FCT Flames, a burner combustion business of Olympic proportions

Adelaide-based FCT Flames has ignited all but one of this century’s summer and winter Olympic Games cauldrons since Sydney in 2000.

In a dramatic climax to the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, more than 200 furled copper petals burst into flame. The world gasped in wonder and Con Manias breathed a sigh of relief.

As Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Adelaide-based FCT Flames, he has overseen production of the stadium flames for all but one of this century’s summer and winter Olympic Games. With an audience approaching one billion people, ignition has always been a tense moment.

“These jobs are very different from our industrial projects in that they don’t have to work for very long but they do have to work perfectly first time,” he says. “In other industries, you have time to fine-tune any problems but the equipment needs to work for decades.”

When Sydney won the right to host the 2000 Olympic Games, Manias spotted an opportunity to get involved. “We had been a burner combustion company for 16 years and, even though we hadn’t done this kind of work before, we were able to demonstrate that we knew what we were doing and what had to be done,” says Manias. “We presumed that Sydney would be a one-off but, when we received a lot of accolades, we decided to see if we could do it again. It proved to be a niche area perfectly suited to our skills.”

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