Ma­chine man­u­fac­turer makes strides

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

Kiwi soft­ware de­signer and ma­chine man­u­fac­turer He­lix Flight made it to the fi­nal­ist round of the HERA In­no­va­tor Award 2015 late last month, hard on the heels of a 500 per­cent sales growth year on year.

It was a proud mo­ment when staff saw the com­pany listed as one of the four fi­nal­ists in the In­no­va­tor of the Year cat­e­gory said Daniel Coats, di­rec­tor of He­lix Flight Man­u­fac­tur­ing Ma­chines Ltd. “He­lix Flight’s strate­gic al­liance with top man­u­fac­tur­ers around the world not only ben­e­fits our busi­ness but also helps raise a stronger New Zealand im­age around the world.”

This was not the only proud mo­ment for He­lix Flight, which ear­lier this year won sup­port with an R&D grant from Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion. The suc­cess of pre­vi­ous projects and rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vel­op­ments for the sec­tional he­lix-form­ing com­pany has been made pos­si­ble by be­ing able to lever­age the Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion fund­ing, al­low­ing He­lix to gain scale as well as al­low­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ous fully-in­ter­ac­tive pro­cesses, rather than a piece meal ap­proach.

The R&D fund­ing as­sis­tance has also al­lowed a con­tin­ued ramp-up of commercialisation ac­tiv­i­ties. This fol­lows on from its suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment of soft­ware and ma­chines for pro­duc­ing per­fect he­lices – of­ten called f light­ing – for tur­bines, an­chor­ing, augers, ag­i­ta­tors, piles and con­vey­ors. Coats says the fund­ing was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the com­pany, as it re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant break­through in new mar­kets by fund­ing the de­sign of a wear plate-ca­pa­ble ma­chine that can form sec­tional he­lices straight from such ma­te­ri­als as Har­dox and Bisal­loy.

“This de­vel­op­ment pro­ject and the recog­ni­tion by Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion, is a solid endorsement that He­lix Flight has in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy,” says Coats. The com­pany is de­vel­op­ing a pro­to­type for a third-gen­er­a­tion, in­ten­sive wear plate-ca­pa­ble ma­chine for ma­te­ri­alde­pen­dent fac­to­ries, and a larger high-ca­pac­ity ma­chine for cus­tom equip­ment built for the largest ma­chines in the world. Both were iden­ti­fied as new cus­tomer re­quire­ments from ear­lier re­search.

“Ev­i­dence-to-date shows our new ma­chines are durable, safer and en­able im­proved qual­ity and per­for­mance of end prod­ucts. Our clients see the sav­ings in im­proved per­for­mance of end prod­ucts and this makes our ma­chines very af­ford­able. This fund­ing will en­able us to con­tinue on with R&D while get­ting on with our cur­rent commercialisation and ex­port growth.”

He said sto­ries like this show what mod­ern New Zealand is all about – in­ven­tion of new tech­nol­ogy and its con­tri­bu­tion to the world of en­gi­neer­ing.

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