EMEX - Engineering, Machinery & Electronics Exhibition
FUNDING CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR $14M SOUTH WAIKATO TRADES TRAINING CENTRE
The new South Waikato Trades Training Centre is making strong progress with the funding contracts being signed to complete the $14m project. Professional services firms have been appointed to undertake the next phases of design, engineering and cost management for the Centre.
The project is being led by the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT) in close liaison with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology who will be the training provider. The Centre was awarded a Government grant of $10.84 million in August last year and is being co-funded with a $1 million grant from Trust Waikato and SWIFT covering the balance of the costs.
SWIFT Chairman Bruce Sherman says, “It’s great to have those contracts signed and funds coming in. This allows us to really fast track every aspect of the project and achieve the ultimate goal – local people into local jobs, fully equipped with the knowledge, skills and support for the future of work.”
The next steps include essential engagement with local iwi Raukawa and the Pacific Islands community. The aspiration and one of the key measures of success is to encourage and assist young Māori and Pacifica into the trades and further learning in a place that makes them feel supported, culturally acknowledged, and enthused.
South Waikato District Mayor Jenny Shattock said the new South Waikato Trades Training Centre was an excellent example of the South Waikato education, business and local government sectors working together to help the district thrive and grow economically and socially.
“The Centre’s location near State Highway 1 will provide a fabulous new gateway to the northern entrance to Tokoroa and will complement the recent town centre redevelopment.”
The Centre will be a combined 3500M2 of learning, workshop and staff space with a commercial kitchen, café and barber shop. It will also have a space allocated for a digital and entrepreneurial hub to help address the deep digital divide and assist young people into their own businesses. Toi Ohomai has a long history and commitment to providing trades training in the South Waikato to align with local industry including logistics, engineering, mechanical, construction and hospitality.
The project provides the opportunity to encourage local firms across the Waikato region to tender as much as possible to help assist the local economies and to provide job opportunities. This aligns with the Government’s emphasis on driving the economy through trades and skills training as well as stimulating construction and growth.
The project is being managed by Veros Waikato and principal Peter Williams says “Veros is excited to be involved in such a significant project for South Waikato. Design is being fast-tracked and we’re looking forward to site works commencing following procurement of a main contractor.”
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RECORD 16,000 APPRENTICES IN BUILDING TRADES TRAINING
BCITO announced late last year that it has 16,000 apprentices in training – an all-time record.
To mark this milestone, Building and Construction Minister, Hon Poto Williams, and BCITO interim CEO, Greg Durkin, visited a Kāinga Ora housing project in Cannons Creek, Wellington where they met Sam Skinner, owner of Skinner & Skinner Building Company Ltd (SSBC), a carpentry business that has just taken on four apprentices.
Speaking onsite, Minister Williams says, “I am delighted to present this award to SSBC, for their direct contribution to increasing apprenticeship numbers and supporting BCITO to reach their highest number of apprentices in active training, ever.
“Construction is a critical part of the New Zealand economy – employing around ten percent of the national workforce and contributing around 7 percent of GDP.
“This Government recognises how important it is for New Zealand to have a resilient and high-performing construction sector,” Minister Williams said.
BCITO interim CEO, Greg Durkin says, “It is great to see more employers taking on apprentices and so many young people going into training. It’s an absolute win-win. The apprentice gets to earn while they learn, and for the employer it is an investment in their business and the industry.”
Sam Skinner says, “We took on more trainees because of all the work on the Kāinga Ora development in Cannons Creek. We’ve been helping people through their apprenticeships since 2012 and we still have our very first apprentice on the team.
“If an employer can take on an apprentice, they should. It’s very rewarding. It not only helps me keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry, it also helps me be an effective manager and trainer.”
SSBC currently has five carpentry apprentices, one is close to completing their training. They specialise in difficult residential renovations and new builds featuring sloping sites, poor access, staged excavations, high-level planning and logistics.
Interim CEO Durkin says that taking on an apprentice has never been easier, with the Government’s 2020 Budget offering significant investment in trade apprenticeships. As part of the $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package, $320 million has been set aside to support free trades training in critical industries, including the construction sector. A further $412 million has also been invested in the Apprenticeship Boost initiative which offers support for employers to retain apprentices and to hire and train more people.
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HYDRAULINK CUSTOMISATION EXTENDS VERSATILITY OF WORKHORSE CAT MACHINERY
Expert Hydraulink technicians have installed hammer piping and other new features in a complex customisation of CAT machinery designed to further extend its functionality and versatility.
The customisation was completed for a customer that wanted the option to add different attachments to their reliable and efficient CAT 320f excavator, which weighs about 22t and features a 120kW engine.
But the job isn’t as simple as most repair and maintenance jobs, adds Hydraulink sales and service technician (HSST) Craig Dorling, who worked on this custom installation with fellow HSST Rob Caygill.
“Aftermarket installation work like this – where you need to make the customised hydraulics function and look like they were fitted OEM – requires a unique and highly technical skillset. The Hydraulink team has some of the only technicians in the country with the right skills and experience to perform the job safely and to a top standard of quality,” says Dorling, who is part of a large network of Hydraulink dealers, distributors and service technicians that make up more than 400 service points across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
“CAT excavators and machinery are some of the most widely used in Australasia because of their reputation for quality, reliability and efficiency, so adding further customisation is a strong investment that we’ve seen many customers opt for,” he says.
The hammer piping (or auxiliary piping) Hydraulink retrofitted to the CAT 320f excavator allows for a greater range of attachments to be used with the reliable machine, including a chisel or hammer for breaking concrete and rock, as well as larger attachments like grabs or drills.
“Standard attachments only use one-directional flow with their hydraulic piping. We installed bidirectional flow to allow the machine to use the larger attachments,” explains Dorling, who is now working on a similar job for a CAT 329e excavator.
In addition to hammer piping, Mr Dorling also installed a quick hitch and hose burst protection. The quick hitch allows for different attachments to be installed and uninstalled safely and more swiftly, and the hose burst protection – comprised of two valves – adds an additional level of safety to the machine during lifting tasks. If the machine is lifting, oil is going into the cylinders to make them lift upwards. But, without burst protection, if there is a hydraulic hose failure, this oil comes out, causing the machine to fall and come crashing down.
“The hose burst feature comes standard on larger machines, but with advances in technology and construction practices, it is becoming more common for mid-size excavators to be used for more heavy-duty tasks. So responsible companies are seeking our help to ensure safety is prioritised when they use mid-sized machines for heavy-duty tasks,” says Dorling.
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KIWI STARTUP TURNING HEADS TOWARD ELECTRIC
New Zealand engineering startup ZeroJet powers what it describes as the world’s lightest electric jet boat, turning eyes to the marine industry’s pollution problem with zero emissions, zero pollution, zero noise solution.
Co-founders Neil Mans and Bex Rempel aim to replace 10,000 internal combustion outboards with electric propulsion within five years – resulting in an emissions saving equivalent to removing 1.5 million cars off the road.
ZeroJet’s unique electric jet propulsion system is half the weight of a traditional outboard motor, resulting in faster and lighter boats, while also creating a zero emissions alternative to standard motors. The ZeroJet system will accelerate time to market for boat manufacturers and create new revenue streams for boat builders and resellers who want to tap into the emerging environmentally conscious market.
“The vast majority of outboard motors are diesel or petrol powered, pumping pollution directly into marine environments. ZeroJet’s electric jet tenders offer a zero emissions option for an industry that’s lagging in innovation efforts to become more environmentally responsible,” says Mans.
Internal combustion engines discharge a number of harmful substances, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter.
“If you run a new 5 HP four-stroke outboard for one hour, you produce the same amount of nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon pollution as if you were driving 38 new cars at 95 km/hr for the same length of time,” says Mans.
The company’s first MVP, built in 2019, was applied to a three metre-long tender and resulted in the lightest jet boat on the market at just 70kgs, doing speeds of 25 knots and leaving petrol outboards of equivalent size behind in their wake. It recently developed a partnership to supply electric jet propulsion
systems to NZ-based tender manufacturer Offshore Cruising Tenders, through which they are already offering pre-sales.
“We use a highly efficient motor, about the size of half a loaf of bread, which means lighter, faster boats. Every boat builder we’ve spoken to and consulted with has jumped at the idea, giving us the confidence to look to scale globally in 2021, which would enable us to make even more of an impact in our total addressable market – 95% of which currently relies on petrol or diesel,” says Mans.
ZeroJet is the culmination of five years of working on electric jet propulsion by Mans and Rempel. The pair originally founded Voltaic Jetboards in 2016, through which they spent more than two years developing high-performance electric jetboards.
After creating the world’s fastest and smallest jetboard under Voltaic, which reached speeds of 70km per hour on water, and impressing heavyweights in the jet pump world with tiny electric jets that could produce over 140kg of thrust, the pair turned their focus to boats, targeting the 350,000 outboards (under 30 horsepower) sold annually.
In 2020, ZeroJet raised its second round of capital with investment from K1W1, Impact Enterprise Fund, Icehouse, NZGCP and Arc Angels, and were accepted into Startmate’s accelerator program. Looking to 2021, the startup looks to triple its current addressable market by scaling up its technology to accommodate boats up to six metres.
“There’s been a very positive response to sales here in NZ so far and we are excited to expand upon the momentum. Our eyes are on Europe, which is currently leading the way in terms of regulations to support more environmentally-friendly marine technology,” says Rempel.
While electric engine technology is making significant progress in motor vehicles, led by companies such as Tesla, there is a gap in the technology when it comes to boats, Mans explains.
“The automotive industry uses sophisticated methods to reduce pollutants, such as exhaust gas recirculation and catalytic converters. The outboards currently on the market do not have any comparable systems, even new ones.
“This is why the level of harmful nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions is dramatically higher than cars. Though there are far fewer outboards than cars, their pollution is substantially out of proportion.”
Mans’ background as a mechanical and high-precision engineer enabled him and Rempel to gather a small but experienced team of engineers, all of whom previously worked alongside Mans at Buckley Systems building high-precision electromagnets for particle accelerators.
SUSTAINABILITY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC
Geofabrics Australasia’s Albury manufacturing plant
KAESER MEETS GEOFABRICS ENERGY EFFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS
Australia’s largest manufacturer of geosynthetic products recently installed a low pressure Kaeser ESD 245 rotary screw compressor at its Albury manufacturing plan in regional NSW. Replacing an ageing compressor, the new Kaeser compressor is assisting Geofabrics in continuing to meet its sustainability goals.
Geofabrics Australasia is Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of a range of highly engineered geosynthetics for the building and infrastructure sector. The core capabilities are across the road, rail, waste, mining, coastal, water, recreation and slopes and wall segments. Geofabrics has a presence throughout Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Pacific. The company has two manufacturing plants, one in Albury (NSW) and other in Ormeau (Queensland) and contributes to Australia’s sovereign infrastructure construction capabilities.
On every project, Geofabrics has a singular focus: to provide smarter infrastructure solutions for their clients.
MANUFACTURING INNOVATIVE GEOSYNTHETIC SOLUTIONS
As the Australasian leader in geotextiles and geosynthetics, Geofabrics delivers engineering support and technical leadership through a focus on innovation, research, industry education, design and independent testing services. Simply, Geofabrics’ products are a key component in building Australia’s critical infrastructure; our roads, railways, landfills and resources (mining, oil & gas).
One example of the products manufactured by Geofabrics is bidim Green geotextile, a variant to its existing ‘Bidim’ range, which contains Australian-sourced recycled plastics (think of recycled drink bottles) and is a green innovation that came amid increasing calls for greater sustainability in the construction and infrastructure industry.
Both effective and economical, bidim Green is a superior geosynthetic solution for a range of engineering problems including weak soil, rutted and cracked roads, as well as liquid and gas leaks from landfill sites. It can be used for example, in the construction of roads, railways and embankments where the ground is soft and unstable. Using a layer of geotextile to separate the soft ground from the fill material reduces the amount of fill required, increases the lifespan of the road or rail structure, and reduces long-term maintenance costs.
The in-line slitting process
SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY
Geofabrics is committed to contributing to a positive impact on the environment and to manufacture and supply products that reduce reliance on non-renewable resources and reduce waste to landfill.
This includes making the company’s use of resources more efficient through lean manufacturing and a process of continuous improvement. As a result, Geofabrics has won many awards over the years including the 2019 Australian Exporter of the Year, the 2017-2019 Victorian Exporter of the Year (Environmental Solutions), and the 2018 AusTrade Australian Export Award for Environmental Solutions. These awards recognise outstanding international success in environmental solutions, clean energy innovation and energy efficiency.
It is no surprise then, that when Geofabrics’ process improvement engineer Ashish Swarup began the procurement process to replace an ageing compressor at the Albury manufacturing plant – selecting an energy efficient solution was a key criterion.
Compressed air is an essential utility required to operate many functions at both of Geofabrics manufacturing plants – one in Albury (NSW) and one in southern Queensland. One crucial role is using compressed air in the filament drawing process. Reliably delivering clean compressed air is critical in fulfilling this process. Unfortunately, the ageing compressor at the Albury manufacturing plant was becoming less reliable. Aside from finding a more reliable solution, as one of the largest energy consumers in the business, accounting for around one third of all electrical consumption, finding an energy efficient compressed air solution was therefore also very important.
The procurement process included evaluating a number of possible compressor options against five key criteria, including life cycle costing, reliability of asset and environmental impact, making the process very transparent. All options were then given a total rating. Thanks to a high overall rating backed up with technical advice and support, Geofabrics opted for a low pressure Kaeser ESD 245 series rotary screw compressor to meet its requirements.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AS STANDARD
The ESD 245 is a specially built dedicated low pressure oil lubricated rotary screw compressor. Unique to Kaeser it delivers flow rates up to 30.9 m3/min at pressures of 3.5 to 5 bar.
Installed complete with a comprehensive air treatment package, this proved the ideal solution for Geofabrics. Not only would this solution reliably deliver large volumes of high quality and clean compressed air, but as a highly efficient dedicated low pressure compressor – the ESD 245 would also easily create in excess of 30% energy savings compared to a ‘standard’ pressure 7 bar screw compressor of a similar size.
Kaeser Compressors pushes the boundaries of compressed air efficiency and availability once again with its latest generation of ESD series rotary screw compressors. Intelligent design solutions have not only led to enhanced ease of operation and serviceability, but also give this series of class-defining compressors their distinctive modern appearance.
Delivering improved specific power, the flow-optimised and further refined Sigma Profile rotors provide the foundation for exceptional energy efficiency. The use of high performance
IE4 drive motors maximise energy efficiency, whilst Kaeser’s 1:1 drive design eliminates the transmission losses associated with gear or V-belt driven systems, as the motor directly drives the airend. Kaeser is currently the only compressed air systems provider to equip its compressors with super premium efficiency IE4 class motors.
Furthermore, the radial fan fulfils the efficiency requirements for fans as per EU directive 327/2011. The advanced Sigma Control 2 compressor controller also achieves additional energy savings and minimises cost-intensive idling periods through the use of a variety of specially developed control options.
Finally, an intelligent component layout ensures even greater energy efficiency: for example, all service and maintenance points are within easy reach and are directly accessible from the front of the unit. This not only saves time and money when performing service work, but also maximises compressed air system availability.
Ashish Swarup says: ‘Selecting energy efficient equipment is a large part of our sustainability practices and our commitment to keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum, and the Kaeser compressor was therefore the right choice for us. Up and running now for almost a year the compressor is reliably and energy efficiently meeting our compressed air requirements.’
Kaeser has an extensive range of low pressure oil lubricated rotary screw compressors available that produce flow rates from 4.65 to 58.7 m3/min, designed for pressures 3.5 to 5 bar.
A STEP INTO THE FUTURE
Oasis Engineering’s robot arm with manufactured brass swivels for use on petrol tankers.
The 2021 EMEX tradeshow may be celebrating 40 years of New Zealand manufacturing and engineering innovation, but the event’s ‘Manufacturing Futures’ seminar won’t be looking backwards – it will dive into what’s yet to come.
Thinking big, thinking digital, and thinking into the future will be the focus of the ‘Manufacturing Futures’ full-day seminar on day two of EMEX.
Set to host the event, Callaghan Innovation has curated a line-up of speakers and topics.
“The day is to talk about where this whole space is going,” says Phil Anderson, business innovation expert at Callaghan Innovation and the event’s emcee.
“We’re wanting to encourage businesses to think big, and to showcase how they can start implementing process, product and business model changes.”
Designed to demonstrate how to get started with Industry 4.0, Anderson hopes the seminar will guide Kiwi companies into the digital world and “towards being world-class”.
Robert Blache from Callaghan Innovation’s future insights team will be one of the day’s presenters, and will explore what the next 40 years of manufacturing might look like. After showing this glimpse into the future, the focus will step back to today to look at some New Zealand companies that have already adopted Industry 4.0 technologies.
Wood Engineering Technology’s director, Tony Johnson, will share how they have developed an Industry 4.0-enabled process for turning low-value, weak wood into high-value structural lumber.
“They have a really strong vision about where they’re heading, connected devices, robotics, end-to-end processes, really getting towards being a fully data-driven company with decisions made through the data,” says Anderson.
“We’re not saying they’re quite there yet, but they certainly are this really neat story of a New Zealand company running at Industry 4.0 technologies to design scalable world-class manufacturing.”
Otago-based United Machinists’ chief executive Sarah Ramsay will also share how their ‘factory of the future’ started with a goal to display live KPI data in the workshop, to now using automated scheduling, live real-time production weblinks for clients, and a multidisciplinary team, systematically removing bottlenecks.
STEPPING UP THE GAME
Helping Kiwi companies embrace Industry 4.0 and introducing them to the tools available to do so will be the focus of the day, says Anderson.
“We will have myself and Sue Bradley, general manager of Industrial Design at Beca, talking about government support and initiatives that are happening at the moment.
“There is an Industry 4.0 network that has been created in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, EMA (Employers and Manufacturers Association) and Beca. Sue and I are going to talk about the support that’s there for companies to get on the road.”
Kevin Flint, general manager at Tauranga-based Oasis Engineering will then share the steps his company took to reach where they are today.
“Oasis’ story is quite interesting as well,” says Anderson.
“They will explain how embedding a culture of continual improvement through Lean has created the bedrock from which to launch into digitisation, and how it’s actually a really good way to understand as a company what is value and what is waste.
“Once you get that part sorted – the manual processes, the culture – then what we’re saying is it’s a good time then to start overlaying the digital parts that make sense as well to help with that continual improvement, which is what Lean brings in.”
With their strong process and culture base, Oasis Engineering is now connecting machines, adding sensors and cameras, and using data to drive its decisions.
“It’s showing how to get there, and how you can start. They are a great example of how a business can start and then accelerate adoption of advanced technologies to create value. We want people to be inspired.”
Callaghan Innovation and 20 Kiwi companies attended the 2019 Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific trade show to learn about Industry 4.0 technologies redefining the industry.
A NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS
The second half of ‘Manufacturing Futures’ will focus on smart products and new business models.
Callaghan’s Ross Pierce will draw on his 25-plus-years’ experience in innovation leadership and product development to share how the digital world creates new opportunity.
“We then bring in Mark Taylor, CEO of Framecad, who has an innovative business model where connected roll forming machines combine with world-class software to create a recurring revenue stream,” says Anderson.
“Digitally-enabled machinery has actually opened up this new business model for him, and it is providing amazing value to his customers. So, that is a bit of inspiration – with big thinking, here is what you can achieve.”
Ben Bodley, founder and chief executive of Teknique, will also dive into the world of artificial intelligence and computer vision.
“It’s getting companies to think about how they can incorporate smart technology into their existing product suite and imagine what their products could look like in the future,” says Anderson.
“Thinking big and thinking digitally, can effectively open new revenue streams and connect long-lasting value to a customer.”
But before building a new product, Anderson says companies need to make sure it is something their customers are going to love.
“Before you even begin something, have you really connected with your customers to make sure it’s something they want you to build?”
Presenters, including Callaghan Innovation’s Shane Dooley and vice president of product at software business Dexibit, Pip Gilberts, will give examples and techniques of how to connect with customers and how in doing so, long-lasting value will be created.
“Start with the business value and let the technology flow in behind,” says Anderson.
“There is a whole bunch of tools that we will touch on over the day of how companies can just crack on with it right now.
“It’s actually not rocket science – you don’t have to be afraid of it, of getting started, of putting foot forward.”
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING PROJECT LAUNCHES GRADUATES CAREER
Pro-vice-chancellor of Engineering, Professor Jan Evans-Freeman presented software engineering student, Flynn Doherty with the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 UC Engineering final year projects showcase for his project into the 3D visualisation of an aerospace launch vehicle
An award-winning project into the 3D visualisation of an aerospace launch vehicle has launched student Flynn Doherty’s career with leading aerospace manufacturer and satellite launch company Rocket Lab.
As part of the University of Canterbury’s (UC) Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) degree, students must complete a final year project, with many of the projects sponsored by industry.
Doherty’s final year project, which won the 2020 People’s Choice Award at the UC Engineering final year projects showcase, was sponsored by Rocket Lab and looked at alternative methods for visualising the state of Rocket Lab’s electron launch vehicle.
“During flight, there is an incredible amount of data being transmitted and my project aimed to use this data to reconstruct the vehicle in a virtual 3D environment so that operators and engineers could easily – and visually – determine the position, attitude and general state of the vehicle. The 3D visualisation platform also presented the opportunity to spatially represent vehicle data to allow operators to view data about the vehicle in a physically based, intuitive manner,” he says.
“Through this project, I’ve learned a lot about developing software that conforms to stakeholder requirements as well as a bunch of new technologies that are increasingly applicable to my career in the software industry.”
The project came about after talking to Rocket Lab senior software engineer Chris Ching during an internship at the company in the summer of 2019. Ching says that given the great work Doherty did during his internship, it was easy to justify the project.
“We went through the team’s backlog of projects and matched one with UC’s requirements that would allow Rocket Lab to develop something we typically wouldn’t have spare resources to try. We were able to approach this project with a clean slate and prove out some technical concepts that we can now incorporate into our internal tooling. I think industry engagement offers an applied, practical perspective for students, so was really pleased with the outcome.”
Doherty will join a number of UC alumni at Rocket Lab as a software engineer working specifically on flight operations software.
“It’s an exciting role that enables me to work with a number of other teams to ensure that operators in mission control can effectively monitor, test, and launch the electron rocket. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the smartest and supportive people in the industry,” he says.
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KERF, LANTEK COLLABORATION DELIVERS ‘INDUSTRY-LEADING’ PLASMA TECHNOLOGY
Kerf Developments has been building plasma, oxy-fuel and waterjet cutting machines since 2002.
The company originally started as a service-based organisation repairing and upgrading a broad range of profile cutting machinery. It was the experiences gained working on such a varied range of equipment that formed the basis of the current machine range. Dan Taylor, managing director, explains the transition to machine building: “We have a considerable amount of experience in the industry and we could see which machine configurations gave the best and most reliable performance. The machines that we build here in the workshop in Rochdale have been designed by our team of engineers which, with Kerf being completely independent, means that we can select best in class products for our turnkey solutions from leading global partners such as Lincoln Electric and Burny.”
In addition to offering a standard range of profile cutting machines, Kerf works with its customers to specify a bespoke machine that matches their own individual application. They design and build machines up to 4m wide with a combination of plasma and oxy-fuel heads and of any length. The smallest machine the company have supplied has a working area of 2.5mx 1.25m. The largest has a huge working area of 40m x 4m with multiple bridges.
A choice of plasma systems can be supplied with the machines ranging in cut capability from 1mm right the way through to 90mm. For oxy-fuel applications machines can cut up to 150mm thick as standard or considerably more if the application requires it.
As part of their continued development Kerf needed to evaluate the capabilities of various CAD/CAM and nesting systems as this was becoming an ever-increasing requirement from its customers. Following evaluation of several of the leading systems the one that came out on top for the engineering team at Kerf was the Lantek ‘Expert’ system.
Described as a world leader in software for the sheet metal and fabrication sector, Lantek now has over 24,800 customers in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries. Its Expert software is supported by a team of engineers in the UK and is developed at the company’s Technological Excellence Centre in Bilbao, Spain. For Kerf Developments, Lantek has trained Kerf’s engineers so that they can provide training and first line support. Dan says, “All our field service engineers have a copy of Lantek Expert software as part of their toolbox so that they can provide an instant response to any queries. Lantek provides regular and valuable updates to the software and are always on hand to provide online support to fine tune systems to work in line with our customers’ needs.”
For offline programming of the cutting machines, CAD data can be imported directly into Lantek Expert, parts nested on the material to optimise usage and the cutting path automatically created, providing a very fast and simple way of keeping the machine running, achieving high productivity levels and short delivery times.
As part of the collaboration, Lantek has worked closely with the engineering team at Kerf to perfect its UltraSharp technology which delivers high quality parts with a square edge, better quality edges and 1:1 hole sizes, for example, a 5mm hole in 5mm material, a capability which would previously have been impossible on a plasma machine. For the user, this capability makes it possible to use much lower cost plasma technology rather than laser technology to manufacture parts and is especially effective for thicker components. Dan adds, “The UltraSharp technology involves internally enhanced software protocols, accelerating and decelerating the torch dynamics on tight contours and holes, controlling the power, gas pressure and flow, amongst other things, and also automatically selecting special lead in and lead out configurations. The result is a constant and true arc with no lag between the top and bottom of the material being cut. All the parameters required to achieve this are built into our technology tables making it easy to achieve high quality components direct from the CAD data.”
One of Kerf Developments’ customers, Pressed Flights based in Littleborough manufactures screw conveyors. The shape of the screw in its flat state is complex and, in many cases varies along the length of the screw depending on the material being transported.
Previously these parts were subcontracted for laser and waterjet cutting. Now the company has a Kerf RUR2500p machine with UltraSharp cutting technology and Lantek’s software and carries out all the cutting in house achieving ± 0.25mm general tolerance. Mark Cryer, managing director at Pressed Flights says, “It is one of the best investments we have made. We transfer CAD data directly into Lantek, nest the parts for best yield, easily and quickly generating the CNC program. The Kerf UltraSharp plasma is very reliable producing augers which are spot on in size, it is a vital part of our operation. After sales service is excellent from both companies.”
“The 14-year collaboration with Lantek has enabled us to deliver industry leading technology to our customers as part of our turnkey machine packages configured to meet the demands of each client’s business. Our focus is on providing excellent service, as it has been from the start. Lantek has the same mindset making it a valuable partner for the delivery of a full process offering.”
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WINTEC WOMEN- EMPOWERED TO MAKE A STAND
Engineering may often be considered a man’s world but Wintec engineering teachers, Dr Maryam Moridnejad, Sarla Kumari, Josy Cooper, Elena Eskandarymalayery and their manager, Dr Trudy Harris don’t agree. They want to see more diversity in their engineering classes, and they are on a mission to change up the ratio.
The five women have a mix of mechanical, civil and electrical qualifications.
Wintec group director, Trades and Engineering and Industrial Design, Dr Shelley Wilson says women make up 5-10% of engineering students at Wintec and the future is looking bright for graduates who can expect diverse opportunities.
“We work closely with industry to train engineers for an evolving workplace which is responding to new demands for technology, climate change and the influence of COVID-19.
“The scope for engineering careers is exciting and graduates can aim for careers in the manufacturing, roading and other areas of infrastructure, power industry, chemical and mechatronics areas for example. These environments are attracting a diverse workforce.”
Kumari says the perception of engineering sometimes doesn’t help.
“Many people believe engineering is about working outside, getting your hands dirty and a study path with a maths-heavy study component.
“Engineering offers broad opportunities and engineers mainly work in an office designing and creating projects for people.”
Cooper agrees that engineering is people orientated as well as project focussed.
“Everything you design has to work with and be for people. It can be really compelling as a career.”
Dr Moridnejad, who shared the trending post about diversity on LinkedIn says that in her home country, Iran, with more restrictions on women, there are more female engineers than in New Zealand.
Surprised at the female engineering student ratio in New Zealand, and curious, (a trait with engineers), she wanted to find out why.
Since last year, she collaborated with Cooper and Associate Professor Wendy Fox-Turnbull from the University of Waikato on a research project to find out influencing factors and barriers for selection of engineering pathways for women in New Zealand.
“So far, in the New Zealand context, we found that barriers to selection of engineering pathway for females include the school system; a lack of career and subject choice guidance available to students at school, a lack of promotion of the profession, and society’s perception of engineers as being masculine – ‘a tradie working in a workshop’.
“Unfortunately, the low number of women studying engineering at tertiary level is not just a problem here in New Zealand. Worldwide around 10% of students studying engineering are females. The lack of female participation in engineering fields at the tertiary education level has been a barrier for diversity and equality in both the engineering industry and associated professions.
“We are hearing from teenage girls that stereotypes on what girls can and can’t do, persist in our community,” says Dr Moridnejad.
Dr Moridnejad who has a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Auckland and a master’s degree in water engineering from the University of Tehran is sharing her love of engineering by profiling engineers, and their study journeys on Instagram. She invites anyone interested to follow her @maryam.moridnejad.
Recently Wintec’s engineering team created a challenge for students from Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Melville High School and St John’s College in Hamilton. The students had all shown interest in a career in engineering and signed up for a STAR Engineering Taster Day.
Eighteen students took part each day, over three days.
The challenges they created covered the full suite of engineering practice offered at Wintec – civil, mechanical and electrical.
The students had to design and build a solar-powered moon rover and a bridge for it to cross.
“It just wouldn’t be engineering without a bridge,” said Cooper.
The girls from Sacred Heart College managed the fastest time.
“They nailed it,” laughs Cooper. “By lunchtime they were done.
“The girls listened, and they were organised, but the boys had the edge on the bridge,” adds Kumari.
The boys from St John’s and Melville built a very structurally sound bridge.
“There are very few girls considering engineering as a career and when there are women in engineering, they do well,” says Cooper.
The engineers agree that now is a great time to study
“The Government is spending money on infrastructure so there is potential for employment,” says Kumari.
“There are broad opportunities in mechanics, electrical and civil engineering and for starters, the Diploma in Engineering is free and really popular with employers.”
GOING BIG WITH BYSTRONIC
The Bystronic Xpert Pro 320-4300 CNC press brake could sound like something out of a futuristic sci-fi novel, but to the educated engineering ear, it sounds like opportunity.
That is exactly why this piece of hi-tech machinery has made its way into the factory of a busy Auckland subcontract sheet metal fabricator.
After 17 years operating out of Ōtāhuhu, Precision Laser Cutting Limited CEO, Steve Caddle, decided it was time to move the company to larger premises in East Tāmaki.
“We were bursting at the seams [in Ōtāhuhu]. Due to an ever-increasing workload we had no choice but to look for a bigger workshop to cope with the demand. After getting despondent about the lack of suitable workshops and almost giving up, the Harris Road site came on the market,” says Caddle.
“We set about planning the shift, leaving room also for some new equipment to increase our capacity.
“With the recent addition of the 10 KW Bystar Fiber 4020 having settled in over the last six months without a hitch, the demand for folding longer and heavier parts was increasing.”
With this is mind Caddle decided to look for a suitable press brake to address this problem.
“We needed at least 300 tonne x 4-metre-long machine, so options were limited,” he says.
After some investigation and consideration of other brands, he decided the Bystronic was the best fit.
“The new machine is a lot larger. It has 320 tonne bending pressure which means we can do much larger work than we did in the past and it’s also 4.3 metres long. It’s the largest press brake we’ve got so that enables us to fold a lot thicker material and handle longer parts,” Caddle says.
“Now we can fold 4-metre-long parts as well, where before we couldn’t. It increases our capacity.”
Caddle and his team have been loyal Bystronic laser customers since 2004 but had ended up running a range of press brakes over the years. They wanted a machine that suited their needs and to be sure they were working with the best technology available.
“An important point of difference [between us and our competitors]is that we don’t mind folding low volume or one-off parts.
“For this to be effective it’s important to have highly skilled press brake operators that take pride in their work and good high-end press brakes that will assist them to make the right part, first time around.
“We did consider other brands and had always preferred hybrid servo hydraulic machines but Bystronic’s implementation of traditional hydraulics combined with the Dynamic Crowning which does not need adjusting, and the Lams laser angle measurement system, ensures the Xpert Pro 320 folds accurate parts every time particularly important when a lot of complicated one-off parts are required.”
Rudi Wasmuth of Bystronic Australia says the purchase is notable because although Bystronic and Precision Laser Cutting have had a very long relationship of more than 15 years, Caddle is still a very discerning customer.
“Steve is very careful about what he buys. He searched for a lot of information on other brands before he decided to choose our machine,” says Wasmuth.
“For us this is the best technology he can buy at the moment. There’s nothing better on the market.”
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