The world’s first method of compressing agricultural fibre into a rigid board is invented in Sweden. The product is called ‘Stramit Board’, derived from the Swedish word for straw – Strå. Over the first decade of its life, the original primitive invention is refined and used primarily for thermal insulation in roofs and walls throughout Sweden.
By 1945, the manufacturing rights for ‘Stramit Board’ are acquired by the Tomo Trading Co Ltd and brought from Sweden to the UK. 9 years later, John Hobart buys both the rights and the technology – including the name “Stramit” – and begins manufacturing ‘Stramit Board’ in Australia. The original plant in Bendigo, Victoria is still used today and has been in continuous production ever since!
A group of experienced Stramit Australia personnel – led by Derek Layfield and Neil Williams – leave the company to form Ortech Industries Pty. Ltd. Ortech quickly becomes one of Stramit’s largest clients in the Australian construction Industry, as a specialised installer of Stramit products across commercial, industrial and residential applications.
Ortech embarks on the first of many international exports of ‘Easiboard’ to the island of Lombok in Indonesia. Over the next two decades Ortech would go on to supply product to countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil, Korea and the Philippines, primarily exporting Trafficable Ceiling Systems for large scale plants and factories.
The first in a series of Melbourne Park Sports Precinct projects is completed, with ‘Easiboard’ installed in the ceilings of Vodafone Arena. This was also the very first project to utilise Ortech’s ground-breaking Lifting Frame technology, which allows for large sections of ceiling area to be assembled on ground and crane-lifted into position. 13 years later, Durra Panel returns to Melbourne Park, in the roof area of the eye-catching Margaret Court Arena.
After a licensing and manufacture agreement in the US, Ortech Industries rebrands ‘Easiboard’ as Durra Panel.
The visually striking Perth Arena is completed with Durra Panel throughout the ceiling and walls of the building. The Durra Lifting Frame is used again, leading to some quirky shaped modules craned into position, given the futuristic design of the stadium.
One of the state’s largest industrial developments, the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant utilises Durra Panel as Acoustic Mass in its multi-layered Roof and Ceiling build up. Over 35,000 sqm of panel is installed across 400 lifts, with the construction process of this project featured in an episode of Discovery Channel’s ‘Build It Bigger’ series.
The Crown Jewel of the $multibillion redevelopment of Darling Harbour, The International Convention Centre Sydney becomes Australia’s first and largest fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment complex. Durra Panel is installed through all three key structures, including the 9,000-seat First State Super Theatre.
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