SouthMach Manufacturing and Electronics Exhibition
24 - 25 May 2017
Wednesday 24th 9am-6pm
Thursday 25th 9am-4pm
Horncastle Arena Christchurch
NEW GANTRY MEANS STREET(S) AHEAD OF THE TAUPO COMPETITION
Taupo Manufacturing Engineers (TME) is reaching new heights, there is no doubt about that. The business has new premises, is upgrading its website and marketing and now thanks to a new Street gantry crane can give its customers even more than before.
‘If it’s made from metal, we can make it’ is a statement the company holds strong to and is proud of. “We don’t turn people away, we will find a solution to anyone’s problem,” says owner Grant Perry.
The business began in 2004 and Mr Perry did on average 115 hours a week to get the business rolling and all he had was a set of hand tools from his apprenticeship days.
Engineering from 16 years of age as a fitter and turner, he couldn’t have envisaged the 980 square metre workshop the business now operates from on Mahoe Street.
The inside is kitted out with all the usual engineering gear that customers demand and has six staff operating the workshop supported by a management team of three, and now pride of place among it all is a brand new ZX64 Street gantry crane.
It’s the first time Mr Perry has worked in a place that has a gantry, and now he wonders how he ever did without one.
“We’ve always just managed with forklifts and chain blocks and just the shear hassle factor with these… it’s already exceeded my expectations of time saving, it’s just massive,” he says.
“In the old workshop, when the steel truck came in there would be four guys for a good 40 minutes not only getting steel off the truck but then having to get it into the workshop. So, we’ve designed this workshop with a drive through work bay and the gantry can pick up the load with one man for 10 minutes operating it, pick it up put it right by the saw and she’s ready to be cut. Now my staff can get on with other jobs and that means the whole business works a lot more efficiently.”
The gantry was super easy to install. “We had it off the truck and on the railings within about 30 minutes. All ready to be wired up.”
Ease of material handling is one thing, but safety plays a huge part too. “It’s way safer than using a forklift.”
Mr Perry considered going to China to look at cranes up there but after a quick call to a colleague in Australia who had already gone down that road he quickly changed his mind.
“They had the hassle of getting all the design recertified to Australian crane standards and all the electrics weren’t up to Australian electrical standards.” There was a lot of re-work and then if something did go wrong parts would be a nightmare so we went off that idea fast,” says Mr Perry. ‘Local’ made a difference because the after sales service needed to be there.
Freight also played a part, unable to fit in a 40-foot container.
He got two other quotes before going with Street… all within “Cooey,” and “I just thought we can’t go wrong”.
The 3.2 tonne heavy-duty 17 metre span crane is ideal for general workshop use providing a huge array of versatility and does everything down to stairway bannisters – the ideal gantry to play a major role in TME’s expansion plans.
Radio control provides that safety factor that more and more engineering businesses need to factor in with a greater emphasis as well as ease of use, and Mr Perry opted for wire-rope for the heaviest duty possible for the workshop. It’s been specced with travel limits in both directions and the ZX64 hoist’s slack resistant wire rope guide was a big bonus.
“The trolley on the hoist is fully rollered with no rubbing surfaces and has a counter-weightless design which extends the life of the hoist wheels. No gearing is exposed, making it ideal for the often dusty workshop environment, all internal and lubricated in an oil bath meaning we shouldn’t have to look at new drive pinions in 10-15 years’ time.”
Who knows how high this business will get to by then, but one thing is for sure it’s made some massive steps.
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TAX – THE THREE LETTER WORD THAT’S WORSE THAN A FOUR LETTER ONE
Death and taxes… the only certainties in life. You can thank Benjamin F for that pearl of wisdom.
Duty, levy, tariff… however it is described, seeing a section of your income carved off your weekly pay is often tough to take for some and can be the final straw come election time for others, particularly when the public sees two candidates for PM that aren’t really much chop. One issue can be a dominant differential.
Tax cut promises will come because, much like what we’ve seen in America with Trumpmania, NZ has a swag of people that are struggling and don’t answer polls… often they don’t even have a phone. Middle America has some resemblance in Middle Earth. However even precious tax cut offerings are unlikely to change a government.
But I’ve always believed taxes are a problem solver. We, as a society, need something then there’s a tax to pay for it.
And when you think about it topically and follow mainstream media closely, the first raft of articles that hit the presses are all about a problem, the ‘what’, then quickly comes the ‘why’ it’s occurred and finally, often in a last ditch to get the most exposure from the story, comes the more fleeting ‘how’ to fix it. Ninety percent of Kiwis are googling cute cats, though, by this stage.
A perfect example of this in the engineering industry is the huge number of immigrants coming into New Zealand. Everyone has been talking about it for years… and finally this over-PC country of ours has come to a realisation that you aren’t in fact racist to bring up the topic, though perhaps that revelation has come too late and been far too much of the focus because of the voices of the few. Those immigrants, fine people many are too, have placed immense pressure on infrastructure and public service costs… all part of a New Zealand that’s ‘growth’ is far better described as isolated overpopulation.
And now, faced with a real problem, you have well-respected – and definitely not racist – tax experts such as Mark Keating providing the ‘how’ and saying that government needs to impose a flat levy on immigrants to help cover the strain placed on the aforementioned.
Mr Keating is a senior lecturer in tax law at the University of Auckland Business School and his idea is just one of many to cope with a $100 billion worth of service and infrastructure pressure that population bloat will create over the next 10 years.
Mr Keating’s response is one that we are seeing all around the world – when there is a problem, you cocoon. Much akin to wrapping oneself in the fetal position, I say the words without contempt for them. Fixing a problem by becoming insular is a trend we will see more of and barriers to entry will be more prominent before being allowed to enter the growing closed circles and pockets of trust.
Brexit. Trump closing borders to some. Problems. Answers; become insular. Globalisation is a word that was on every lip some two decades ago. It’s very much entrenched now, and so are the problems needed to be overcome that came with it.
And it’s here that some of our very top manufacturers in New Zealand within the engineering industry believe we have a problem, or may have a problem, with our number one trading partner – Australia.
Now this is something I don’t subscribe to, but they are worried that a struggling Aussie economy will result in some sort of tax for Kiwi exporters In order to give our cousins across the ditch a step up in their own market. Sort of like if we want to enter their circle of trust then there’s a premium that needs to be paid.
And yes, although these people don’t want to go on record they are indeed worried and for good reason because from a manufacturing point of view taxes in trade can mean the end of business.
It’s hard enough to manufacture in New Zealand as it is, often without a raft of local resources and needing to import a whole lot of stuff before you even get started, with isolation playing parts on the way in and the way out.
But, as a manufacturer, imagine paying a duty on top of that of say 15%… end of days. The certainty here would be taxes equals death to many.
Now this may be your typical acorn on the head sort of stuff, but with deals all up in the air free-trade must be of top priority to our little ol’ country. Just a year ago we had confidence in the Trans-Tasman Pacific partnership…. now all our eyes turn to Japan in anticipation.
New Zealand exports were 28% of GDP in 2016, some $70.9 billion. Australia is our number one market at about $13 billion.
It’s easy to see how some within the sector could fear the worst around every corner if other countries tie up free trade deals without us. Even local corners.
Benjamin Franklin probably couldn’t have envisaged the world we live in today, but if he could he may have added copious and complex trade talks to his famous quote.
– Greg Robertson, publisher
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Having the right ingredients makes engineering in the food industry a very profitable venture.Engineering News talked with some of the key suppliers to the industry to see just what was the state of the industry, how their business were tracking and the pros and cons of doing business within the food industry in today’s very different marketplace. Here’s what a few of them had to say…
Braden Goddin of Aurora Agencies is heavily involved in the food processing machinery side of things; a sector that is heavily reliant on the dairy industry.
“Things are pretty good. The dairy industry is quite bipolar, if you like, and influenced by what the auctions are doing and that directly affects CAPEX release from the likes of Fonterra, so if you get a good auction and dairy prices are going the right way for a few weeks you get some orders that you have been chasing for six months,” he says.
The nature of this industry is that the ‘on’ comes with just as quick an ‘off’ button.
“It’s relatively predictable though, plus at this time of the year is when a lot of activity occurs around purchasing because equipment gets installed and then winter ‘shuts’ so if businesses wants to get it installed in time they have to start ordering equipment about now.”
In the food industry, though, Mr Goddin says it doesn’t work to similar cycles.
“We find that capital movement in the food industry is fairly consistent, there’s always something going on.”
He says that in the food industry CAPEX process boils down to individual company direction and what plans they have and with the current buoyant nature it’s a sector that Aurora is placing more emphasis on.
Geoff Ebdon doesn’t mix words. He’s quick on the phone and even faster to state his piece and he too talks about a marketplace that is on the up.
“Basically, everything is gang busters and everyone wants it done yesterday,” says Mr Ebdon of NZ Duct and Flex.
His company supplies to a number of industries, food being an important but also growth sector. The company has outgrown its original format of simply supplying duct and flexible duct, to now offer the largest range of dust and fume products available in the market.
“We stock and can install complete systems using components that are widely available globally: they are tried and tested solutions – not ‘one offs’ designed for a single customer. This efficiency allows us to be competitive and draw on the engineering experience of three major global suppliers with experience of thousands of industrial extraction solutions,” says Mr Ebdon.
“I think New Zealand produces some of the best food in the world and has a great reputation for this and we happen to be, at long last, on the right side of the globe to where all the growth is occurring.”
Europe and America are getting increasingly protectionist he says. There was a classic case in media in the UK where grocery chain Waitrose has used New Zealand lamb in one of their classic British recipes,” he says, and thus got skewered by both the public and the National Farmers Union.
“Not quite the ‘Best of British’ they intended,” says Mr Ebdon. “So, they got caught. “Whereas of course, South-East Asia doesn’t give a damn, they just want good quality food. And 50-60 years ago, they could never afford it but how things have changed. The middle class in China is probably bigger than the middle class in America.”
He says this has caused a flow-through effect right throughout the industry. “The other thing that is happening around the world is that the brands are coming back again. The supermarkets for many years controlled everything. But with the growth of the internet know, people are starting to look and they can get holds of products and brands at a click of the mouse.”
Mr Ebdon orders a lot online, and can get product into New Zealand from the UK within a week. This is now occurring in reverse, with British buying Kiwi product such as wine without a second thought. “It’s just so readily accessible now whereas we used to be at the end of a very long food chain,” he says.
“We’ve always been in the traditionally engineering/manufacturing side of things rather than the food industry but as we’ve grown, and the internet has become more prominent, we’ve expanded and continue to do as we go on.
“We’ve also expanded our range to include a lot of stainless steel now and complete systems. With the food industries’ doors in New Zealand opening, we are feeling that flow through affect.”
Chris Farmer of Eurotec New Zealand also believes the food industry is strong, and Eurotec’s growth in the supply to this industry is being driven by legislation.
Eurotec describes itself as a distributor of superior quality controls, instrumentation, gas detection, humidification and ice-making equipment for the HVAC, refrigeration, industrial process, electrical and food industries.
“We are leaders in food safety instrumentation, measuring equipment for food processes, transportation and distribution equipment and retail… basically from farm to fork.”
With a wide product range, Mr Farmer says the company is also expanding into industrial censors as well, particularly in beverage and brewing.
“The new Food Safety Act, in process now, has impacted on business supply and requires much stricter controls in place which play a major role in the supply of machinery”
“We’re the New Zealand distributors for global brands, such as Tesco, and being a European manufacturer they are highly recognised with quality of product. Our whole business is focussed on technical quality, superiority and because of this need for greater standards we fit well with the new Act and requirements,” he says.
Being the major supplier of food safety instruments to the Kiwi food sector, and already with a massive in-house emphasis on high standards, Mr Farmer sees the new Act as a way of getting rid of what shouldn’t be there anyway.
“All the major chains use our product and we are well established, and for the smaller businesses we have an online store to accommodate for everyone,” says Mr Farmer.
“The economy is healthy and business is buoyant while the food sector is also strong which reflects well on business throughout the chain.”
AI set to massively impact New Zealand processes
New Zealand needs to seriously and swiftly embrace artificial intelligence (AI) as an extraordinary opportunity and challenge for the country’s future, a new body, the AI Forum says.
New Zealand needs to seriously and swiftly embrace artificial intelligence (AI) as an extraordinary opportunity and challenge for the country’s future, a new body, the AI Forum says.
AI already has a growing effect on Kiwis’ daily lives. Its potential impacts are profound. In the near future, it is likely to drive – at an unprecedented pace – highly disruptive change to our economy, society, and institutions.
As such, AI presents huge opportunities and risks to all New Zealanders, AI Forum establishment chair, Stu Christie says.
“AI will raise major social, ethical, and policy issues in almost every sector. It is critical for New Zealand’s sake that we actively consider, lift awareness of, and prepare for the changes AI will bring.
“Following the release of the Chapman Tripp and IOD report last year and an initiative within the NZ Angel investor community a national working group into the impact of AI has formed with the underlying support of NZTech, a not-for-profit association that works to improve New Zealand’s prosperity underpinned by technology by connecting, promoting and advancing tech communities across
“Designed to be a centre of gravity for all things AI in New Zealand the group already includes key government agencies, universities and tech firms who are working together to ensure AI creates a better New Zealand.
“There is a sense of duty to seek a deeper understanding of New Zealand’s potential as an AI-assisted economy and society, to ensure AI is a positive part of New Zealand’s future,” Mr Christie says.
NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says the potential reach of Artificial Intelligence is pervasive. The future impacts on the economy and society will be significant and disruptive. Governments, businesses, investors and research institutes around the world are applying ever-greater time and effort into developing and deploying the next generation of AI systems and considering the implications for policy and regulation, he says.
“AI technologies have been rapidly evolving over the past 10 years. They are extensively used already – in tools such as phones, search engines, vehicles, logistics, health services, financial services, industrial processes, public services, and military systems.
“AI is globally-relevant and cutting-edge. Nobody has a monopoly on the unique knowledge, impact and possibilities it presents; and nobody can predict with any certainty how AI will transform our future. But we can be sure the reach of AI will continue to grow and at an increasing pace.
“We know AI is expected to have the largest impact on developed countries that depend on knowledge resources and productivity gains for growth. New Zealand is one such country. Our focus on primary production and our relative underinvestment in technology companies may see us fall behind other counties which are better able to realise productivity gains from AI technologies.
“Unlike previous waves of automation, it will not just be the low-skilled and repetitive jobs that are most at risk of being displaced by technology. Knowledge workers are also at risk as bots automate and therefore careful planning for businesses and the economy needs to be managed correctly.”
The AI Forum is about to undertake a critical piece of research and is looking to all organisations and people with an interest in AI to step forward to ensure we identify the biggest opportunities for New Zealand and mitigate any risks.
MAJOR BENEFITS FOR USING FOOD-GRADE LUBRICANTS
Recent health scares over exported product exposes the fragility of export markets and the absolute importance to get it right.
Recent health scares over exported product exposes the fragility of export markets and the absolute importance to get it right. Any major recall, either nationally or internationally, can have a profound economic affect for any business operating in this market.
Most processing plants are automated, using mechanical equipment to manage and move product during the manufacturing process. Most machinery requires lubrication, usually in the form of oil and grease. Lubricants are an integral part of the manufacturing process and their presence must be considered when controlling contamination and maintaining quality standards. It is these considerations that have driven the oil industry to develop a wide range of food grade oils and greases.
In New Zealand, food grade lubricants are assessed and approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for use in local food processing premises. Approved lubricants are given an Approval Maintenance Compound (non-Dairy) code. Code compliant products are permitted for use in all food processing plants excluding farm dairy sheds, which come under a separate code. The approved products are listed with a ‘C’ coding (e.g. C11, C12, C13 etc), which designates the extent and usage of the product in a food processing area. Only C15 oils are approved for use where minimal food contact is possible.
The regulatory requirements of lubricant suppliers to meet food grade obligations are often not matched by the food processing industry using these products in their workplaces.
Many food processing plants are ignoring the use of food grade lubricants in areas of possible contamination and therefore putting food quality standards at risk. There is a belief in the industry that any lubricants being used below the food processing area can be non-food grade, and only those lubricated areas above the product line are at risk and therefore need a food grade lubricant.
If lubricated equipment below the food line is leaking, then the possibility of oil transfer and oil mists circulating around the food processing area is possible. Any hoses or pipes below the food line are susceptible to failure resulting in oil being sprayed in areas that could quite easily contaminate product.
Another problem is processing plants that use both food grade and non-food grade lubricants in the same areas. There is a possibility that a non-food grade product will go into an area specifically designated for food grade products, with consequences if any leakage occurs.
Oil Intel offers a complete range of compliant food grade oils from Total and Cargo, as well as plant audits and expert technical advice.
Phone 06 871 5325 or 0800 TOTAL OIL (868 256).
MONKEY TOE’S EFFECTIVE FLEXIBLE FOOD SYSTEM SOLUTIONS
Specialist access solutions are commonplace for Monkey Toe Group, particularly when it comes to the food industry.
Specialist access solutions are commonplace for Monkey Toe Group, particularly when it comes to the food industry. Whether it is walkways over cool store roofs or a bespoke bag lifting system, Monkey Toe can provide effective solutions with a lightweight and flexible system.
This solutions-focussed attitude came to the fore with a recent job for Ebert Construction and its development of the Danone factory in Auckland. The company was under pressure having been told that the two bag lifter shafts required access for cleaning; the bag lifters were already on site and waiting to be installed. Access platforms were required at multiple levels to enable them to meet their strict hygiene requirements.
Monkey Toe’s design team jumped into gear to meet the challenge of designing and building an access system that would be self-supporting, giving the client the ability to clean down both the walls and machinery at 2.7m intervals up the 18m lift shafts.
Being a ‘U’ shaped platform, bracing was done with special brackets through the PRI panel walls, back to structural girts. Hygiene requirements had to be taken into consideration, eliminating areas where powder could accumulate and sealing open sections. Areas between stitch welds needed to be sealed to prevent powder entrapment.
“Our marine-grade aluminium is a perfect solution for food preparation factories,” says marketing manager Jeff Poole. “Its smooth clean finish is well suited to meeting hygiene requirements and doesn’t require powder coating or galvanising.
“It is easily installed to existing structures due to its lightweight properties. The adaptable and modular system suits many applications.”
Monkey Toe has undertaken extensive work for food giants Fonterra along with Nestle, Synlait and Westlands. Projects include access stairs over machinery and conveyor belts, handrails and walkways over cool store roofs, ladders, bag lifts and roof edge protection, among others.
Its products are engineered for safety and are manufactured in New Zealand at the company factory in Hawera. All products are fully compliant with AS/NZS industry standards and many have a lifetime warranty.
Because the group has an engineering and design team, as well as a nationwide network of installers, it can assist customers from concept to installation. The company can supply and install product nationwide.
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FIRST BREAK – HAS METAL OVER CONTRACT COMPETITION
First Break SG Metals has re-signed a long-term partnership contract with HamiltonJet for its total supply of stainless material.
First Break SG Metals has re-signed a long-term partnership contract with HamiltonJet for its total supply of stainless material. Against stiff international competition from Mills in the United Kingdom directly competing for the supply, First Break SG Metals was successful at not only retaining the contract but also increasing the range of products and services supplied to HamiltonJet.
With over 50,000 waterjet units installed around the world, HamiltonJet represents the latest in waterjet propulsion technology. It is the preferred choice for the efficient propulsion of a wide range of high speed work and patrol boats, fast ferries, offshore crew boats, fire boats, fishing vessels, recreational and military craft.
First Break SG Metals is a joint-venture with Singapore listed company Sin Ghee Huat Corporation Ltd, a company that has been distributing stainless steel products throughout Asia for over 30 years.
The partnership has allowed First Break SG Metals access to world-class production mills and suppliers from Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and USA. It holds a comprehensive range of more than 4,000 stainless steel and duplex products supporting specific requirements of the oil and gas, petrochemical, marine construction, food processing and the ever-growing demand for sheet and plate in the dairy, wine and pulp and paper industries. All product supplied comes with mill certification.
First Break SG Metals has warehouses located at New Zealand’s two major international freight hubs – Auckland and Christchurch – and has forged strong relationships with key shipping lines and all the major airlines. It has its own dedicated logistics team in-house which cuts out major costs and paperwork, shortens lead times while improving overall customer security of supply. It ships ex-Singapore every 11 days and airfreights product on demand.
Strengths in offering:
• Cut to length sheet material
• Pipe and tube
• Fittings butt welded/forged
• Bars – various profiles
• Material blocking
• Project management
First Break SG Metals specialises in the supply of austenitic (304, 316L & 310) and duplex (Duplex 2205 & Super Duplex 2507) stainless steel. The different grades or types of stainless steel have different physical properties and the selection of a particular type or grade depends on its intended use. Austenitic stainless steel is non-magnetic and, in addition to chromium, contain a relatively higher percentage of nickel. This enhances its resistance to corrosion and heat treatment. It is one of the most widely used groups of stainless steel.
Grade 310 has the advantage of being able to withstand high temperatures, has good ductility and weldability, has oxidation resistance up to certain temperatures and therefore widely used in the oil and gas industry.
The Duplex grade of stainless steel has an improved strength over austenitic stainless steel as well as improved resistance to localised corrosion and is widely used in the oil and gas, petrochemical and marine industries.
Brent Paulsen, managing director of First Break SG Metals, is well known in New Zealand industry having entered the steel supply industry after 30 years in leadership roles specialising in metal cutting and manufacturing production. Having seen that material prices continue to rise each year and availably becoming scarce or having long lead times, Mr Paulsen saw an opportunity in the market for a company whose values were driven by customer needs, not multinational company budgets. Often bar wasn’t available in particular surface finishes and very few, if any, steel suppliers offered full 5PL logistics and warehousing with direct cut-to-length shipments to machine tools on the shop floor.
Mr Paulsen says, “We are excited about combining our strengths in technical support and logistics with our customers nationwide and being a positive contributor to mutual growth and prosperity.”
Adding to the viability of First Break SG Metals operation are two sister companies: First Break Mining and Larboard International Logistics.
First Break Mining is a technical support services company to the mining and construction industry in New Zealand, specialising in the supply and support of Atlas Copco drilling, transportation, crushing and screening equipment for underground and above ground applications. The company provides a hands-on approach with a deep knowledge and understanding of how to best support customers’ day-to-day operations.
Larboard International Logistics has the specialist expertise to ensure world-wide delivery and importation of large, bulky freight – such as steel shipments and mining equipment. With offices in Auckland and Christchurch, both right next to the international airport, they can support local customers throughout New Zealand, as well as handling final delivery for overseas customers.
A key component of all the companies, is the desire to be a partner in their customers’ operations, looking to understand the key logistical requirements and ensuring the right product is delivered to the right location at the right time.
SouthMACH 2017 – ‘CELEBRATING THE HEARTLAND OF MANUFACTURING’
With a little under three months to go until kick-off, the South Island’s premier technology trade show for the manufacturing, engineering, machinery and electronics industries is well on its way to being a sell-out event making it one of the largest for many years.
The show organisers are estimating 100 national and international exhibitor companies, all set to showcase the latest technologies, products and services – demonstrating that the heartland of NZ manufacturing is very much alive and well. The organisers are keen to further capitalise on a strong 2015 prior event which enjoyed strong growth in industry visitors. With new features and a focus on high-tech manufacturing SouthMACH 2017 is once more shaping up to be the region’s leading event for the engineering, manufacturing, machinery, electronics and technology industries.
The latest technology and innovative equipment will be showcased at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on May 24-25.
Companies such as Design Energy, Scott Machinery, CADPRO, Fuji Xerox 3D and many others will be bringing to the event the very latest innovations in cutting-edge products and technology. In addition, we’re excited to welcome to SouthMACH two of New Zealand’s most innovative product development consultancies – Caliber Design and Locus Research. They’ll be showcasing some exciting projects they’ve been involved with, including the Stabicraft 1600 Fisher trailer boat and the Ubco 2×2 electric offroad motorbike.
‘Celebrating the Heartland of Manufacturing’ will continue as a dominant theme across the two days through live product demonstrations, special features and a very full schedule of industry-led education and learning Seminars. The schedule will cover a variety of topics such as ‘Additive Manufacturing’, ‘Energy Efficiency’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ and will also include a Competenz industry training workshop and a panel discussion and networking session with NZMEA. A full seminar schedule covering the hottest industry topics will be published later this month so be sure to keep an eye out at www.southmach.co.nz/visitor-information/seminars and plan your visit early.
“There is very strong industry support for SouthMACH 2017,” says SouthMACH exhibition manager, Aad van der Poel, “Which, I believe reflects the current industry and economic sentiment. We see many exhibitors returning after a more challenging period keen to keep abreast of new technology. It is clear the industry is gaining confidence and adopting a more positive outlook and SouthMACH 2017 will only reinforce this with amazing examples of successful hi-tech Kiwi manufacturing capability.
“Every SouthMACH, the buzz grows. With world-class seminars, the cream of suppliers, a myriad of opportunities to network and learn. All of this helps position the South Island as a high-tech manufacturing hub of the South Pacific. This SouthMACH is the not to be missed event for 2017.”
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New Zealand construction sector boom still has years left
The New Zealand building boom is set to continue, according to leading industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel.
The New Zealand building boom is set to continue, according to leading industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel. Boosted by surging net migration, accommodative monetary policy and robust economic growth, residential construction is set to rise further over the medium term, even as growth in the non-residential sector tempers.
According to the latest Building and Construction in New Zealand 2017-2022 report, the total value of building authorised (including residential and non-residential) is expected to peak in the financial year ending March 2017 and will remain above $10 billion in the next two years before activity levels off.
The slight decline in 2017/18 is expected to be the first year of negative growth in the overall sector for five years, while dwelling construction is forecast to continue growing until 2019/20, representing seven years of consecutive growth. Following a period of cyclical adjustment, construction activity is forecast to once again rise above $10 billion at the end of the outlook period in 2021/22, back near the record high reached this year.
The dynamics of population growth is a major driver of construction activity and a key determinant of medium and long term trends. Reflecting this, exceptionally high net migration in recent years has been a major contributor to strong growth in dwelling building activity. Net migration continued to surge in 2016 and the latest indication is that these high flows are likely to continue, with the 2017 year ending June set to be another record year of inflow according to estimates.
The construction sector will also be supported by the promising outlook for the economy over the medium term. A healthy labour market and persistent accommodative monetary policy settings are expected to provide a boost to domestic consumption and business investment while the strong tourism sector will continue to lend support. Building activity in the coming year and beyond is likely to still be led by Auckland.
Several factors that will contribute to the Auckland dwelling sector include strong population growth through migration inflows, housing stock deficiency and the implementation of the Auckland Unitary Plan. Furthermore, still tight supply in the office, retail and industrial sectors in particular will see non-residential building activity in the Auckland region running at fairly high levels over the forecast period.
Building activity in other regions is also improving, backed by positive underlying economic fundamentals that have underpinned investment growth. It is worth noting that these fundamentals have been facilitated by the strong economic performance of the Auckland region, with the fastest growing smaller regions – Hamilton, Waikato and Tauranga – mostly located within close proximity.
Leasing activities for commercial and industrial property are expected to remain strong amid tight supply in the coming years. Positive business and consumer sentiment on the back of continued strength in the domestic economy will drive demand for office, retail and industrial buildings in the coming years. However, new supply coming online in the near term is likely to result in slower growth in commercial property rentals, and higher vacancy rates that would bring the market back to an equilibrium. Forecasted strong population growth is expected to generate greater demand for social and institutional, as well as retail and office buildings over the longer term.
The total value of non-residential building authorised is forecast to move into a downturn over the outlook period, mainly because the majority of developments in the Canterbury rebuilding effort are now underway. As is the case in the dwelling sector though, fervent building in Auckland will provide a floor to building activity.
It’s expect that civil engineering construction will expand moderately over most of the forecast period. Road related infrastructure spending will benefit from government initiatives including funding for the National Land Transport Programme, while rail and communications related expenditure will be more modest.
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THE CHAOS THEORY OF MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT
The fact that you have read past the title suggests that a nerve is already twitching when maintenance and chaos is used in the same sentence.
Let’s just leave it out there that perhaps the non-performance (in actual, management or political terms) of your maintenance department has irked you at some time.
So, why is it that so many maintenance departments in industry become embroiled in stress, finger pointing and sweaty KPI’s? What makes plant reliability so difficult to manage? Simple, humans.
Even more than that, maintenance engineering humans. We will come back to that thought later.
I have spent many years guiding sites and companies towards maintenance excellence and have been fortunate to be involved in success stories measured in reliability, profits and satisfaction. But I have also seen efforts doomed to failure from the outset or railroaded by changes in management. So, what makes the difference? Systems and processes.
I have seen attempts, (some of them lauded internationally) that start out with the highest academic processes and the sexiest three letter acronyms. High priests and converts spout dramatic factors from on high whilst gathering their medals. The acid test is when you scratch the surface of the site 1-2 years later; are the maintenance plans really being actioned? Is life continuously learning and improving? Far too often the answer is a resounding ‘No’.
It is one thing to create fabulous maintenance plans and even better if you install a flash computerised maintenance management system to run them, but it is the systems and processes of running your maintenance management that true success will live and die by.
Back to the humans. After meticulous study of mislaid perfect plans, I have made an earth shattering psychological discovery. I will call it ‘The Carlyle Effect’ (all modesty intended).
Here it is… maintenance engineers do not like being systemised.
It’s true. If you work in a manufacturing process you get it; the need to have systems and processes to prevent chaos. Even tradesmen working in engineering manufacturing get it; there is a plan – I need to work to it.
But your average run of the mill maintenance department tradesman is hard coded to lean towards chaos. Leave him to graze naturally and he will devolve to firefighting and squeaky door priorities as quick as look at you. Give him a maintenance schedule and he will quickly shovel the hard jobs to the backlog and wonder off to do the favoured jobs.
And when something does break, watch him squeal onto the job, sirens and lights blazing, to save the day with his mission critical skills.
Smaller sites will display the ‘irreplaceable engineer’ syndrome; Mr Fixit who may appear to have the site running perfectly, but has all the info locked in his head. What value does he really offer you?
By the same genetic path that drew him to like fixing broken things, he is averse to being told what to do and when to do it. He wants to make his own choices.
Let me elucidate further by couching maintenance management in manufacturing (widget) terms:
• You manage a team of blue (maintenance) widget makers.
• Your customers don’t really understand blue widgets but they do like red (non-maintenance) so they flood you with red widget orders.
• No one seems to care that you make more red widgets than blue.
• You have a backlog of widgets that you will never achieve.
• Your customers don’t have a lot of faith in your widget making ability and would go elsewhere if they could.
• There is no formal widget making schedule. It pretty much works on who’s yelling at you the loudest.
• You spend most of your time explaining to customers why the promised widgets were not made or why they broke straight away.
• Your widget makers spend most of their time waiting for widget parts or access to the widget making machines.
• You need a massive store of widget parts because you never know which widget you might need to work on next.
• If you did give your widget makers a list of widgets to make they would pick out the nice-to-do widgets and leave the rest for the ‘back log’.
• Some widget makers ignore the widget schedule and just make what they think is best.
• Some widget makers have learnt lots about making widgets over the years but they keep it all in their heads as their own little insurance scheme.
• Your budget is grossly overspent and you are unable to make all the blue widgets you need.
• You seem to be forever repeating the same widget making mistakes.
• The chief widget maker can never retire as the place won’t run without him.
This is the Chaos Theory of Maintenance Management and, unfortunately, I bet you recognise it. You certainly wouldn’t last long in business running processes like this. So why do we accept it in maintenance management? If you are happy with chaos theory in your process, stop reading now, I am happy for you. Maybe not happy for your shareholders, but you go for it! While it lasts. My apologies to our maintenance engineering humans. There is nothing wrong with them, not in the slightest. It’s just that the very skill set that makes them good reactive maintenance engineers almost precludes them from accepting proactive systems and processes.
There is however absolutely no reason in the modern environment that the maintenance function cannot be run with the same accuracy, predictability and transparency as a manufacturing process. The good news is that it also does not require expensive resources and is simple to achieve.
The reason why even the holiest systems will devolve to this level is the lack of formalised systems and processes. All it takes is negative culture and weak management to quickly undo years of positive work.
In order to improve maintenance management performance for the long term, the site must develop the maintenance scheduling systems and processes as a primary step before attempting to introduce maintenance planning disciplines. Put another way, why have a plan if you are not going to action it?
Put in the simplest terms, a truly successful maintenance management system will aim to put the right man on the right job at the right time with the right resources. This is the essential difference between Maintenance Planning and Maintenance Scheduling.
Let me describe a healthy maintenance management system:
It has well developed maintenance plans utilising just-in-time resourcing instead of high inventory stores.
Maintenance plans are fully optimised and bankable, based on evolved condition prediction and trades-confirmed resource requirements.
Maintenance is the priority because our maintenance plans have evolved away from feel good periodic checks to optimised invasion points.
The maintenance scheduling function adds approved non-maintenance and corrective maintenance tasks to the existing planned maintenance schedule.
The schedule is a reality driven rolling document that reflects the real site capability (reality schedule), (normally on a week by week basis). The reality schedule does not have nice-to-do tasks but only tasks expected to be auctioned.
The tradesmen understand and work to a 100% schedule achievement. Non-achievement is the exception, not the rule.
There is no backlog. How can you do a job last week? Unachieved tasks are put back into the forward schedule.
The operation understands the professionalism of the maintenance plans and processes and considers the schedule as bankable. They strive to make the plant available as the consequences of deferral are understood.
Sound wacky? Think about it in terms of running a manufacturing process. Strangely, the hardest thing to achieve above is the man management, which is where your systems and processes meet culture and management. It looks hard so it must be. Damn right. Moving site cultures away from comfort points is always going to stand on some toes. This may sound like total fantasy on your site but the challenge to you is to stand up and make it happen.
If making the journey to maintenance excellence appeals to you, here are my top five foundation steps to success:
• Publicly state that you are going to create a professional and proactive maintenance function.
• Define the difference between maintenance and non-maintenance tasks (what are you here to do?)
• Engage support for your processes from the highest level of your operation.
• Make sure you are rewarding your staff for success, not failure.
• Engage the entire operation in your systems and processes. Formalise it, live it, breathe it, back it.
The journey from ‘OK’ to ‘excellence’ is not that difficult and does not take a lot of expense, training, resources or tools. It takes the cheapest, most effective resource out there, attitude. There are some distinct steps along the way and embedded cultures that you might have to stomp on, but the rewards are enormous, in dollar and self-esteem terms. If I haven’t touched a nerve, then good on you. You either have your act together and are already a white knight of engineering, or are blissfully unaware of a world outside of the trench.
If you work in isolation, a great starting point is by talking to your peers and mentors at the Maintenance Engineering Society (MESNZ).MESNZ strives to support and lift the game of maintenance engineers in New Zealand. That is why MESNZ receives my full support. MESNZ seeks to encourage engineers to share their experience and achievements. The society achieves this by recounting its collective experiences and inspirations to maintenance engineers throughout the country, via print, mentoring, the National Maintenance Engineering Conference or connecting companies with practitioners.
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