA continued its support of the Solider On organisation by nominating it as the Charity of choice for the Fundraising that was undertaken leading up to the event.
A great day was had by all, and even more importantly the ADA Team raised in excess of $12,000 which has since been gratefully accepted by Soldier On.
Posted 14th November 2016
ADA – Commitment to Health & Wellbeing
As part of ADA’s commitment to being an Employer of choice, it has committed to a number of Health & Wellbeing initiatives for its employees.
These have included:
- Setup of a Gym onsite
- Engagement of a Personal Trainer to conduct Fitness Training Sessions
- In Office Neck & Shoulder Massages
All of these activities have been embraced enthusiastically by the ADA Team.
Posted 10th November 2016
Industrial Athlete – The next Evolution in Industrial Workwear
Inspired by over 100 years of protecting soldiers in the battlefield, Industrial Athlete represents the innovative hybrid of Industrial Workwear and a modern soldier Combat Uniform.
By combining comfort, performance, functionality and safety, each garment allows the wearer to perform at their optimum – like an Athlete – and to cope with the demands of an industrial environment.
The Industrial Athlete Range coming soon includes:
➤ Industrial Utility Shirt
➤ Industrial Cargo Pants & Short
➤ Puffer Jacket
➤ Safety Vest
Industrial Athlete recently entered into a partnership with the Nissan Motorsport Team to support their Nissan Altima entry at the Bathurst 1000 event that was driven by the all-female team of Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie.
Posted 27th September 2016
‘Iron Man’ exoskeletons to give Diggers superhuman strength
Australian troops are set to gain superhero strength, with trials of the latest powered titanium exoskeletons likely to take place next year.
Australian Defence Apparel chief executive Matthew Graham said the technology, which is being developed with the US Army’s elite special operations command, could then be rolled out to the general army in 2018.
Posted 8th September 2016
ADA Exhibits at Land Forces 2016
ADA exhibited at the recent Land Forces 2016 Show in Adelaide (6th – 8th September)
It was an extremely successful event at which ADA presented amongst a number of things the New One299 Adjustable Pack Frame, Scalable Body Armour Systems and a Virtual Training Simulation in conjunction with Zero Latency.
Posted 7th September 2016
ADA Wins National Industry Innovation Award
At the 2016 Land Forces Show in Adelaide in September, ADA received the 2016 Land Defence Australia – National Industry Innovation Award for the development of the One299 Adjustable Backpack Frame.
Pictured above from L-R are Louis Bibeau (Director – ADA), Larry Stevenson (Director – ADA), Hon Christopher Pyne (Federal Minister Defence Industry), Daniel Keighran VC (ADA Ambassador) and Matt Graham (CEO – ADA)
Posted 30th August 2016
ADA Involvement at AFAC 2016
ADA exhibited at the recent AFAC 2016 Show in Brisbane (30th August – 1st September)
ADA promoted its comprehensive range of Structural & Wildland Firefighting Garments, Station Wear, Inherent FR Garments and newly designed Undergarments.
Posted 4th August 2016
Uniform innovation keeping Aussie heroes safe at work
From our soldiers on the frontline, to paramedics who are first on the scene of an accident, to the nurses working tirelessly to get us back to health – they’re the everyday heroes protected by uniforms designed and made by ADA.
At the core of ADA’s design process is functionality. A worker is best able to perform their job when they’re wearing a uniform that’s been designed specifically for their profession. Designing a ‘functional’ uniform, however, is not as simple as it seems.
The process for designing a new uniform involves a vast range of technology, research and innovation.
This includes annual trips to national and international trade shows, to stay abreast of the ever changing manufacturing industry. The latest 3D technology is often used to create detailed digital samples before production commences, in addition to the detailed market research conducted to understand the industry landscape.
A key area of uniform innovation involves careful fabric selection, with ADA using over 100 different types of fabrics and fibres in the uniforms we produce, from durable, to lightweight, to fire retardant.
Every job is easier in the right uniform. Getting it right, ensuring it is fit for the intended purpose, requires a detailed design process. By doing our research and applying the latest technology, ADA ensures that our Aussie heroes are well protected with the best uniform for the job.
Posted 1st August 2016
New ADA defence technology has every soldier’s back
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has turned to ADA to reinvent the humble backpack. Rising to the challenge, ADA designed the One299 backpack frame – an innovative pack frame that adjusts to the wearer’s weight and height – that’s sparking interest internationally.
ADA’s CEO Matt Graham said that given the increasingly heavy loads our soldiers are carrying – both in training and operational exercises – it was time to design a backpack frame that could quickly and easily be altered to fit the wearer perfectly.
“The 1299 backpack frame is the first truly adjustable external backpack frame. It means that every pack regardless of volume, dimension and weight, is able to be perfectly positioned on an individual of any height for maximum performance,” he said.
With 30,000 frames supplied exclusively to the ADF, the 1299 backpack frame has also led to a run of national design and innovation award nominations.
And while the hype is pleasing, it’s the endorsement from ADF Soldier Daniel Keighran – recipient of a Victoria Cross, the highest award in the military honors system – that really highlights how much impact the 1299 backpack frame can make to our soldiers.
“Regardless of whether you are on deployment or in training, wearing apparel and using equipment that fits properly allows you to operate at your full potential. Having a pack that you are able to adjust to perfectly align with the size of your spine is the kind of technology that really can make all the difference when it counts”, he said.
Read more in the Australian Defence Magazine.
Posted 5th June 2016
Governor-General opens new centre for wounded soldiers
Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General and retired senior army officer, officially opened Soldier On’s newest centre for return veterans in Melbourne on 5 June 2016.
ADA is a proud partner of Soldier On, as a part of our commitment to protect our soldiers both while in and out of uniform.
Soldier On Co-Founder and CEO, John Bale – a veteran himself – said the organisation’s mission is to reintegrate our servicemen and women into civilian life better than any previous generation in Australia’s history.
“This generation of veterans are not reintegrating into society the way they need to,” Mr Bale said.
“When servicemen and women separate from the armed forces, either by choice or at the request of the defence force, many lose their social network and some lose their self-confidence and dignity. That’s where we come in. Soldier On is creating a new focus on the veteran and their family to make sure they get empowering employment and re-establish those connections.”
Coverage from the day:
— The Age
Posted 24th April 2016
ADA partners with Soldier On to better protect soldiers on and off the field
Ensuring that our servicemen and women are as well protected as possible when wearing our uniforms, underpins much of what we do at ADA. However, for thousands of our returned veterans, their battle continues long after the uniform has come off.
It’s with pride that ADA have decided to enter into a partnership with Solider On, a national organisation who work to help wounded soldiers – both physically and psychologically – on their journey back to health.
In addition to funding a position at Soldier On’s Melbourne centre, ADA also include information about the organisation – and its support services – on every uniform made for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
By 2017, we expect to have distributed more than half a million uniforms to the ADF, each containing a swing tag about how to contact Soldier On and how to access help.
It’s a commitment that extends our protection of soldier well-being beyond the battlefield, to their safe return to life at home.
Posted 20th July 2016
Seamstress turned factory manager looks back at 28 years with ADA
Over 28 years ago, ADA Factory Operations Manager Kerry Hodges, started her career at ADA working as a seamstress. At the time, Kerry didn’t know how to properly sew, and learnt on the job during her years behind the commercial sewing machine.
Eventually, Kerry was promoted to supervisor, before stepping into the role of Operations Manager in 1998 – over 18 years ago.
In this time, ADA has grown into the largest dedicated uniform manufacturer in Australia. Its Bendigo factory employs more than 100 people. Despite diminishing local manufacturing, ADA continues to grow as a major local employer and a significant contributor to the Victorian economy.
While things may have changed a lot in the 104 years since ADA was founded – and in the 28 years since Kerry joined the team – Kerry reckons that there’s one thing that’s remained the same in the quarter of a century at ADA:
“I’ve never once hated coming to work… I love the people, the close relationships we’ve formed – it feels like family,” she said.
Posted 10th July 2016
As Australia’s manufacturing sector shrinks, ADA bucks the trend
An emphasis on ideas, innovation and technology has meant that ADA continues to stay ahead of the pack, despite a downturn in local manufacturing.
In the 1960s, a quarter of Australians worked in the manufacturing sector. Today? Less than 10% of the workforce is made up of jobs in this sector.
However, ADA – now operates the largest dedicated uniform manufacturing facility in Australia – is bucking this trend, having experienced a significant growth in staff over the past year.
And further business development is on the cards, according to CEO Matt Graham.
Our Bendigo factory now manufactures more than 300,000 uniforms every year.
“So we see our future as a Victorian apparel manufacturer as prosperous and exciting,” he said.
And, as ADA gears up for a period of rapid growth over the next year due to a significant increase in orders from the Australian Defense Force, ADA’s future continues to look bright.