Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Rolling Stock, Suppliers and Manufacturing, Plant and Equipment

Molycop: steely commitment to rail industry


Molycop is well and truly an Australian institution, with the company’s origins harking back to 1917, when it began as the Commonwealth Steel Company (Comsteel).

Its pioneering work in grinding led to the development of the first heat-treated balls alloyed with molybdenum and copper, significantly improving wear performance.

In 2011, under the ownership of OneSteel, all of the company’s grinding media manufacturing facilities merged into a common Molycop organisation, creating the largest grinding media company in the world.

Today, after a slew of other acquisitions, Molycop is focused on the future, expanding on its current capacities to serve the increasing demand being generated by the various industries it serves.

With cutting-edge manufacturing plants in Newcastle, NSW, and Perth, WA, Molycop Australia produces and supplies grinding media; fasteners; bolts; rail wheels and axles; track wheels and gear blanks.

Committed to continuous improvement, the latest technology and sustainability, the company continues to shape the Australian mining, rail and manufacturing industries with forward-thinking solutions and lasting partnerships.

Molycop chief executive Jim Anderson tells Rail Express that a main reason for the company’s success is its commitment to research, development and innovation.

And for this to work, it needs the right people.

“Retaining and building on our innovative roots is only made possible by investing in R&D and in our people – whether it be upskilling or attracting the industry’s brightest minds,” Anderson said. 

“Our partnerships with some of the world’s leading universities continues to give us a competitive edge in developing and retaining people, ensuring we equip them for the future.

“The way we collaborate with our customers and stakeholders also drives this progress. 

“Our innovation strategies aim to provide fast, credible solutions to the social and fiscal challenges facing our customers.  

“Together we’re able to solve the big challenges our industries face, setting new benchmarks, evolving to market trends, and ultimately delivering improved outcomes for our customers.

“We’re greater than the sum of our parts.”

Anderson said the company continually feels the need to evolve and be at the forefront of the industries in which we operate. 

“To best drive our future strategy, we have established a new business portfolio under the strength and reputation of the Molycop brand to emphasise our commitment to sustainability and innovation, with the extensive range of products and services that now form part of the company,” he said.

“We developed the first Micro Alloy wheels over 25 years ago and these wheels are still the industry leader in wear and defect propagation performance,” he said. 


Heavy haul rail wheels and axles

Molycop manufactures the Comsteel range of forged and rolled railway wheels to international standards for all classes of rolling stock. 

“Our railway wheels have been precisely engineered to meet and exceed all performance expectations,” Anderson said.

“We provide quality heavy haul wheels that meet the exacting requirements of the Australian heavy haul rail industry. We understand what is takes to meet the needs of demanding heavy haul applications. 

“We’ve been developing and innovating new products to satisfy the needs of the Australian rail and heavy haul industry since 1918. 

“We’ve also been instrumental in the development of the world’s heaviest railways, including creating wheel solutions capable of achieving 40+ tonne axle loads. We continue to invest in research and development to meet the future demands of the sector.”

Molycop’s railway axles meet required performance specifications for freight, heavy haul, passenger and locomotive applications.

Passenger car wheels

Molycop manufactures forged and rolled railway wheels to international standards for all passenger wheel configurations. 

“We rely on advanced in-house manufacturing capabilities to produce wheels of varying shapes and in sizes ranging from 650mm to 1250mm in diameter,” Anderson said.

“A modern CAD/CAM Q-Form system links design flexibility to manufacturing by generating tooling for forging and rolling and machining programs for the CNC wheel machining centres.” 


Molycop’s dedication to innovation extends to its global process optimisation and digital technology centre in Perth; and Molycop 360, an integrated logistics and waste management business, based in Cootamundra, NSW.

It recently restructured its Waratah operations, placing the steelmaking division of its Waratah plant into “care and maintenance”.

“We will continue to manufacture grinding media, rail wheels and other specialised steel products at Waratah,” Anderson said. 

“We will also expand investment in our core consumables product lines, as well as the Molycop 360 and Molycop Process Optimisation businesses.”

The Molycop 360 business captures waste streams such as used grinding media, conveyor belts, and mining tyres to make new products. 

The Process Optimisation product is a suite of services that can be tailored to increase productivity, reduce overall cost and improve sustainability outcomes of operations. 

It involves real-time and point-in-time data capture and visualisation, sophisticated advanced control systems and a range of consulting services.