Rotorua's Active Engineering Solutions has built up a business that provides specialised truck bodies for vehicles operating from Kaitaia to Bluff, company founder Ross Shultz says.

The company, which he co-owns with his wife, Juliet, the firm's office and finance manager, began in 1997 with one employee and now has more than 20 staff.

Over time, Active Engineering Solutions (AES) has come to concentrate on three main areas of work: creating fit-for-purpose truck bodies, the conversion of excavators for forestry applications, and importing a range of attachments.

The company's transport engineering work was particularly focused on creating specialised truck bodies for road patrol and maintenance vehicles. That included adding a road broom on the front, tipping decks, toolboxes, storage for posts, and arrows to divert traffic.


"The dealer drops off the chassis and the customer can pick it up with everything added on, including all the signage, fire extinguishers, first-aid pack and lighting," Mr Shultz said.

"We design and build them from scratch. For example, we have our own design of road broom with its own unique hydraulic system, and we can adapt snow ploughs on to the mounting.

"A lot of this stuff has been created, not through creative brilliance, but just from listening to what our customers want."

AES builds truck bodies for a number of major corporates and was a preferred supplier for Downer nationwide.

Neville Stokes, Downer's national plant category manager, said he commissioned most of the company's New Zealand truck builds from AES because of consistent quality.

"We have lined up as a business partner with them and they are our body builder of choice," he said.

"Over the years, we've developed good, fit-for-purpose vehicles they can produce for our type of requirements."

AES machinery division's main focus was on converting dirt-digging excavators into forestry processing machines.

Mr Shultz said: "We essentially completely dismantle the excavators, chop them into bits, and then reassemble them with heavy-duty guarding."

Modifications can include building a heavy-duty forest cab, modifying the booms and dipper arms, and repositioning hydraulic ram mountings.

The company also imported a couple of brands of attachments, which have a range of uses, including mulching, as roading stabilisers or stone crushers, and in agricultural applications.