History and Heritage

The Ortech story covers many decades.  The history goes back to the original invention of compressing agricultural fibre into boards.  The method was discovered in Sweden in 1933.  The product was called Stramit Board – Stramit being a derivative of the Swedish word for straw.  From 1933 to 1945 the original primitive invention was refined to produce a rough board that was mainly used for thermal insulation purposes in Sweden – roofs and walls.

In 1945 the Tomo trading Co Ltd headed by T.J Mosesson acquired from Sweden the Stramit Board manufacturing rights for the United Kingdom – British Stramit.

In 1953, John Hobart an Australian businessman, while on a visit to Europe, became interested in the process for manufacturing a board from wheat straw fibre.  John recognised the potential of the product.  Its properties of high thermal insulation, fire resistance and first class behaviour in conditions of high relative humidity – temperature, made it a very useful building component.

The original Stramit manufacturing rights and technology was bought to Australia by John Hobart in 1954, together with the name “Stramit”.  John Hobart’s vision has been amply borne out.

Stramit Industries Australia became a successful publicly listed company, which concentrated on the development of building systems to compliment the Stramit Board product including the roll forming of metal deck roofing and steel beam sections.

The British Stramit operation experienced some difficulties and in 1980 the UK business under the Chairmanship of John Mosseson was acquired by Stramit Australia under the Chairmanship of Edward Green.  Stramit Board production in the UK continued under the control of Stramit Australia.  It was intended that John Mosson and Michael Mosseson should concentrate on selling Stramit Plants overseas through John’s company Stramit International.

Following a construction and economic recession in Australia in the late 1980’s the public company Stramit was taken over by BTR Australia and the UK operation was sold off to Eleco Holdings. Stramit Board was no longer produced in the UK.

In 1985 an experienced group of Australian Stramit personnel headed by Derek Layfield and Neil Williams left the public company and incorporated Ortech Industries Pty Ltd.  This company was formed to specialise in the site installation of the Stramit range of products – commercial, industrial and residential product applications.

Ortech Industries grew quickly and soon became one of Stramit's largest clients in the Australian construction industry.

Following the take over of Stramit by the BTR group, Ortech Industries Managing Director Derek Layfield with the assistance of James Arbuckle (past Stramit Australia public company Chairman) put forward a proposal to purchase the complete Stramit Board, Stramit Beam operation including the 27 acre manufacturing facility in Bendigo Australia.  The proposal was accepted on the 17th May 1991.

The Ortech group set about re-engineering the old Stramit Board manufacturing process which had not progressed beyond 1960’s technology.  Industry demands had virtually rendered the old manufacturing technology obsolete.

Years of extensive research and development have been carried out by Ortech in conjunction with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation.  The result is a new and vastly improved reliable panel manufacturing process with machinery built by Ortech Industries in Australia.

With Ortech’s policy of always looking to the future and spending time and money on research and development, exciting, new, high performance building systems have been developed that fit well with the latest construction methods.  Many Land Mark Projects, throughout Australia and around the world have been supplied with Ortech roof, ceiling and wall systems.  From Synchrotrons, Arenas, Film Studios and Airports to low cost housing in developing countries.

Ortech continues with exciting new breakthroughs in the strawboard manufacturing process and innovative product applications throughout the building industry.

The company continues to grow and export with a reputation for delivering a high quality product on time to many remote locations around the world.

Our track record speaks for itself.