DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS - Steve Hart ed­i­tor@demm.co.nz

Is New Zealand about to be­come a se­ri­ous player for launch­ing satel­lites into space? It cer­tainly looks that way when you read about Rocket Lab, an Amer­i­can company with of­fices in Auck­land that has cre­ated a light-weight rocket.

The firm, fea­tured on page 13, has built a world-first car­bon­com­pos­ite rocket they call Elec­tron. The company reck­ons it can put a satel­lite into or­bit around the Earth for US$5m – sav­ing com­pa­nies who need such things a mas­sive US$128m.

Right now, Rocket Lab is look­ing for a New Zealand lo­ca­tion for a launch pad (and is open to sug­ges­tions).

Cor­ro­sion is a time­less en­emy and keep­ing on top of it is a full time job for Ron Berry (page 22). Much of the firm’s work­load of late has been in the Taranaki re­gion, and on off­shore oil & gas struc­tures. He says the key to any suc­cess­ful project has to be the ini­tial in­spec­tion and prep work.

He says that if some­one is spend­ing a mil­lion dol­lars on a pro­tec­tive coat­ings project with­out any in­spec­tion then there are lots of things that can go hor­ri­bly wrong.

Robots may soon be­come a more fami­lar sight in smaller firms as the mak­ers of th­ese ma­chines make a con­certed ef­fort to en­ter this, as yet, un­tapped mar­ket.

The new gen­er­a­tion of ro­botic arms of­fer tech­nol­ogy that pro­vides ease of use, built-in safety fea­tures, and flex­i­bil­ity as key char­ac­ter­is­tics.

It seems that a sin­gle ro­bot can now be de­ployed for mul­ti­ple uses – re­duc­ing labour costs – and hu­man-ma­chine col­lab­o­ra­tive robots can be used with­out safety guard­ing. The times, they are a-changin’...

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