Manufacturing motor homes

A plenty of trades go into manufacturing 100% Aussie motor homes and campers and with Australia's aging population being more superannuated and adventurous than ever.

SkillsOne takes a look at the skills, expertise and trades required to build a great motor home! Australian company Suncamper manufactures motor-homes that can handle the Aussie climate, huge distances and corrugated 'highways'. Importantly, the motor-homes must be built for Australian conditions and travellers. The vehicles also need to be easy to drive, practical, built to last and consumers expect them to be beautifully finished if they are going to spend their days travelling the country inside.

Suncamper started in 1977 as a two-man operation that fitted pop-tops to vans, eventually expanding into manufacturing campervans and motor-homes.

Career options

Suncamper use all sorts of trades now to build a motor home because it is a unique combination of an automobile and a house. This is an interesting field for electricians, cabinet- makers, plumbers, carpenters, welders and more.

At Suncamper, employees are trained and focus on a specific area, without the mundane process of only fitting one part over and over again. Although in a specific role, each employee is able to appreciate how all the components in that area combine to become a finished product. That means be familiar with all of the processes and fittings and to see where improvements can be made for the overall outcome.

What's involved - skills excellence

Suncamper places special emphasis on the materials it uses and the techniques it adopts. This can be anything from the fully-welded steel frame with close support beams for the base, thick marine-ply for the  floor, fully-welded aluminium frames and thick insulated walls.This is what sets its expertise aside from manufacturers who may use sandwich board or riveted framework, slotted beams or tin and rubber rooves instead. It may seem simple but many manufacturers have thin walls, where windows need to have a decorative trim surrounding them just to be fitted.

A technological future

Suncamper's materials are sourced locally or come from Europe, America and parts of Asia. New technologies and materials are carefully considered and tested and the technical innovation which occurs constantly is giving careers in this field an interesting twist. It means re-thinking old fashioned ways and adopting new skills - such as fitting fresh and grey waste water tank to maximise water storage.

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VJ Michael Gumley