Auckland-based manufacturer Buckley Systems has almost doubled its factory space to meet demand for its precision electromagnets.
The company started by former EY Entrepreneur of the Year Bill Buckley 30 years ago is a global leader in its field, manufacturing and supplying precision electromagnets which go into machines that make 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the world's silicon chips.
Its products are used in machines that make electronics such as flat screen televisions and touch screens, medical technologies such as photon therapy, and particle accelerators. All of its $85 million annual revenue is derived from exports, mainly to the US and Asia. Some 60 per cent of revenue is still derived from supplying electromagnets for the semi-conductor industry.
Expansion into a neighbouring building in Mt Wellington has allowed the heavy fabrication and large coil-forming operations of electromagnet manufacturing to be carried out more easily and quicker and for the company to double production.
"The demand for larger-screen implantation machinery has seen some of the magnets exceeding 25 tons and stretching the resources of the existing building," said chief operating officer Mark Stolten.
The company has also recently set up a new ion source test facility in another of its Auckland buildings in collaboration with Canadian-based design company D-Pace, which it bought a 50 per cent share of two years ago for an undisclosed sum.
The facility will be used for testing purposes by both companies and also third party manufacturers.
Buckley's investment into D-Pace, which it had been working with for 20 years, has allowed the Canadian company to commercialise a number of new products it had in research and development in the particle accelerator market.
It had a lot of technology licensed from Triumf, Canada's national laboratory for particle, nuclear physics, and accelerator-based science, that it didn't have the funds to bring to market, said Buckley chief financial officer Julie Perry.
Buckley is currently enjoying 100 per cent year-on-year revenue growth but the nature of the business was very cyclical, Perry said. Two years ago just after the D-Pace investment, it had to lay off 45 staff because of a sudden downturn, only to rehire more soon after when the cycle turned.
"People say 'why don't you understand your market better?' but we're very much subject to external market forces that mean we have to be very flexible when we need to grow very fast and when we need to contract," she said.
It now employs 300 staff in Auckland and has a Boston office, along with the 10-strong design team in Canada.
According to Companies Office records, Buckley and family members own 100 per cent of the manufacturing company.