SouthMACH Manufacturing and Electronics Exhibition

28 - 29 May 2025

Wednesday 28th 9am-6pm
Thursday 29th 9am-4pm

Wolfbrook Arena Christchurch

Exhibitor Enquiry







Christchurch NZ
NZ Manufacturer
University of Canterbury
Callaghan Innovation
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
Canterbury Employers Chamber o
Canterbury Tech
Christchurch NZ
NZ Manufacturer
University of Canterbury
Callaghan Innovation
Maintenance Engineering Societ
Engineering News
Canterbury Employers Chamber o
Canterbury Tech

Registration open for Maintenance Engineering Conference

The 2024 Maintenance Engineering Conference will be held October 8-10 at Fraser High School Hamilton, making it the 20th annual conference.

“We aim to provide the engineering community with the latest technological advancements, manufacturing capabilities and tools, and vital insights from NZ and global case studies,” says organisers.

Early bird discounts are available up to the August 1.

For more information visit:

Donovan Group: Benefitting from a digital technology investment for the past 10 years

Whangarei-based Donovan Group was established by Graham Donovan in the late 1960s with a focus on industrial electrical automation as well as the manufacturing of meter boxes, distribution boards and switchboards.

The business has been operating continuously since 1946, and today designs and manufactures steel framed commercial sheds. 

Coresteel is the company’s brand of commercial sheds distributed to network licenced construction firms throughout New Zealand.

Over the last 14 years Donovan Group has grown production and revenue substantially, year on year.

“Our aim has always been to create a range of technologies, methods and products which positively change how we have conceived of building for centuries,” says Kyle Donovan, Donovan Group director.

Part of the company’s success has been keeping a finger on the pulse of equipment and processes, and ten years ago Donovan Group invested in digital technology of computers on the workshop floor and subscription-based Empower ‘Workshop Productivity & Scheduling’ software.

“Prior to 2014 Donovan’s used to be the typical engineering shop, not focused on times taken on jobs and not focused on ensuring workshop staff meet their times on each job. We did use manual time sheets our workshop staff recorded the job they recall they worked on and times they best recalled and they guessed they worked during the day. Manual time sheets gave us information that was substantially inaccurate, a day late and times on jobs at total job level only, which did not highlight where our issues were,” says Donovan.
Back then, when the company ‘back costed’ labour times and labour cost on their jobs, there was substantial variations between actual labour times and budgeted labour times on those same jobs. 
“Using PCs for the workshop floor our workshop staff access their job list and they see their budgeted time when they start each job and they see their actual time when they finish each job, so they are aware, engaged and manage their own times and own productivity. Our management team now have accurate job times in real time and down to job and task level and down to individual workshop staff level.

Within four months of using this digital technology on the workshop floor management witnessed substantial improvement in key metrics: the entire nightshift was dropped and Donovan Group was able to maintain the same level of production; all forms of time that workshop staff lost in working hours during the day was been practically eliminated; lead time on jobs being completed for clients had dropped from 15 days average to seven days average, which was a massive improvement in customer service and labour time on jobs therefore labour cost on jobs reduced by estimated 30%.

“Empower Software has been a key component to our digital transformation strategy and continues to serve us well.”

Which matters more – excellence or impact?

When are engineers going to lift their game?

By Craig Carlyle, certified machinery safety expert (TÜV Nord), HasTrak

Here we go again, another year and another engineer killed at work through the complacency of the workplace. This time it was an apprentice, 23-year-old Josh Masters fixing the hydraulics on a log loader in the Balmoral Forest in North Canterbury.

The verbal instruction on the task were completely inadequate, killing Mr Masters when the boom collapsed. The court proceedings have just been released, and they do not make good reading. This young man should be alive today and getting on with life. It is shocking and of course devastating when it happens, for everyone, the victim, their family, workmates, the community.

If we were learning from it and making our workplaces safer, there may be some cold comfort. But on the evidence from the Courts and our observations throughout industry, we have not learnt a single thing. We have conducted a significant number of machine safety audits over a wide range of businesses right across New Zealand, and one of our key audit questions concerns formalised safe work instructions for reasonably predictable maintenance activities. While all engineers will happily engage about the physical safety precautions, making a leap to formalising the same seems to escape them. To date we have logged a 100% record – of failure.

I don’t know how I could make the message clearer. Other than, forget about your prequals, JSA’s and flagpole saluting approach. Look closely at the prosecution notes openly available from WorkSafe. If you acknowledge that in the life cycle of your machine you will perform a maintenance task that could go devastatingly wrong, then do something to bundle the information that will keep that worker alive into your maintenance planning.

After all, no-one wins when someone dies at work. Its’ not even that you could argue that the tools are not available. Computerised maintenance management systems are readily available and packaging work instructions and documents into a preventative maintenance plan is not a stretch for a competent maintenance planner. Our advice is to start small, taking learnings from your latest job, one job at a time. It’s a simple question for your tradesmen; what advice would they give to the next person to keep them alive?

WorkSafe says urgent action is needed by the trades to take better care of apprentices after the second court sentencing this year for a trainee killed on the job.

Unfortunately, it is all workers that need the same protection as evidenced by WorkSafe’s latest advice. Under the heading “Unsafe machinery costs digits and dollars”, WorkSafe highlighted three recent manufacturing sector cases where there was a failure to follow basic machine safety standards. One worker had two fingers amputated and a third degloved in a punch and shear machine.

Another worker had three fingers partially amputated while using a punch and forming press. In sentencing, Judge Lisa Tremewan referred to “an unintended complacency” and that “it is critical that robust practices are employed by those within the relevant industries”.

And a third worker was cleaning a machine when it amputated two fingers and degloved a third. The machine’s on/off switch had been knocked into operation because the interlock wasn’t functioning.

“If you are unsure whether your safeguarding is up to scratch, engage a qualified expert as soon as possible,” says WorkSafe’s Mark Donaghue. “Workers should not be suffering harm like this in 2024, and businesses have no excuse. WorkSafe is notified of machine guarding incidents from across the country every week and is regularly prohibiting dangerous machinery.”

Workplaces have been required to safeguard machinery since the Machinery Act 1950 took effect. But more than 70 years later, workplaces still aren’t getting it right, with too many workers in New Zealand being injured and killed from unsafe machinery.

Craig Carlyle is director at Maintenance Transformations. His expertise lies in the practical application of maintenance and health and safety management systems in the workplace. He is also a life member of the Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ.

VISIT STAND 1040: Kaeser launches next gen desiccant dryers

Kaeser Compressors NZ has announced the launch of its latest generation of heatless regenerative desiccant dryers which can lower the pressure dew point of the compressed air to -70oC.

“Ideal for sensitive applications such as those found in the food and beverage industry, the intelligent new i.DC series delivers a reliable supply of extremely dry compressed air. Considerable energy savings can be realised with these new models, thanks to the inclusion of the new Eco Control 3 controller – featuring an innovative, trend-detecting pressure dew point control,” says Kaeser.

With flow rates from 1.60 to 155.5 m3/min, the latest generation of Kaeser’s i.DC series heatless regeneration desiccant dryers, can lower the pressure dew point (PDP) of the compressed air to -70oC. This presents the ideal solution for sensitive applications that require extremely dry air, such as those found in the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and electronics industries.

At the same time the i.DC series desiccant dryers deliver dependable frost protection for control valves and lines.

Within a rugged and compact design lies “premium quality materials and components, which ensure the i.DC series of desiccant dryers from Kaeser deliver maximum compressed air availability and reliability”. This includes the use of long-lasting desiccant which ensures outstanding pressure stability and resistance to liquid water. This keeps pressure dew points reliably low, even under demanding operating conditions.

VISIT STAND 3021: Get ahead of the pack and become a qualified thermographer

Thermal imaging cameras have become a ‘must-have tool’ for electrical and insurance reporting applications.

“Infrared thermography helps you find anomalies before change can occur, therefore minimising risk and preventing costly production downtime for your customers. Not to mention, having a qualified thermographer on site adds value to your business,” says Tom Aldridge, electrical and instrumentational business unit manager at Eurotec Limited.

Eurotec, now a member of Carel Group, is “your one-stop shop for thermal imaging products and services,” says Aldridge.

The company supplies a variety of high-quality, non-contact temperature measurement equipment from European suppliers including portable handheld imagers from Testo, through to infrared thermometers, pyrometers, and fixed in-line cameras and software.
But what some don’t know is that Eurotec offers thermography certification workshops and is further able to provide after-sales service including validation of all thermal imagers.

“An increasingly popular area of application for thermography has been insurance reporting. Insurance companies have embraced the technology in New Zealand and now call on all industrial companies to have a thermal report performed at least once per year. It is a great opportunity for electrical contractors to gain a qualification and increase their business potential,” says Aldridge, adding that you need a camera with at least 320 x 240 resolution and manual focus; the Testo 883 is a perfect example.
(SUB)How can I become a qualified thermographer?

Several times a year, Eurotec provides a five-day workshop through which Category 1 thermography certification can be attained. This year it will be held August 19-23 in Auckland.

“The course teaches you how to make use of all camera features and how to make use of all camera features and functions, regardless of make/model, and increases your knowledge to be able to meet further challenges of thermography,” says Aldridge.
He explains that the course is ideal for electricians, insurance reporters, building inspectors, industrial maintenance inspectors, and more.

“The team at Eurotec is highly qualified and experienced in thermography with all electrical and instrumentation team members being Category 1 qualified thermographers.

For more information visit, email, or call 09 526 7557.

Unveiling innovation and collaboration at EMEX 2024

It’s official – EMEX is jam-packed and sold out and ready to ‘welcome thousands of attendees’

Right now the Xpo Exhibitions team is busy with final preparations for New Zealand’s premier biennial manufacturing and engineering technology exhibition, explains Aad van der Poel, EMEX 2024 sales and event manager.

“We are all excited to welcome thousands of attendees in just a few weeks’ time when the doors will open on to what promises to be the largest event the industry has ever seen,” says van der Poel. The event is free to industry professionals.

Filled to capacity, the event draws together more than 210 local and international exhibiting suppliers, presenting the latest trends and cutting-edge solutions essential for your business success. Taking place at the Auckland Showgrounds from May 28-30, EMEX will span across four halls including over 10,000 square metres of prime exhibition space, presenting a “showcase of innovation and special features not seen in decades”.

Trade events like EMEX continue to be a vital sourcing and networking platform. “As it has done so for over 40 years, it demonstrates there is no compromise for the power of being face-to-face with your customers, colleagues and industry peers,” says van der Poel.

Held only every two years, the 2024 edition of this industry-specific event is set to excite as the best minds and the leading suppliers from across the industry converge for three days only.

EMEX isn’t just about exhibition stands; it’s an immersive experience, says van der Poel. Visitors will find the largest offering of resources in terms of business support and professional development, tools and education to steer their companies in the right direction for this ever-changing industry landscape.
“With so much on display, attendees will be spoilt for choice, so plan your time well ensuring you take the time to see many of the new and returning onsite special features.”

Industry speaker series and workshops: Expand your knowledge

Knowledge is power, and EMEX will deliver it in abundance says van der Poel.
“An extensive speaker series covers the hottest topics including workshops on smart manufacturing, the ‘Digital Manufacturing Challenge’ and Industry 4.0 mobile demo and ‘Smart Factory Showcase’ – these sessions are a goldmine for anyone hungry to expand their knowledge.”

In addition, following its successful inaugural edition at last year’s SouthMach, EMEX 2024 will be host to the Manufacturing Industry Conference initiated by Make NZ, The University of Auckland and EMA.

Digital Manufacturing Challenge: Unlock your potential

Discover first-hand the potential Industry 4.0 solutions can have on your business. This challenge will help you understand how different technologies can add value in your own manufacturing environment, and what typical returns on investment can be expected.

Deep Tech Centre: Discover the latest tech: Research intensive, hard-won innovations and discoveries can all be seen here. This is a destination where science and engineering research interact allowing attendees to get up close to the very latest industry tech.

Vocational Education and Training Hub: Your pathway to success
Vocational education and training (VET) prepares people for work and develops skills to remain employable and respond to the needs of the economy.
“Meet with VET providers at EMEX to discuss how they can alleviate recurring demands for skilled personnel.

“This is just a snippet of all that’s on offer, so spread the word to all your colleagues and join us to experience and to celebrate New Zealand’s largest and greatest manufacturing and engineering technology exhibition – you won’t be disappointed.

“A big thank you for all the incredible support from our industry partners, who’s valuable contributions help drive relevance and diversity in content across the wider event.”

For more information and to register visit


New Zealand’s aeronautical sector is set for a multi-million dollar export boost following the signing of an agreement to supply the Royal Thai Airforce.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Thai Aviation Industries Co, Ltd (TAI), a maintenance, repair, and operations organisation (MRO) in Thailand and, NZAero, New Zealand’s only commercial aircraft manufacturer, will provide for the exclusive supply of parts as well as collaborating to expand TAI’s MRO capability for the service and repair of Government aircraft in Thailand.

Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, said: “New Zealand has a serious ambition to lift our relationships with this region in ways that deliver real benefits and that advance our shared security and economic interests. The MOU signed by NZAero in Thailand is a great outcome on all fronts and I would like to congratulate NZAero on its success in South East Asia.”

Stephen Burrows, CEO of NZAero, says Thailand’s Government has launched plans to create a world-class aviation hub for the Asia-Pacific region. He says Thailand has the second-largest economy in ASEAN and an annual defence budget of over $10 billion.
“The new multi-year agreement signed between Thai Aviation Industries Co, Ltd and NZAero is set to triple the value of parts and maintenance exports to that market and help strengthen our relationship so that as their existing fleets are phased out, our new utility aircraft are seen as a viable replacement.

“The deal will see NZAero supply a range of over 800 parts for Thailand’s CT4 Airtrainer fleet, for use in military training operations. “Other Kiwi aviation repair firms will also benefit from regular maintenance contracts to overhaul engines. A single-engine could cost up to $100,000 to overhaul and Thailand has two dozen of these aircraft in use,” he says.

Burrows says while NZ has a 50-year history as an aviation supplier to Thailand – with their air force having purchased 72 New Zealand-made aircraft and millions of dollars of parts, this is the first time an exclusive parts and service agreement has been formalised in this way.

He says the opportunity to grow the existing supply relationship between New Zealand and Thailand will represent a multi-million dollar boost to the sector’s export earnings and could see the creation of dozens more jobs and significant expansion of the local industry.

“Thailand’s investment in their aviation industry is expected to be significant over the short term. The country is committed to defence force modernisation and allocates around $1.8 billion to its air force each year – presenting a significant opportunity for New Zealand to expand its share of a rapidly growing market.

“In addition, the Thai government wants its commercial aviation sector to become a key regional hub within the next five years and has ambitious plans to transform its major airports in Bangkok and Phuket. We anticipate other opportunities for New Zealand to support this aspiration as their industry grows,” he says.

Burrows says defence spending in Southeast Asia is expected to rise by billions of dollars in the coming years and New Zealand-designed aeronautical technology has a growing role to play in supporting the military-led humanitarian needs of its regional partners – as well as helping to address the impact of climate change.

“In countries like Thailand where the heat index can reach as high as 54°C, precipitation is becoming less frequent and droughts are more prevalent and intense, air quality and climate change are the nation’s leading environmental concerns.
“At the start of every year Thailand’s Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation initiates a cloud-seeding programme to stimulate artificial rain and dampen down fine particulates in the air caused by vehicle emissions and agricultural practices, as well as mitigating dry weather conditions in the main crop-growing areas.

“This operation utilises a fleet of 30 rainmaking aircraft to ease the impact of climate change on the country’s farming sector and prevent hailstorms and forest fires in some regions of the country.

“We have recently launched our new SuperPac XSTOL (extremely short take-off and landing) aircraft. With a 41% greater climb performance and 10% faster cruise speed than its predecessor, this model is specifically designed for high altitudes in hot and humid climates – allowing them to fly a 2,000kg payload over mountains at 4,000m, without impacting fuel efficiency.

“We would be able to migrate them from their current labour-intensive process where dry ice/salt are manually fed from sacks through a hole in an aircraft, to our new model which holds material in a dust-free hopper that can be released electronically using GPS or using pilot controls,” he says.

Burrows says the SuperPac provides an off-the-shelf model that can be rapidly reconfigured for humanitarian and defence roles including medivac, border patrol, aerial photography, Intelligence Search and Rescue, skydive deployment, rainmaking, pollution control, firefighting as well as passenger/freight, agricultural operations and geophysical survey.

“They could reduce their fleet size by about 50% with each SuperPac being capable of delivering twice the payload of their current aircraft and convert the aircraft from rain making to pollution control or even firefighting – within half an hour.

“We are also looking at customising rainmaking technology for this market using an aircraft-mounted flare able to be deployed from the back of the plane into the atmosphere, during droughts or periods of intense air pollution,” he says.
Burrows says they will also look to meet with defence force decision-makers and private aviation operators in Singapore and the Philippines.

“The Philippines is set to increase their annual defence budget by over 50% to modernise their military in the next five years, similarly Singapore’s increase in defence spending in the coming year will be highest in over a quarter of a century.
“The mission’s timing to these countries is well aligned with New Zealand export objectives and provides a tangible opportunity to grow our aeronautical manufacturing capacity,” he says.



Imagine being able to build an entire dialysis machine using nothing more than a 3D printer.

This could not only reduce costs and eliminate manufacturing waste, but since this machine could be produced outside a factory, people with limited resources or those who live in remote areas may be able to access this medical device more easily.

While multiple hurdles must be overcome to develop electronic devices that are entirely 3D printed, a team at MIT has taken an important step in this direction by demonstrating fully 3D-printed, three-dimensional solenoids.

Solenoids, electromagnets formed by a coil of wire wrapped around a magnetic core, are a fundamental building block of many electronics, from dialysis machines and respirators to washing machines and dishwashers.

The researchers modified a multi-material 3D printer so it could print compact, magnetic-cored solenoids in one step. This eliminates defects that might be introduced during post-assembly processes.

This customised printer, which could utilise higher-performing materials than typical commercial printers, enabled the researchers to produce solenoids that could withstand twice as much electric current and generate a magnetic field that was three times larger than other 3D-printed devices.

In addition to making electronics cheaper on Earth, this printing hardware could be particularly useful in space exploration. For example, instead of shipping replacement electronic parts to a base on Mars, which could take years and cost millions of dollars, one could send a signal containing files for the 3D printer, says Luis Fernando Velásquez-García, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL).

“There is no reason to make capable hardware in only a few centres of manufacturing when the need is global. Instead of trying to ship hardware all over the world, can we empower people in distant places to make it themselves? Additive manufacturing can play a tremendous role in terms of democratizing these technologies,” adds Velásquez-García,

MIT researchers modified a multi-material 3D printer so it could produce three-dimensional solenoids in one step by layering ultrathin coils of three different materials. It prints a US quarter-sized solenoid as a spiral by layering material around the soft magnetic core, with thicker conductive layers separated by thin insulating layers. IMAGE: Courtesy of researchers.



Fire and gas mapping (FGM) is used to improve safety and reduce the effects of flammable gas releases, toxic gas releases and fire hazards found at major hazard facilities.

If you manage or work at locations with fire and gas hazards, fire and gas mapping can be used to accurately design an effective fire and gas detection system to mitigate the specific hazards found at the facility.

Equinox Automation is a specialist instrumentation and control engineering consultancy offering a range of engineering services. The company has experienced engineers that have delivered FGM studies across a broad range of New Zealand industries including offshore facilities, oil and gas production, hydrogen production and storage, process industry, geothermal binary power plants, compressor stations, and industrial ammonia refrigeration plants.

“An effective fire and gas system (FGS) is a final barrier to reducing harm when all other barriers have failed,” says Hardie McLaren, founder/senior engineer at Equinox Automation.

McLaren says that New Plymouth-based Equinox Automation is expert in process industry fire and gas systems and detection technologies.

The main purpose of an FGS found in industrial plants is to detect a hazard early and to reduce the effects of a hazard before it escalates. To achieve this, a FGS should have these primary functions built into the system: detecting and warning people of hazards, activating automatic shutdowns and initiating emergency operating procedures.

“FGM is an engineering process that can be used in the design phase of a project, or as a method to evaluate existing systems. This process involves a range of engineering tasks,” says McLaren.

These could include:

• Reviewing of site fire and gas hazard risks.

• Hazard screening – gas dispersion modelling, fire modelling.

• Fire and gas risk assessments.

• Selecting detector coverage targets to reduce facility hazard risks.

• Developing coverage maps with specialist 3D software.

• Layout optimisation to ensure no blind spots and lowest quantity of detectors.

• Designing coverage verification.

• Optimised gas detector positioning with CFD modeling.

• Developing site detector layout drawings.

• Documenting in a FGM study report with key activities, results, and recommendations.

Historically, fire and gas detection layouts were determined using rule of thumb methods, or by simply drawing circles on a layout drawing. Even though these methods may have reduced engineering costs upfront, they could not provide assurance that the hazard risks had been correctly quantified and mitigated within the design. Something common with these design methods, actual real gas releases are not detected due to design errors in detector quantities and placement.

“With a small investment, using the latest fire and gas mapping techniques will provide assurance that a fire and gas system is designed correctly to detect and mitigate specific fire and gas hazard risks found at a facility.”

According to McLaren, another benefit of a correctly designed FGS, if following IEC Standard IEC-61511 Functional safety – Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector, the FGS can be used as a risk reduction credit within LOPA risk assessments.

“So, while improving process plant safety, an effective FGS will significantly reduce project costs related to functional safety risk reduction achieved with safety instrumented systems (SIS).

Lead process safety engineer of one local energy utility business was thankful the team at Equinox Automation was on hand to assist: “Their expertise and recommendations will make a significant difference at our facility, and we are grateful for their support”.

McLaren adds that Equinox Automation is committed to helping industries improve workplace safety with “safer and more effective fire and gas system designs to help protect people, assets, and the environment from harm caused by fire and gas hazards”.

For more information phone 0800 4 EQUINOX or visit


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