Within the walls of Metalform's new industrial site on Millers Rd, Dannevirke an amazing array of products are made, mostly for world markets and created with the most advanced technology.
Those in the know would probably identify the Tow And … range of farm equipment – Mow, Fert and Collect – which are a very important part of the business. Just last week two containers were destined for Melbourne and Perth with another heading to the US.
The Tow and Collect machines are very popular in the equine industry as manure must be picked up before it develops worms and diseases picked up when horses graze nearby.
Others will know of the surgical face masks developed as PPE protection for medical staff, dreamed up, designed and raw material sourced in four days so the staff could be employed as an essential service during lockdown.
Building housing to contain the fuel tank and motor to drive huge frost fans has become a major business, the company producing close to 1000 per year to go to orchards all over Australasia and the world. These have been in production 20 years and the latest model is the sixth revision of the concept.
Perhaps familiar to many New Zealanders but not as a Metalform product are the latest Outdoor Digital Menu Boards which feature KFC products. Metalform has the contract to supply KFC throughout Australasia.
This is to do with its innovation. Metalform has been continually experimenting with ways to improve the product, for example it has developed a sensor imbedded in the frame to identify the customer and display an appropriate menu.
Metalform has just patented a simple and effective way of controlling temperature due to the electronics and direct sun – a major problem especially in summer.
Metalform creates smaller versions of these menu boards which are very popular because it has developed a technique to eliminate reflection.
Closely associated are self-service kiosks to speed up the level of service for KFC and other fast-food outlets. A container of 100 kiosks has just left for Dubai.
High performance fire fighting pumps are another big seller capable of delivering 2000 litre per minute at 120 psi. Metalform designs, procures, assembles, tests and warehouses Vortex pumps which travel all over the world, used in the Australian fires, exported to China, Bangladesh, Singapore and others.
Add truck driving simulators for the mining industry in Western Australia and fertiliser buckets for helicopter use and there is no limit to the products evolving from Metalform.
Managing director Campbell Easton says it has been a blessing to be able to take over the former Easteel site so all aspects of production can be done on the one site.
Modern technology like the Trubend 7036, LVD Laser Cutter and Trupunch 2000 have computerised production, the manufacture of boxing for all the products is done on site using export standard timber, communication through the process of manufacture is paperless, each step being delivered by bar code and marketing is done online.
Despite the vast use of technology the labour force is expanding, seven new staff being interviewed last week. Look out for the next innovation!