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The third generation of the Phillips family is proud to continue the legacy set by Grandfather Norman James Phillips.

 

In an ever-changing global market, a challenge has been set, and learning from experience and history, an exciting new range of state of the art instruments is now introduced.

 

The long history of the Phillips family involvement in the Veterinary dispensing marketplace is highlighted below.

1930 - 

The NJPhillips Brand was started by Norman James Phillips during the Great Economic Depression. Norman (born 1904 in Terranora NSW) left school early to help support his family and later served his apprenticeship at the Star Engineering Works in the Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction. He eventually left this firm and went on to become Factory Foreman at F.R.Pulfords Air Compressor manufacturing in Maroubra.

Originally business commenced manufacturing Grease Guns and Lifting Jacks. The first NJPhillips instrument, a Non-Automatic Sheep Drencher, was supplied to Dangar, Gedye and Malloch Ltd.

The early stages of the high standards of finish and accuracy, which were to become the hallmarks of NJPhillips, were evident and two major new clients were gained in Sayers Allport Pty Ltd and Elliots and Australian Drug Co. Pty Ltd.

The original version of the 5cc Automatic Vaccinator was launched into the market, called the Drench-or-Vax sold under the Sayers brand.

The first NJPhillips 1oz Automatic Sheep Drencher was launched branded Sayers.

1940 - 

Following the outbreak of World War II the NJPhillips firm was devoted entirely to munitions work and although Norman James Phillips enlisted in the RAAF, he was recalled in 1940, at the request of the Ministry of Munitions, to assume responsibility as Chief Supervising Sub-Contractor for the supply of Lewis Gun spare parts. Components for the De Havilland Tiger Moth training plane were also made and he was engaged in the Tooling design and manufacture of the Austen Sub-Machine Gun.

This period saw the initial attempt to incorporate plastic components into a sheep drencher with Sayers Beaconray Pistolet. Unfortunately, plastics technology at the time was insufficiently advanced and the cylinder, a bakelite type material, proved too brittle, particularly when exposed to carbontetrachloride, a commonly used fluke drench.

The range was growing with the 1oz and 2oz automatic sheep drenches; the Sayers range included the 1oz Non-Automatic Pistolet, a 2oz Drenchall Pistolet, the 5cc Automatic Vaccinator and a 5cc Automatic Poultry Doser.

1950 - 

The second-generation Phillips Family member joined the business with Norman John Phillips, eldest Son, commencing work with his father.

During this period the company undertook a major development project in providing the market with a completely new range of instruments to be sold, for the first time, under the 'NJPhillips' brand name.

This development introduced a design breakthrough with the introduction of the first Pre-Directed Oesophageal Tube Drencher, known as the Model ’53 Stomach Tube Attachment which was intended for fitting to the 2Oz Automatic Drencher. The patented instrument proved to be the most effective unit yet devised for administration of Phenothiazine, by this time the number 1 sheep drench of the period.

In 1953 Elder, Smith and Co Limited became the sole distributor for the NJPhillips Instruments in South and Western Australia and shared distribution with Sigma Co.Ltd in Victoria.

Export also commenced to New Zealand (Premier Products Ltd) and to South Africa (Milborrow and Co. Pty Ltd).

The Phen-Master Internal Drencher, a refined version of the 2oz Auto and Stomach Tube, was marketed by means of a series of public and trade demonstrations throughout Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. This method of administrating Phenothiazine virtually eliminated wool staining, a major cost to the industry. The novel valve system, which allowed free flow of the liquid through an open Port, was articulated by extension of the oesophageal tube. This was particularly advantages with PTZ as it was a large particle suspension, as opposed to a solution type drench. Production was strained with over 5000 units sold in one year.

The NJPhillips range was expanded and ncluded a 5cc Auto Vacc, 10cc Automatic Carbontetrachloride Drencher, 1oz Automatic Bluestone Drencher, 2oz Automatic Bluestone or PTZ Drencher and the Phen-Master in both 1oz and 2oz non-Automatic Drencher.

In the late 50’s, to overcome demand delays, capital investment was made in a series of Die-Casting dies and tools to improve and reduce machining of handles and levers. These had previously been sand cast.

Export markets expanded to include the United Kingdom (Alfred Cox Surgical) and various distributors in South America.

The NJPhillips facility was out growing the Darlington premises, so was moved to a new site in Mascot. Norman John Phillips was appointed Company Secretary and Manager of N.J.Phillips Pty Ltd.

The new Model ‘56 was launched after a remodel of the original 5ccAutomatic Vaccinator, incorporating a diecast aluminium body, and was released specifically for cattle vaccine use. The new 4oz was launched as a non-automatic.

1957 saw Norman’s second Son Ian Ross Phillips join the company in a Technical role. This year also saw an expansion in Machine Technology with Automatic Machinery including a BSA 68 and Herbert Auto Junior lathes installed to try and improve long lead times.

During this period, I.C.I Australia and William Cooper & Nephews Australia become sub-distributors for NJPhillips Instruments and negotiations were commenced with Cooper MacDougall & Robertson Ltd. Of the UK to produce a range on instruments for world-wide sales under the ‘Cooper’ brand.

1960 - 

Arrangements were concluded and NJPhillips started manufacture of a range of instruments for the Sunbeam Corporation. These were NJPhillips instruments coloured blue and labelled 'Sunbeam' and was the start of major customer distribution.

Merck, Sharp & Dohme (now Merial) released their incredibly effective new Benzimadazole anthelmintic, ‘Thibenzole’, onto the Australian market. This was the first of the ‘broad spectrum’ drenches and apart from being effective against a greater variety of intestinal worms than phenothiazine, it had the added advantages of a considerably lower dose rate and was non-staining.

A massive educational campaign was launched by Merial to convince farmers their product could provide benefits even at more than double the price of competitor’s drenches. This consequently resulted in higher demands for drenchers.

Manufacturing emphasis switched rapidly in Australia to concentrate on instruments suitable for ‘Thibenzole’ with the 1oz and 10oz Automatic Drench Masters. The success was immediate and at the first presentation in Melbourne in 1964, orders for 1000 units was booked in one afternoon.

The introduction of the Clark Poisoning Axe, for administration of Tordon, was introduced under licence. A special version of the model ’68 5ml vaccinator was developed for tree poisoning chemicals.

Serious competition for Merial commenced in late 1967 with the introduction of Jansen’s Levamisole, the first so-called 'clear' drenches. This product was licenced to a number of different companies world-wide and the first on the market in Australia was Coopers with Ripercol, a free-flowing water soluble broad spectrum anthelmintic which did not clog drench guns. A new instrument was quickly produced, specifically for Ripercol, and this attractively simple and reliable device, the Cooper Drencher, immediately established itself as a major force in the market.

With Merial, Cooper and ICI all vying for the market demand for instruments began to increase with Coopers realising if they provided the instruments free, then it was an inducement to sell more of their product.

A new range of instruments was produced for the Tasman Vaccine Laboratory Australia, and these were:

  • ​5ml Autovax.

  • 2ml Autovax B.

  • 20ml Auto Drencher that has become synonymous for quality, durability and longevity.

  • The NJPhillips Vis-A-Matic layter to become the Vax-Master was released.

  • The new remodelled 5ml vaccinator from the model ’56 became the model’68.

More sales to the USA were made.  Initial sales were through Lobel Chemical Corp and the Mid-West Woolgrowers Co-Op for Phen-Master Drenchers but when Cooper and Nephews commenced distribution under their own brand this market developed. The first two instruments released were the Cooper 2ml injector, fitted with a special tube pack and the 5ml Automatic Vaccinator model ’68, which was the first applicator for horse powders. Bayer Australia developed the product and NJPhillips produced the “Botkill” powder Gun.

A move was made from Mascot to Middleton Rd , Dee Why. The first Plastic Moulding machine was installed and new induction heaters in the Soldering section.

The staff level was now over 70 with sales of instruments having grown over 300% in 10 years.

 

1970 - 

The business of C.Victor Roberts, was purchased by NJPhillips. The acquisition served to reinforce NJPhillips as the dominant company in the instrument market.

The new Vax-Master was launched and the Pfizer Agrimatic 5ml Automatic Lever Action Vaccinator was developed and the Cattle Spray Race was marketed.

Considerable research and development was started to discover suitable rubber and plastic formulations resistant to the aggressive carriers used with Bayers cattle Lousicide, Tiguvon. The resulting 10ml plastic applicator, known and the Bayer Spot-On Gun, proved enormously popular with an opening order for 20,000 units being followed by a similar quantity before the first order was delivered.

This 10ml Bayer Spot-On now resides in the Australian Power-House Museum in Sydney as part of the Technology that changed and influence Australian agricultural life.

The Cooper ‘Trendsetter’ based on the popular 20cc Automatic , replaced the Comfi-Drencher and met with excellent market acceptance.

1974 was a watershed year with the death of Norman James Phillips. Whilst holidaying on the NSW north coast Norman suffered a heart attack and died suddenly.

The 10ml Duo-Matic was produced for the international May & Baker company as well as a 30ml Repeater Syringe under the NJPhillips brand.

A further revision of the 5ml Automatic Vaccinator was undertaken with the launch of the re-modelled applicator model ’74. This version incorporated a pressed brass body replacing the diecast aluminium body.

An extensively remodelled range of non-automatic drenches was introduced and Smith Kline & French Australia commissioned a 5ml Automatic Drencher for their new Benzimadozole type drench which was distributed initially through Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis).

Further research took place to find suitable materials resistant to Lypor and Warbex.  A synthetic rubber formulation provided the ultimate solution and proved of great benefit in later years when 'Pour-On' products dominated the market.

Conditions further improved towards the end of 1976 when American Cyanamid began a promotion for their injectable ‘Tramisole’, featuring a gold plated 20ml Injector/Drencher, with spectacular results.

The introduction of the 2ml vaccinator, known as the Gleptosil Injector, was developed for Fisons UK. Hoechst UK was added to the growing list of multi-national animal health firms purchasing NJPhillips equipment under their own brand names.

A simple Pellet Gun was designed for Tasman Vaccine NZ, the 45ml Wrabex applicator was released and the 120ml NJPhillips brand drencher was launched.

In 1978 the first comprehensive code numbering system for all components, assemblies and completed instruments was introduced.

The increasing trend towards plastic instruments that could be used as ‘giveaways’ prompted the company to acquire its major supplier of injection moulding dies and plastic components, H&N Products Pty Ltd.

1980 - 

The first Bottle Mount device was introduced for Schering USA in a 2ml Automatic Vaccinator Bottle Attachment which allowed the Vaccine bottle to be located directly on the device and not require any transfer tube. A new 15ml plastic for Smith Kline Australia as a sheep drencher was developed and launched.

Further Agricultural devices were introduced with a 10ml and 20ml customised for Dupont Australia. Additional moulding machines were purchased and the company recognised a shortage in skilled labour so the firm’s apprenticeship scheme and greater emphasis was placed on in-house training.

  • Two new disposable instruments were produced for ICI Tasman and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory CSL Australia.

  • New 30ml produced for Smith Kline.

  • New 20ml plastic developed for Burroughs Wellcome, who had taken over Cooper world-wide.

  • Merck, who had experienced problems producing their own plastic drencher, decided to cease this process and purchase all NJPhillips instruments instead. Although no longer the marketing force of the early ‘Thibenzole' days, Merck ranked as one of the most prestigious clients yet gained by the company.

​​

Measured external application of chemicals for lice control in sheep was pioneered by Wellcome Australia and a critical factor in the enormous success of this product was the parallel development of the 'clout' Backliner Applicator by NJPhillips.

The commencement of expansion into the USA market saw the appointment of William Felton & Co. Pty Limited with Eidson Associates of Minneapolis as distributors.

1981 was NJPhillips 50th year of trading, the original 3 employees had grown to more than 170 persons, and products were being exported to over 35 different countries.

  • Smith Kline commissioned a 5ml disposable vaccinator.

  • Robert Young of Scotland commissioned a 2ml disposable unit.

  • Proposals were submitted to ICI Tasman for a Scabby Mouth Applicator.

Expansion of the facility continued with a Toolroom increase and work started with the CSIRO to develop means of in-line pressure testing for all assembled instruments prior to packing.

1983 saw a further development program:

  • Merck 5ml Disposable Vaccinator

  • Syntex 15ml Automatic Plastic Drencher.

  • The 30ml 'One-Handa' Smith Kline Hook Drencher.

  • Young’s Cyperderm Applicator.

  • Syntex Outflank Applicator.

  • Hoechst 10ml Horse Doser.

  • A range of cheap disposable instruments for Eidson USA.

  • Speacal WARBEX applicator made for American Cyanamid.

​​

Further expansion within the business saw the Commencement of a Safety Committee to implement and monitor safety programs throughout the plant and separate 'methods' division was established within Production Development.

Although Syntex USA had introduced the ‘Concept’ of intra-ruminal injection to the market in the previous year, their US designed applicator had proved troublesome. NJPhillips developed a more user friendly instrument for Wellcome Australia, known as the Wellcome Rumen Injector, which allowed them to gain a major share of the cattle drench market. This lead both Syntex and Hoechst commissioning NJPhillips to design and manufacture similar rumen devices.

1985 saw the installation of the company’s first computers, with the US designed Qantel manufacturing system.

Bayer commissioned NJPhillips to design and produce the 37.5ml capacity instrument known as the Bayticol Deardliner. Burroughs Wellcome and ICI merged to announce the new company  Coopers Animal Health.

1986 saw the eldest Son of Norman John Phillips join the firm.  Matthew Tait Phillips joined after completing his apprenticeship in fitting and machining at Byrne Engineering. Matthew started in the Methods Department then moved through all areas of the organisation.

1986 saw a further development program:

  • Launch of the revolutionary “Ivermectin” by Merck saw many new applicators released.

  • New 50ml Repeater launched.

  • New Bolus Applicator designed for May & Baker NZ.

  • Squibb Plastic Pellet Applicator launched.

  • Elanco Metal Pellet Applicator launched.

  • Hoechst 5ml disposable vaccinator released.

  • Dose capsule moulding was undertaken for Coopers Animal Health Australia range.

​​

A new larger computer mainframe was installed, along with the companies first Fax Machine. Addition machinery added to the Auto Machine area and new Moulding machines. The trading business of 'North Shore Platers' was purchased along with land and buildings in Brookvale.

A move was on again, and following a failed consent from Warringah Shire Council, plans were made to construct a new facility in Somersby Industrial Estate near Gosford NSW.

More major customers were requesting branded products:

  • Virbac Australia - 20ml Drencher/Pour On applicator.

  • Hoechst Australia - 'Sectar' Pour On Applicator.

  • SmithKline Beecham Australia - 'Vanquish' Pour On Applicator.

  • Camco UK - 20ml 'Tactic' Topliner Applicator.

  • Elanco Australia - Bolus Applicator.

​​

Continued growth was a priority at the new Somersby facility with a comprehensive program of Apprentice programs, a pool of 8-10 apprentices were maintained at any one time. Considerable design time was expanded on numerous projects with completion of the Ag-Murf Gas Gun technology.

1990 - 

Continued growth in new applicators was maintained along with introduction of more customer branded products:

  • Bayer Australia - Insecticide Spray Applicator.

  • Pittman Moore Australia - Cattle Bolus Applicator.

  • SmithKline UK - 3ml Automatic Drencher.

 

And under the NJPhilips brand was launched:

  • “DutJet” Jetting Wand.

  • 1ml Visible Dose Automatic Vaccinator.

  • 2ml Automatic Vaccinator.

  • 25ml Disposable Drencher/Pour On.

  • Ag-Murf Multi Head Trunk Injection trolley unit with 5 heads.

 

The early 90’s proved a hard time for business, and NJPhillips was no different. In the face of a general world-wide recession, coupled with high interest rates at 20%, resulted in the company facing its worst financial crisis since the 1940’s.

Downsizing took place and staff levels dropped from 210 to 65. Along with the introduction of a 4 day working week, and on occasions 3 days. 

Things did improve and the business with Allflex USA Inc started with the initial requirements of instruments the largest single order received by the company to that date.

Further new products were also released:

  • Captec NZ - Bolus Gun.

  • Nulite Australia - Dental syringe for composite material used for fillings.

  • Rhone Poulenc - Deer Capsule Applicator.

  • Elanco Winged Capsule - Eli Lilly Australia.

  • Elanco Pellet Applicator Flexi - Eli Lilly Australia.

  • Pittman Moore Australia - 40ml Pour On Applicator.

  • MSD Agvet Switzerland - 10ml Disposable Vaccinator.

  • Bayer Australia - 30ml ZAP Gun.

  • Cyanamid NZ - 45ml Pour On Applicator.

  • CSL Australia - 1ml Disposable Vaccinator.

Shrink wrapping and  blister packing was introduced.

The death of the founder’s wife Mrs Muriel Phillips happened at the end of 1993.

Towards the middle of the 90’s saw the company embrace Total Quality Management techniques and through Government subsidies implemented many ongoing programs.  Peter R. Breed were retained as consultants and many company-wide problem solving teams worked hard to produce meaningful results.

This period also saw the most significant development and successful winning tender with our new 50ml Pour On Applicator for Merck, Sharp & Dohme USA.

Further new products were also released:

  • Hoechst UK - 9ml Plastic Drencher.

  • Pfizer UK - 10ml Plastic Disposable Injector.

  • Pittman Moore NZ - 8ml Easy Drencher.

  • CSL Australia - 2.5ml Disposable Vaccinator.

  • Ideal Instruments USA - 5ml Disposable Syringe.

  • Youngs Australia - 250ml Power Doser.

  • Ciba Geigy - 15 & 30ml 'Acatac' Applicators.

  • Southern Cross Biotech Australia - 1ml Powered Growth Hormone Injector 'Pig Stabber'.

  • Merck USA - 'Eqvalan' Horse Doser.

  • Allflex USA - 25ml Repeater Syringe.

  • Dupont Australia - 20ml Vydate Applicator.

  • Ayerst Vet Canada - 45ml Pour On Applicator.

 

In 1995 the firms first Enterprise Flexibility Agreement was ratified by the Industrial Relations Court, and was notable for the fact that it was one of only a handful in Australia, which had been negotiated completely between the employees and employers with no outside intervention.

In 1996 the company obtained ISO9001 accreditation, and further machinery was installed with an EDM machine in the Toolroom, and more moulding machines.

Further remodelling of the packaging took place around the Merial 50ml Ivomec applicator,  to coincide with the release of EPRINEX.

Further new products were also released:

  • Pfizer USA - 50ml 'Dectomax' Pour On Applicator.

  • Fort Dodge USA (Cyanamid) - 65ml 'Cydectin' Pour On Applicator.

  • Pfizer UK - 3ml Disposable Syringe.

  • Captec/Merial NZ - Bolus Applicator.

  • Bayer Australia - 37.5ml Bayticol Applicator.

  • Jurox Australia - Pellet Applicator.

  • CSL Australia - 2.5ml Fixed Dose Metal Syringe.

  • CSL Australia - Scabigard Applicator.

  • CSL Australia - BoarTaint  Injector.

  • Alpharma - BST Injector.

  • Merial USA - 12.5ml Syringe.

  • Novartis - 15ml Akatac Applicator.

  • KFC - Mayonnaise Applicator.

 

The company set up a separate business unit to establish a market in the Food Service Industry and such companies as KFC and Pizza Hut became customers, due to innovative products.

 

2000 – 

Failure to achieve ambitious budget targets, particularly for exclusive instruments, became increasingly persistent and corrective action to halt the resulting profit slide was required. Work commenced on a revised business plan with a strong emphasis on cost reductions for both manufactured and purchased parts as well as lower inventory levels.

Negotiations with major suppliers resulted in substantial savings on raw materials and voluntary redundancy scheme gained 17 acceptances and a more streamlined company began to emerge.

Pel Industries purchased the Agrisales business in New Zealand and distribution of the NJPhillips products was transferred to them. In South Africa, Swavet emerged as the major distributor following the Bayer purchase of Millborrow &Co. and their decision to drop instruments from the product range thereby bringing to a close an association which had first commenced in 1953.

Major business continued in Pour On instruments for the USA. The first Auto-Dose system was installed in a feed lot in Australia at Killara Feed Lot.

Merial continued to purchase the 'Ported Technology' applicator and this same technology continued to be used in the applicators that were supplied to Pepsico/KFC Chain. This technology was further refined as we achieved NSF USA approval for components and parts.

Further new products were also released:

  • Merial USA & FRANCE - 65ml & 80ml 'Ported' Pour On Applicator.

  • Virbac Australia - 20ml Drencher.

  • Virbac Australia - 65ml Pour On Applicator.

  • Merial USA - 50ml Repeater Syringe.

 

Agrisales, our main distributor in New Zealand, were taken over by TruTest and our products suffered. After some negotiations, we transferred all stock to Drench Gun Services who immediately began to regain much of the market lost and also provided high quality after sales service and support.

By 2002 we had installed our first Robot, which was designed to meet an increasing demand for Draw-Off caps for Pfizer USA.

In the mid 2000’s, the death of founder Norman Phillips second Son, Ian Phillips, brought about the change of ownership of N.J.Phillips Pty with the sale of the company from the Phillips family to Forlong and Massey (ISL), our New Zealand based competitor.

The synergy of the two companies and the appointment of Matthew Phillips as General Manager, saw continued success in the Animal Health and Delivery Systems market. This period from 2006 to 2012 saw steady growth over a wider platform of business models.

With Phillips and ISL working together new avenues opened for each range of instruments.

New devices included:

  • Spot On applicator.

  • Bottle mount 10ml spot on.

 

2015 – 

In 2015 the company changed hands again with the sale from Forlong and Maissey to the USA based Funds Management group Riverside Investments. Riverside Investments had purchased SIMCRO in 2013 and saw the accusation of the other major players in the Animal Health market as a strategy. This now meant that the three largest Animal Health companies in the world were all owned by a Fund Management Company in the USA.

By November 2015, with the new owners now in control, Matthew Phillips, the last blood-relative family member working in the company, found his position as General Manger untenable and left to pursue the Phillips Instruments Legacy anew.

2017 – 

In February 2017 Matthew Phillips, Rena Phillips and Shane Koopman launched Prodigy Instruments.

Their first customer was AIRR, Australian Independent Rural Retailers. The Launch saw an aggressive approach to selling in the Australian Market.

First range of Prodigy instruments:

  • 0.5ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 1ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 2ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 2.5ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 3ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 5ml Plastic Injector Syringe

  • 20ml Metal Drencher

  • 5ml Metal

  • 20ml Metal Forestry Applicator

  • 5ml Tree Injector

  • 25ml Repeater Syringe

  • 50ml Repeater Syringe

Prodigy has continued to grow worldwide with an emphasis on Quality and Customer Service.

We invite you to browse our website to see Prodigy Instruments latest products and technologies.